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.
Release Date: May 13, 2013
Published By: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Review Copy: Hardcover, 352 pages
*Provided by Publisher
Talk about beautiful writing with a wonderful story. Page Morgan has taken Gargoyles to a level I would never have even considered in a million years. Let me tell you 1899 Paris with a Gothic twist and some serious Gargoyle lore makes for one heck of a read. Summing it down to just Gargoyles and humans though is like saying getting a new book is so yesterday. No, The Beautiful and the Cursed is humans, Gargoyles, demons, angels and so much more.
Talk about perfect setting! When it comes to historical fiction it can go either way with me because really it's all in how the author writes everything. When it came down to it the Abby was absolutely stunning in its darkness (or at least I found it was) and no place could have been better suited than Paris. Truthfully I was completely pulled in by not only the setting but the Gargoyle lore that I had never even heard of before. What I loved best about the lore was that Morgan didn't beautify the Gargoyles and make them into something they weren't. The thing with them is that it really depends on person to person how you preceive them: beautiful in their grotesque ways or just plain grotesque. I personally have always found them beautiful in their own way. Everything was such a unique and interesting contrast that it was hard not to fall right into the story.
Something that I appreciate in so many reads is multiple POV's and strong characters, The Beautiful and the Cursed brought both of these elements to the table. Ingrid and her sister Gabby were the main focus fir the different points of view but you do get a little from their missing brother Grayson and Luc. Ingrid was most definitely a determined character and I loved that she wasn't willing to give up, not to mention her ability to accept things. Not that she didn't question things but she had an open mind and let herself be open to different possibilities. Her only real shortfall for me was the ups and downs with her feelings. To a point it's the time period and the fact she comes from the proper upbringing in England but in Paris it was really a completely different ball game and though she embraced it for some things others. With Gabby I found I wasn't as attached to her but she really did grow throughout the book and I was liking her a lot more by the end. To start she came off a little self pitying but by the end she was coming into her own and with a new attitude and outlook.
Due to much of the novel being focused on Ingrid and Gabby the romance falls completely on them. There is one that is somewhat of a love triangle and one that was far from it. Ingrid had Luc and Vander but I was never really sure of her attraction to Vander. That isn't saying that it wasn't clear that her liked her but most of the time I found myself unsure if she felt the same about him. With Luc despite him being a Gargoyle you knew there was an attraction and though he tried to deny it and chalk it up to Ingrid being his charge, you knew there was so much more. Admittedly there is some issues and roadblocks but I hate to think that Ingrid will settle. The romance between Gabby and Nolan was my favourite. The age gap between the two was a little startling to start because Gabby was so young but back then it really wasn't that uncommon. Their banter and gradual work up to something more that is still not fully developed really captured me.
If you are looking for something different this book is seriously for you. Page Morgan has me hooked on so many different levels it is hard to pin point exactly what I enjoyed the most. You get a lore that as far as I know has not been really explored yet and a well paced story that will make you not want to put it down. Did I mention yet that I found Morgan's writing beautiful yet? Well it is and for a debut novel I could not have asked for anything more! I highly recommend this book for everyone looking for so something different and if the historical fiction part of it scares you off a little bit, don't let it and you won't regret it.
Ingrid stood outside the gate, her stomach in a knot. Why would anyone put gargoyles on a church? The stones creature were hideous enough to cause the small hairs on her arms to prickle. She turned her eyes away. -Ingrid
Many of them had lived out their lives and expired of old age, maybe believing their sin had been forgotten or forgiven. If he'd been lucky at all in life, Luc figured it was to have died young. -Luc
"They serve God, obey his commands, deliver his messages, and bring judgment, but God ranks them below humans. From what we've learned from the Dispossessed, it's inspired a kind of resentment among the Order. They do what they must for God's precious humans, but don't go above and beyond." -Vander on Angels
Ingrid froze as he grazed his fingers through her hair, scattering a few pins to the floor. Then he gripped the back of her head, his tangled fingers tugging at her hair, and Ingrid thought she could finally read something in the way he looked at her: a longing so tangible that it made her ache. -Ingrid