The Beautiful Ones

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Nov 2017

Member Reviews

I took a long time to read this book but I did love it. I love the way Silvia describe these characters and their powers. Its one of my few favorite magical books and I am so happy I bought a copy. Hopefully, I will reread again this Halloween
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Book Review: The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Beautiful Ones is scandalous, vicious and endearing. It's my kind of book. The story has a lot of drama, suspense & deep-rooted family secrets. As those secrets come to the surface, my interest grows. I really enjoy the elements of fantasy with telekinesis. If you're not a science fiction reader, do not be deterred.  The fantasy elements fit well into the story. For me, it really adds magic to the passionate love story.

THE VERDICT

I am Really Into This book! The Beautiful Ones is a story of deceit and drama. Despite all the ups and downs for the couple, you’re rooting for them. I give this one 4.5 stars & let's round to 5.Special thanks to Silvia Moreno-Garcia, St. Martin's Press & NetGalley for providing my copy in exchange for an honest & fair review.
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I didn't love this book. I was expecting a more fantasy bent and it was more of a historical romance/intrigue kind of story. I found the plot a bit overwrought and I hated Hector right from the start, but I did like Nina's character which helped me finish the book.
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The Beautiful Ones is entirely different beast than Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s last book, the narco-vampire thriller Certain Dark Things. The Beautiful Ones is a historical romance set in a world inspired by the Belle Epoque, and is a story of longing, love and loss, and what betrayal can do to drive a person to becoming fully who they are.


Antonina (Nina) arrives in Loisail for her first Grand Season, where she is to debut as a young socialite with a fortune in search of a suitable husband. Unlike the other girls of Loisail, Nina has been brought up in the country and isn’t as interested in the societal proprieties of the city as she should be, according to her far more socially elevated and beautiful cousin-in-law, with whom she is staying. Valerie was once the belle of each ball, and made a fortunate match with Nina’s well-off and well-connected cousin, and though their marriage may lack affection, Valerie plays the game high society requires of a woman of her position exceptionally well.


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Having given up a great deal to find a husband who could help raise her family’s socioeconomic stature, Valerie has very little patience with those who do not fall into place as required. She is brittle and cannot be anyone other than whom she had become to make her place in a society with very strict lines and dedicated pigeonholes for everyone, and though she may want “to weep for that proud girl who had broken her own heart and tossed it to the dogs, and she wanted to weep for the older woman who had been left behind with a gaping hole in her soul,” she knows that “if she could do it again… she’d still retrace her steps. She was not Antonia Beaulieu, who offered herself like a sacrificial lamb, who gave everything of herself to the world of the world to devour. She was Valerie Veries. She hated herself sometimes for it, but she was Valerie Veries.”

Nina is not just less concerned with all the things Valerie thinks a young girl should prioritise in her first Season—she is also telekinetic, something that isn’t unheard of in this world, but definitely not something a lady is expected to publicise or dare to flaunt in any way. Nina isn’t always in control of her powers, either, and has had some unfortunate events in the past when she’s lost control of them. She doesn’t know how to go about honing her skills, partly because it’s unheard of for a lady to even want to. She is, however, very interested in the telekinetic performer Hector Auvray, who, unbeknownst to her, has a secret shared history with Valerie.

Nina’s telekinetic powers are not at par with Hector’s in terms of control or panache, but she seems to have just as much power as he does, and she is eager and quick to learn how to use her abilities to perform the fantastic theatrical tricks that have been Hector’s livelihood, even though society considers women doing what men of the same abilities can do extremely vulgar. Hector, in return, does not think anything untoward about helping Nina learn more about how to use her telekinesis, and the two grow close, with Nina (and her family) assuming that Hector’s interest in her is more than just platonic. How their relationship plays out, and how it affects Valerie’s interest in Nina and her future, is what the narrative explores in an extremely readable, elegant period fantasy.

Admittedly, the fantasy elements in The Beautiful Ones are restricted to Hector and Nina’s telekinetic abilities, but the development of these in tandem to how the characters get to know each other are well played out as an aspect of their relationship. Hector is indeed the more experienced, albeit sober and controlled one. Nina, the younger, livelier one, “a half-formed being, a creature with no edges,” helps bring him a sense of adventure he hasn’t had for a long time, as he helps her gain control over her abilities.

The true strength of the novel of course lies in its characters and its depiction of an era when wealth and its correct show is all that matters. Valerie has made the brutal, unhappy choices she has made for money. Nina is wanted more for her inheritance than for her personality by some. Hector has pushed himself to be the famous performer he is so he could attain a certain economic stature and only now can choose to do what his heart wants instead of what society dictates. As Hector’s friend Etienne points out, “Nothing matters more than money to [this society], the proper people who walk down these city streets in pristine gloves and silk-lined garments. You can give yourself the luxury of love because you are not one of us. That is why you are my friend: because despite everything, at heart you remain an innocent.”

Whether Hector is an innocent or not is debatable. Many of Moreno-Garcia’s characters do terrible, despicable things to hurt each other and profit personally in this book, but that’s what keeps them and the narrative interesting. It’s a slow-burn, stately novel about the magic of what it means to love, and love truly.
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Once I got into this book I greatly enjoyed it!  It was fun to see how the relationship grew and changed.  I was expecting more of the fantastical aspect since they started the book with a bit of a hint at telekinesis.
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In a world of etiquette and polite masks, no one is who they seem to be. Antonina Beaulieu is in the glittering city of Loisail for her first Grand Season, where she will attend balls and mingle among high society. Under the tutelage of the beautiful but cold Valerie Beaulieu she hopes to find a suitable husband. However, the haphazard manifestations of Nina’s telekinetic powers make her the subject of malicious gossip. Yet dazzling telekinetic performer and outsider Hector Auvray sees Nina’s powers as a gift, and he teaches her how to hone and control them. As they spend more and more time together, Nina falls in love and believes she’s found the great romance that she’s always dreamt of. But Hector’s courtship of Nina is deceptive.
The book was decent. The plot was pretty good. I really liked Nina and everything she goes through. I recommend. 
**I voluntarily read and reviewed this book
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Thanks to Netgalley and St Martin’s Press for giving me this book to review.

The Beautiful Ones is an enjoyable romance novel which has a hint of fantasy. This disappointed me as with very minor changes it would have been a historical book, and I am much more interested in fantasy books than historical romance books. The story was slow-paced but that meant that we got to know the characters better. 

Nina is a naïve character but that did not stop her from being straight talking. I was not a fan of Hector at all as he was such a user who was too trapped in past, and while he did change in the second half of the book by then I didn’t care. In some ways Valerie was my favourite character as I could understand her motives and I like baddies who know what they want and will do anything to accomplish them.

I was disappointed that the story was not as much fantasy as I hoped but the book was still an enjoyable read. I would recommend The Beautiful Ones to fans of romance novels with a hint of fantasy.
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This was sent to me a free e-book gift, but I will not be reviewing it in a professional capacity. I opened the link without realizing I was committing to adding to my account. I likely won't end up reading this within the next few years, so I will not be reviewing it.
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A lovely elegant alternative history regency romance with a dash of magic. A little on the slow side but enjoyably so.

(ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley)
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This is a story of society, of being proper, genteel, of being respectable, and of having a family name that matters. There is magic, but it more helps provide shading and flavor to the novel. It shows how Hector and Nina are different from their families and society and how alike they are to each other.

I know this is an aspect of these novels of manners, but Hector's reticence in sharing any bit of his inner thoughts or emotions is really damned frustrating. He's so proper and reserved. Early in the novel this is because he's not truly romantically pursuing Nina, but there's an inevitability to that relationship and despite the hurdles, we just want them to actually get to properly falling in love and settling their problems.

The Beautiful Ones is a lovely novel. There is a gentleness that is wrapped around true steel and nastiness. Wealth and position are more important than love, but the pursuit of those pretty things will drive people to true darkness. Silvia Moreno-Garcia gets all of that, and wraps it in the proper trappings of a novel of manners. 

(Full Review at: http://www.nerds-feather.com/2018/10/microreview-book-beautiful-ones-by.html)
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The book seemed overly dramatic majority of the time. I felt like I was watching a soap opera. The story was enjoyable but I wish it would've sped up at times.
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I want to start out saying, I choose not to rate this title. Not because it was awful, but because it didn't fit my personal reading style. That's NOT to say someone else wouldn't love it. 

I feel like there is a lot that you could love about this title and I wouldn't be surprised. However, I'm not a fan of drawn out novels that force you to wait ages for something...anything to happen. This was a very slow paced, character driven novel. 

The characters, 3 of them, all have things to admire but they have even more weaknesses. There was a lack of balance. I wish at least one of them had strengths that made the weakness seem small compared. It was lacking. 

Not much action happening, which causes for a lag in motivated reading. I could easily set this down, which I did several times, and forget to go back to it. 

SO much potential and I'll be giving this author another try for sure. 

*Thank you to Netgalley for providing an advance review copy*
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I will read anything Silvia Moreno-Garcia writes after her debut novel, Signal to Noise, became one of my favourite novels of all time. The big lover of historical fiction that I am, you can imagine my excitement when I realised Moreno-Garcia's latest novel would be returning to a time of calling cards and ballgowns.

I'll admit that it took me a while to get into this one, and I think that's because this isn't quite the book I was expecting it to be. With the mention of our heroine's telekinetic powers and her being taught to hone them by a man who also has this skill, I thought more of the novel was going to be taken up by lessons and that Nina was going to end up assisting Hector with his performances. Instead this Fantasy of Manners has more to do with the manners than the fantasy, like a Georgette Heyer or Jane Austen novel with a splash of telekinesis thrown in, which isn't a bad thing at all, it just wasn't what I expected when I read the blurb.

I was also a little unsure of the setting. I couldn't work out if this was France with a dash of magic thrown in, or if this was an alternate France in an alternate world a little different from ours. It didn't throw me too much, and in all honesty this isn't the kind of book that needed a lore dump, but I would have liked to know a little more about the world and more about how society functioned outside of these wealthy families.

Ultimately this was more of a character-driven novel than anything else, and while I always choose character over plot I would have liked a wider plot outside of these characters that I could sink my teeth into. Having said that, the characters and the character development were fantastic. Perhaps it says something about me that my favourite character in this book was the villainous Valérie, who was so deliciously messed up. I'm not the biggest fan of villain stories because I don't like it when authors try to excuse villainy with a tragic past, but what I loved about Valérie is that while Moreno-Garcia tells us why she is the way she is, she never uses it to excuse her actions which, by the end of the book, are downright evil.

It's also a testament to Moreno-Garcia's skill as an author that I initially disliked Hector and the way he used Nina, only to later root for him once we'd learned more about him. He's a character that grew on me, much like Nina grew on him.

If you're in the mood for a Fantasy of Manners/Romance novel, then this is the novel you should pick up. It's a story written with such affection and while it isn't my favourite of Moreno-Garcia's, I still think it's worth checking out.
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I find myself unable to finish this book as its slow pace and annoyingly dense main male protagonist (Hector) frustrate me, as does the vicious bad behaviour of Valerie. The extremely small part that Hector and Nina's telekinesis plays was also disappointing as I had hoped it would be a feature of the story rather than a plot ploy. 
Once I would have struggled to make myself finish a book, but after taking a year off work to nurse a sick child I have discovered that I no longer have the patience to do so. 

With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for my copy in exchange for an unbiased review.
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This book was nice. ven with it's slow pace, it was very character driven, and made me want to kept wanting to turn each page!
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The Beautiful ones is essentially a historical romance set in the early 20th century in Europe with a little bit of the fantastical thrown in to keep things interesting. The fantastical element is that both of the main characters have telekinetic abilities. That ability is used by men to produce shows for the public but displays by women are frowned on. I really liked the characters and felt that the author did a good job bringing them to life. I also enjoyed the detailed settings portrayed throughout the novel. On the other side though the book was a little to slow paced for me. I liked the love story but things advanced to slowly and I found myself losing interest. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical romances with a bit of fantasy mixed in.
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The description of this book doesn't really give it credit. It reminds me a little of Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal. But more traditionally regency. The telekinesis is a backdrop rather than front and center. Allowing the complicated relationships to take the fore. 
It had just enough tension to keep it interesting, but not so much that I wanted to throw it against the wall.
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‘It was perhaps impossible to love in the same manner again, and he thanked the heavens for this mercy.’ 

The first 60% of this I really struggled through but once I got into the second half it gets much much better. Which is why I found this book so hard to rate. If I was only rating the first half I’d give this book 2 stars⭐️⭐️ however if I was rating the second half I would have given it 4 stars⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. So I’ve gone in the middle and given it ⭐️⭐️⭐️. 

I loved Nina and Hector’s characters and I absolutely despised Valerie. She seemed to want everything even though she wasn’t willing to follow her heart rather than her purse and greed for money and name, when she was younger and in her own grand season. 

I loved the chemistry between Nina and Hector. I can’t imagine living in a time where arranged marriages and duels were a normal everyday thing. Once the book got to the second half I really really enjoyed it. I also loved Etienne and in a way Luc. Even if he let Valerie goad and manipulate him into doing something he wouldn’t normally do.
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I was expecting a stronger fantasy element than what this book had. It was fine as a historical romance, and the light fantasy elements were nicely done. I was strongly reminded of Jane Austen's work. If Austen had attempted to write a fantasy novel, I'm fairly sure that something like this would be the result.

This is not to say that I did not enjoy the book. I did. I'm a fan of character-driven,  slow-burn tales when I have the time to really savor them. That is what this book demands of the reader. Unfortunately, I wasn't often able to give this book the kind of attention that it required, and it took a while to finish.
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I'm a huge fan of  Silvia Moreno-Garcia's previous book, Certain Dark Things. That being said, I was elated to get my hands on a copy of The Beautiful Ones. 

The Beautiful Ones had an intriguing premise. However, it didn't keep me captivated enough to be invested in the story.
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