11 must-read SFF book releases that will kick your July into high gear

The Damned by Renee Ahdieh. Image Courtesy Penguin Random House
The Damned by Renee Ahdieh. Image Courtesy Penguin Random House /
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The Damned – Renee Adieh

This highly anticipated sequel to Renee Adieh’s The Beautiful continues her dark, sultry story of vampires in nineteenth-century New Orleans.

The Damned picks up pretty much where The Beautiful left off, as both Celine and Bastien must deal with the fallout from their choices in the first book. Celine can’t remember them – having traded her memories for his life, and he can’t stop thinking about the sacrifice she made, even as he adjusts to the consequences that her deal brought about in his own life.

But that’s not all that’s happening in this story. As Celine and Bastien struggle with their personal issues, the world of the story expands to include several other supernatural creatures and peoples, all hinted at in the earlier novel. (See also: The Fallen, the Brotherhood, the Otherworld, the Sylvan Wyld’s Winter Court, and the Summer Court of the Sylvan Vale.) And the subsequently decadent tale – which includes more characters and POVs than appeared in The Beautiful – should delight fans of the first novel.

The official synopsis describes a story that may turn out to be even darker than its predecessor.

"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."

The Damned is available on July 7.