Book reviews / Fantasy

Book review: The Beautiful Ones

I had picked up this book ages ago but only just got around to reading it. Silvia Moreno-Garcia is one of my favourite authors, though she can make me ugly cry by the end of a novel.

This book takes place in a world similar to ours, around the turn of the 20th century. However, sometimes people have telekinetic powers, including the two main characters of the novel, Nina and Hector. While Hector can demonstrate his powers in front of paying audiences, for a woman like Nina, it’s frowned upon.

On top of having this power, Nina has to spend the year in the city, under the tutelage of her cousin Valerie to join ‘society’. However, her cousin and Hector have a history! And unfortunately for Nina, she’s caught between the two. I did really worry that the ending of this book was going to be terribly sad, that everyone was going to end up unhappy. But luckily that did not happen. But there is still plenty of drama.

Things I liked about the novel was Nina, she really was the star of the book. Nina was really lovely, naive but then very much not, due to the circumstances of the novel. Also, just fiercely intelligent and interested in the natural world. I also liked Hector, but part of his story was being fiercely in love with Valerie, but it just didn’t seem that realistic. I guess the whole point is that he had to go on this journey and realise that she really wasn’t a nice person, but it feels like anyone could have seen that.

The most pleasing part of the book is when you realise everyone’s going to be happy, except for Valerie. Who deserves everything that happened to her at the end. Really, it could have been worse, I would have been happy with it being worse. I wish Luc got it worse, what a jerk.

Anyway, the things I didn’t like so much, was that it felt a bit slow at times. It was a lot of conversations and Hector freaking out about Valerie. Also, like, two of the characters had telekinesis, I feel like more could have been made of that, or at least add to some interesting dramatic tension. It was used in certain interesting way, especially at the end of part 1. But at the same time, it felt like you could have had that whole novel without the telekinesis (almost) and it be the same.

Still enjoyable and lovely though, so I’d pick it up if it sounds like your jam.

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