________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 7. . . .October 17, 2014


The Beautiful and the Cursed.

Page Morgan.
Toronto, ON: Doubleday Canada, 2014.
343 pp., trade pbk. & hc., $14.95 (pbk.), $21.00 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-385-67910-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-385-67908-4. (hc.).

Grades 7-12 / Ages 12-17.

Review by Jenice Batiforra.

** /4



The first gargoyle was still struggling with the other hellhound and seemed to be losing. The hound worked the gargoyle beneath its massive paws and slashed at a wing with one of its slanted bottom fangs. Black liquid spewed from the gargoyle's wing, and its anguished screech rent the air.

"Luc!" Ingrid screamed. A mistake. The hound whipped its lantern eyes toward her.

Without hesitation, Vander tore through the wrecked trellis to distract the demon. At the same moment, Gabby shoved away from Ingrid and started for Nolan's prostrate form.

Ingrid practically ripped the sleeve of Gabby's dress as she flung her sister behind her. "Stay back!"

"But the sword!" Gabby cried. The silver blade gleamed beside the rut the hellhound's back had carved into the grass.

Ingrid released Gabby's sleeve and lunged for the ebony hilt herself - she couldn't let her little sister attempt to fight this beast. Ingrid enclosed the smooth ebony in her fist and lifted the silver blade, surprised by the weight of it. Down their vineyard row, the second hellhound batted the new gargoyle away with a strike to its doggish head. The hellhound reared back and charged toward Ingrid.


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.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

Next Review | Table of Contents for This Issue - October 17, 2014.

CM Home
| Back Issues | Search | CM Archive | Profiles Archive