Renée Ahdieh’s The Damned is a worthy sequel to The Beautiful — and a dark novel fantasy readers won’t want to miss this July.
If you’re a reader itching for some dark, supernatural fantasy to balance all that summertime sunshine, you’re in luck: Renée Ahdieh’s The Damned hit shelves this month, and it’s just the story to pick up. Of course, you’ll have to read The Beautiful first — but Ahdieh’s latest release is a worthy sequel that builds upon the world set up in book one and takes our characters to far darker places than before.
Set in the vampire-ridden underbelly of New Orleans, The Damned picks up after Sébastien Saint Germain has been turned into one of the Fallen and Celine Rousseau has lost all memory of their relationship. Nicodemus’ actions have led to all-out war between the Fallen and the Brotherhood, and it seems there’s only one person who may be able to ease the tensions between the two groups.
Unfortunately, that person has no recollection of the secret hidden world of New Orleans, just nightmares and flashes of memories. The book sees Celine regaining what she lost and coming to terms with who she is, all while Bastien determines who he’s going to become now that he’s immortal.
Their journeys alone are angsty and engaging enough to compel readers to pick up The Damned, but if you’re still on the fence, here are five more reasons this is a sequel you won’t want to miss.
Although The Beautiful introduces the supernatural ongoings of New Orleans, it mostly unravels the lore from a distance. When Celine arrives, she’s unaware of what’s going on — and even when all is revealed toward the end of the book, there’s not much time to elaborate on the fact that, yes, there are vampires, werewolves, and fae lurking in the city.
The Damned, on the other hand, dives full force into the Fallen, the Brotherhood, and the fae, and it makes for a much more magical sequel. If you’re a fan of supernatural storytelling, this book will give you your fill — and leave you wishing to return to this world and learn more about the many creatures in it.
The Side Characters
Ahdieh’s sequel doesn’t just continue the stories of Celine and Sébastien; it also dives deeper into the many side characters circling these two. Michael, Odette, Pippa, Jae, Arjun — they all get far more page time in The Damned, and the reader gets to immerse themselves in the backstories of Celine and Sébastien’s friends.
It’s always satisfying when interesting supporting characters begin to take on bigger roles in the narrative, and that’s absolutely what happens here. Also, there are a few intriguing new faces pulling the story forward — and whether readers love or hate them, they won’t be able to resist finding out what happens to them.
There’s nothing quite like an angsty romance, and it doesn’t get much angstier than a forbidden relationship between two people, one of whom can’t even remember most of what transpired last book. Watching Celine and Sébastien struggle with the aftermath of The Beautiful is painfully delicious, and makes the resolution that much more satisfying.
Ahdieh amps up the action in The Damned, and the second half of the book will keep readers on the edge of their seats with its many fight scenes, adventures, and tragedies. The action hits all the right beats when it comes to the stakes and drama, and in many cases, it’ll leave fans in their feelings.
It Will Leave You Wanting More
Upon finishing The Damned, your first reaction is likely to be something along the lines of, “Wait, there’s another book after this, right?” And we really hope there is.
With so many plot points left open, it seems logical that Ahdieh will follow The Damned up with some sort of conclusion, but the wait for that is going to be agonizing. The book’s epilogue alone will leave you desparate for more insight, but there’s also a certain prophecy and the fates of Celine, Bastien, and their friends to consider.