Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Book Review: The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Pros: some interesting twists, great characters

Cons: somewhat predictable

Antonina Beaulieu is a rich 19 year old from the country, joining her cousin and his wife, Valerie, in the city of Loisail for the Grand Season. Quick to speak her mind and unable to remember proper city etiquette or the names of important society members, Nina also has telekinetic abilities, her poor control of which has caused her problems in the past. When she meets the telekinetic performer Hector Auvray at a party, they quickly grow closer and her dreams of a romantic marriage seem assured.

But Hector has a past with Valerie, the beautiful woman who criticizes Antonina’s failings at every turn. And his attentions towards Nina aren’t what they seem.

For the most part the book’s plot follows the traditional category romance beats. Set in a fantasy world that mimics the late 1800s/early 1900s, it reminded me at times of Jane Austen’s Persuasion and at others of Mary Robinette Kowal’s Shades of Milk and Honey.

The characters were wonderful. I started off the book liking everyone, even people I probably wasn’t supposed to. Though I knew Hector’s initial interest in Nina wasn’t real, I still liked him and thought that having your heart broken by a ‘good’ guy is better than some alternatives. I even felt some pity for Valerie, forced to marry someone for money to help her family despite having met the love of her life. The personal motivations and actions of the characters felt honest and the fallout of their decisions, earned.

While telekinesis isn’t a major part of the story, it does come up fairly often and it’s great seeing Nina learn more control over her abilities.

I really enjoyed this.

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