[A quick note: I kept hearing about this book, and after seeing it so much on bookstagram I figured I’d give it a go. I wanted to squeeze in some Halloween-type reads in October to set the mood, and the dark streets of New Orleans seemed a good fit. It was definitely a fun story to get you in the Halloween mood.]
“𝗜 𝗮𝗺 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝘀𝗼 𝗰𝗮𝗽𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗯𝘆 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝗮𝘂𝘁𝗶𝗳𝘂𝗹, 𝗺𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗲𝘂𝗿...𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗜 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝗯𝗲𝗮𝘂𝘁𝘆 𝗶𝘀 𝗼𝗻𝗹𝘆 𝗮 𝗺𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲.” —Renee Ahdieh
It’s 1872 and New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead, the La Cour Des Lions. But this makes it the perfect refuge for Celine, who flees France in search of a new start. A dangerous string of murders quickly exposes her into the glitzy underworld and the enigmatic Bastien Saint Germain. But some secrets won’t stay hidden for long, especially when she’s forced to take matters into her own hands.
This story was a pleasant surprise. Mysterious characters, a morally gray protagonist, and a tantalizing but forbidden romance. Ahdieh’s world building was rich and descriptive. I immediately fell in love with the version of New Orleans she created. Better still, just when I thought I had figured out who the story’s villain was, I was tricked! I love a story that catches you by surprise and keeps you guessing.
“𝗔𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗽𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗮𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝘂𝘀 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗮𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗶𝘁 𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗼𝘄𝘀 𝘂𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗲𝘃𝗲 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗽𝗼𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲. 𝗧𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗲 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝗯𝗲𝘆𝗼𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲.”
Celine was a character I admired. She found courage in spite of danger. She stood up for herself despite her struggles. And she never let social norms dictate her beliefs or decisions. For a woman of her time, she was a very modern girl. I think the setting of New Orleans encouraged this, allowed her to flourish. Especially her friend Odette. I LOVED Odette. And Pippa.
The other thing I really liked about this book was the dialogue. Dialogue can make or break a story, and I have infinite appreciation for good dialogue, the kind you read, and within the first few pages, you know it’s going to be excellent! The phrases characters used swept me into the past. Ahdieh did a great job with it.
The plot itself was familiar, with a slight twist. A battle ground for ancient rivals, an age old feud between dark creatures, a forbidden love trope. These ideas were captured beautifully in a fresh way, with a slightly unexpected difference that I appreciated. I liked all the vampiric parallels woven throughout the story. It was everything I expect when reading a vampiric novel. Definitely a must read for paranormal and vampire lovers, especially those who like historical aspects in their stories. 𝗠𝗬𝗥𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚: 𝟰/𝟱⭐️