(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
After a bizarre accident, Ingrid Waverly is forced to leave London with her mother and younger sister, Gabby, trading a world full of fancy dresses and society events for the unfamiliar city of Paris.
In Paris there are no grand balls or glittering parties, and, disturbingly, the house Ingrid’s twin brother, Grayson, found for them isn’t a house at all. It’s an abandoned abbey, its roof lined with stone gargoyles that could almost be mistaken for living, breathing creatures.
And Grayson has gone missing.
No one seems to know of his whereabouts but Luc, a devastatingly handsome servant at their new home.
Ingrid is sure her twin isn’t dead—she can feel it deep in her soul—but she knows he’s in grave danger. It will be up to her and Gabby to navigate the twisted path to Grayson, a path that will lead Ingrid on a discovery of dark secrets and otherworldly truths. And she’ll learn that once they are uncovered, they can never again be buried.
[Full disclosure: This was the second of two books I received in the mail from a mystery sender. As far as I am aware I am not under any obligation to review them for an author and as with every book I read, this is an honest review.]
Honestly, like The Commander’s Desire I’m still not really sure how I feel about this book. On one hand, I loved the unique mythos of the gargoyles and how they came to be gargoyles. On the other hand, the plot was rather predictable and at times oddly confusing. I could connect with some characters and not others.
I’ll start off with my favourite part: the gargoyles themselves. I’ve never been exposed to any gargoyle mythology outside of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney version) so this was a breath of fresh air for me. I feel like Page Morgan really thought out her gargoyles well and had a reasonably good explanation for how they came to exist and why they must protect their dwellings. The hierarchy within the gargoyles definitely makes sense if you look at the main types of gargoyles and grotesques in architecture as well. I really didn’t have any problems with the world-building in this one.
The time period is the turn of the century and the attitudes of the characters generally reflect it. At the same time, I felt like some of the things Ingrid did were far out of character and certainly were not acceptable for a young lady (no matter how disgraced) at the time. The way Page Morgan describes her setting immersed me in the history, but it was quite jarring to see such modern attitudes present in many of the characters. Other than that I really couldn’t spot any historical inaccuracies and the attitude problem requires only a slight suspension of disbelief.
My main problem with the book was the characters. The point of view wasn’t really consistent and sometimes I had no idea whose point of view I was reading. I wish the transition between characters was a little smoother because then I wouldn’t have been so confused when there was a lot of action going on. Some points of view even sound the same (the two sisters on occasion) so that really didn’t help the situation. Gabby was my least favourite character because she could be such a free spirit one minute and then have such prudish thoughts more in line with the time in the very next chapter. It’s that kind of inconsistency that annoys me.
All in all, I really can’t complain much about The Beautiful and the Cursed. It was relatively fast-paced and although it was confusing at times, I got the main gist of the plot. Would I read the second book in the series? Probably. I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it, but if I found it in the used section I’d certainly give the rest of the series a chance.
I give this book 3.5/5 stars.