CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 7. . . .October 17, 2014
Lady Ingrid Waverly is forced to leave London after being slighted by a suitor and setting her best friend's house on fire. Fleeing to Paris with her mother and her sister Gabby, Ingrid arrives at an abandoned abbey and finds that her twin brother Grayson is missing. In their search for Grayson, Ingrid and Gabby discover a hidden underworld of gargoyles, angels and demons.
The novel is told from the third person narrative of four characters: Ingrid, Grayson, Luc and Gabriella. By far, Grayson and Gabriella's voices best express the dark gloom and gore that one expects from Gothic fantasies. Grayson's tortured transformation amidst hellhounds heightens the reader's apprehension and propels the plot forward as it serves as a contrast to his sisters' description of his character. In Gabriella, Page Morgan has created an exciting female character who isn't afraid to sacrifice her good looks to get a piece of the action: she'll swing a sword, and she's willing to get mauled in the face by a hellhound. Fortunately for the reader, Grayson and Gabriella's narratives make up for the wholly unremarkable characters that Ingrid and Luc depict.
Ingrid is described as "the epitome of English beauty: all cream and roses and soft petal-pink lips. With it came the expectation of a sweet disposition - an expectation those who met Ingrid dismissed immediately." In the novel, this essentially translates to a classic Harlequin romance heroine - a passive character that merely serves as an object of affection for two male characters. If you are familiar with the paranormal love triangle that introduced the world to Team Edward and Team Jacob, you're already well-acquainted with Ingrid and Luc's story. But just in case you're not, here it is in a nutshell. Beautiful girl is fascinated by two paranormal love interests from opposing camps. Prospect #1 is afraid that his demonic tendencies will harm her and, so, treats her poorly so as to drive her away. Prospect #2 is earnest in his affections and is clearly the right choice, but he's just not quite evil enough, and so she's not interested. Petulance and sexual frustration ensue.
Despite the formulaic romance, Morgan has carefully crafted a beautiful world. Rich in Gothic (and gory) details, The Beautiful and the Cursed will quickly capture the reader's imagination. Teens who enjoyed Jennifer Armentrout's “Dark Elements” series or Cassandra Clare's “Mortal Instruments” series will enjoy the novel.
Jenice Batiforra was previously a Branch Head Librarian at the Winnipeg Public Library in Winnipeg, MB.
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