by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Published on October 24, 2017 by Thomas Dunne Books
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
In a world of etiquette and polite masks, no one is who they seem to be.
Antonina Beaulieu is in the glittering city of Loisail for her first Grand Season, where she will attend balls and mingle among high society. Under the tutelage of the beautiful but cold Valérie Beaulieu, she hopes to find a suitable husband. However, the haphazard manifestations of Nina’s telekinetic powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.
Yet dazzling telekinetic performer and outsider Hector Auvray sees Nina’s powers as a gift, and he teaches her how to hone and control them. As they spend more and more time together, Nina falls in love and believes she’s found the great romance that she’s always dreamed of, but Hector’s courtship of Nina is deceptive.
The Beautiful Ones is a sweeping fantasy of manners set in a world inspired by the Belle Époque.
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It’s been a year of beautifully written books that just don’t work for me, and The Beautiful Ones is another on the list. Now I was pretty excited about reading a fantasy romance. It’s not a genre combo I get often (sure, the fantasies I read have romances but not enough to make them romance novels) and I wanted to see all the magic and love and tension that comes from such things.
Unfortunately this was more of the slow burn, “let’s make the reader wait a LONG time for something to happen,” kind of books. A bummer, really, because the world is beautiful. I mean, I would love to read a fantasy, no romance needed, in this world. Moreno-Garcia draws on the historical elements of a Season with bits of magic here and there. I think I expected more fantasy than there was, not realizing that this is a romance novel, truly. Not a bad thing, but it meant my expectations altered my reading experience.
Now, that said, I had a bit of a problem with the characters and that romance element. The story follows 3 protagonists and I didn’t really connect with any of them. Not poorly written or anything, but just not working for me. The slow pace left me wanting something more to really get behind these characters and I simply never got that.
I honestly don’t have much more to say about The Beautiful Ones. It had the potential to hook me but the constant waiting for the plot to move forward, the general drawn-out writing style, and overall flow made it hard to push through to the end. I nearly DNFed it several times because I was bored. If you’re a fan of the wait, the slow build to something great, then I think this book is perfect for you. For me, it just wasn’t working.