Jul 17, 2020

Review--The Damned by Renee Ahdieh

New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with the second installment of her new sumptuous, sultry and romantic series, The Beautiful.

Following the events of The Beautiful, Sébastien Saint Germain is now cursed and forever changed. The treaty between the Fallen and the Brotherhood has been broken, and war between the immortals seems imminent. The price of loving Celine was costly. But Celine has also paid a high price for loving Bastien.

Still recovering from injuries sustained during a night she can’t quite remember, her dreams are troubled. And she doesn’t know she has inadvertently set into motion a chain of events that could lead to her demise and unveil a truth about herself she’s not quite ready to learn.

Forces hiding in the shadows have been patiently waiting for this moment for centuries. And just as Bastien and Celine begin to uncover the danger around them, they learn their love could tear them apart.

Renee Ahdieh’s The Damned was one of my most anticipated releases for this year. You all know how much I love my vampires. The Beautiful was definitely one of my favorite reads last year despite most reviews touting that there weren’t enough vampires. The Damned certainly delivered on a lot of levels and it has heedlessly left me craving for more!
The story starts off following Sebastian, as we all know, he was turned into a vampire to save his life at Celine’s request. In return she gave up all her memories of him, of them. Sebastian isn’t taking to the vampire life all that well. He’s angry a lot and misses Celine, but his uncle, Nicodemus forbids him from seeing her.
Meanwhile, Celine is trying to adapt to her life after being attacked by a serial killer and dealing with losing the last few weeks or so of her memory. Michael Grimaldi, the detective she had numerous encounters with last time around has been a constant companion for her. He’s nearly always at her side and trying to look out for her. Yet Celine knows she’s missing something, not just from her memories either and though she enjoys Michael’s companionship, she still finds herself looking for that something. Every now and then she’s plagued with strange visions that might be her memories trying to come back but they are always of unexplainable things.
Things start to get really exciting in this one, or they are at least being set up for something big! My initial thought was that this was supposed to be a duology, but with everything that was being set up and everything that happened and has yet to happen, this has to be a trilogy at the very least! We get to be inside so many characters’ points of view, not enough to make you confused, but a good balance that lets you see what is going down in New Orleans. Emilie, Sebastian’s long-not-so-dead sister is back, as we learned at the end of The Beautiful and she has her own agenda for where her brother is concerned. It would seem that their uncle broke a treaty by bringing a new vampire into New Orleans, so war is imminent.
On a path that is somewhat self-destructive, Sebastian sets out on a personal quest, one that in turn involves Celine, the girl he has been trying to stay far away from. Celine in turn will be making her own discoveries on this quest and yet all the while, we the readers know that something is amiss and OMG I AM DYING to know what is going on and what all these devious characters are plotting!
I was a bit sad that there wasn’t enough Celine and Sebastian moments, they spend a great deal apart while lost in their own battles, but eventually they come together again in ways you wouldn’t expect. Renee does let the romance between them shine again in tiny stolen moments, so the book wasn’t completely without its romantic interludes.
While you won’t find vampires jam-packed in this story, there is a thicker plot being woven into this overall arc. Not just a brewing war, but something else, something bigger than we all expected. By the end of the book, we still don’t exactly know what that is, but my oh my, there were some exceedingly interesting developments by the end of this one! My jaw was dropping page after page in the grand finale and the epilogue only continued to leave me baffled and trying to connect the pieces.
Needless to say, this is not a duology!
The Damned defies the word surprising by being explosive with all the jaw-dropping revelations. Surprising sounds too little for all the shocking moments that this book revealed. I was scouring the internet after finishing this looking for any word of third book because after that ending, I would realllllly hate to see things left unresolved like many other amazing series. If you like your vampire variety books, then you will love this one just as much as I did! I’ll again stress that though this was an amazing vampire read—coming from a vampire reader of the early days—the vampires are not there 24/7. There’s much more to vampire novels than just them all the time. In fact, you’ll be seeing other delightful and not so delightful creatures in this one. The Damned pretty much has it all!
Overall Rating 4.5/5

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