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The Surreal World

Mandy C. reviews Page Morgan’s The Beautiful and the Cursed, in which characters stop being polite ... and start getting surreal.

The Surreal World

BOOK REPORT for The Beautiful and the Cursed (The Dispossessed Book 1) by Page Morgan

Cover Story: Woe Is It
BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 8
Talky Talk: He Said, She Said (x2)
Bonus Factors: No Werewolves or Vampires, Mysterious Loner Dude
Anti-Bonus Factor: Love Triangle(s)
Relationship Status: I Can’t Quit You

Cover Story: Woe Is It

Holy drams, Batman. That is one affected swoon. And what is that girl in, a nightie? Totally not what the main characters would wear. I’m not exactly sure what’s going on with the arty business underneath the title, either; I stared at it for a while, thinking that if I unfocused my eyes, I’d see shapes or something (à la those Magic Eye books), but nothing ever appeared. (Also: J.J. Abrams was here.)

The Deal:

The year is 1899. Ingrid and Gabby Waverly are sisters who, after a mysterious “incident” involving Ingrid and a fire, move from London to Paris with their mother. Ingrid’s twin brother, Grayson, had traveled to Paris a few weeks before their move to scout a location for a new home. When the Waverly women arrive in Paris, they find out that Grayson has gone missing. The sisters’ search for the truth about their brother’s disappearance leads them to become involved with Luc, a servant with a secret, and Nolan and Vander, two “detectives” who are not what they seem.

BFF Charm: Yay

Ingrid is a no-nonsense girl with an iron will. She relies on her intuition when making decisions and sees the world in black and white. Even when she’s faced with strange incidents or the unknown, she doesn’t back down. I appreciate someone who can tell it like it is without sounding mean or like a know-it-all.

Gabby, although young and prone to speak before she thinks, is a total spit-fire. I love that she knows she’s inexperienced and has a lot to learn, yet believes in herself and the fact that she has it in her to be so much more. She’s also got major ‘tude, which would make her an awesomely feisty BFF.

Both girls are mature for their age as well, which I appreciate. (Ingrid is 17 and Gabby nearly 16.) I read both of them as older than their age, and that made it easier for me to connect with them than I would “normal” (modern?) teenagers.

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

The swoonage in The Beautiful and the Cursed is time-appropriately chaste, but that doesn’t make it any less hot. (Reading about the butterflies and the longing is sometimes the best part of a fictional relationship, don’t you think?) Both relationships in the book start out as “love/hate,” which is both good and bad—it’s a tad typical, but also adds to the passion.

One of the relationships, at the end, made me smile and the other made me frustrated. Naturally, this is the first book in ADT (another damn trilogy—thanks for the terminology, Erin), so I’ll have to keep reading to see if both sisters end up with happily ever afters.

Talky Talk: He Said, She Said (x2)

In The Beautiful and the Cursed, we get to read from the POVs of Ingrid, Gabby, Luc and Grayson. This works well for the gents, as they are very different characters and in very different situations. With the girls, however, it can be confusing at the start (until the one who’s head we’re in mentions the other).

That said, Page Morgan does do a great job at creating characters that I actually care for and want to know more about, and it’s interesting to read a book like The Beautiful and the Cursed in which there are more main characters than minor ones.

Bonus Factor: No Werewolves or Vampires

Morgan does a great job at spinning a spiritual myth most are familiar with and bringing in a new supernatural being that mixes elements of other, more familiar ones.

Bonus Factor: Mysterious Loner Dude

Luc lives alone in a loft above the stables. He’s moody, lurks in the shadows and is absolutely oozing with bad boy appeal. Need I say more?

Anti-bonus Factor: Love Triangle(s)

This book has not one, but TWO love triangles. I can understand one—they’re pretty much a given in YA paranormal romance—but two? Come on now. Both sisters really do not need to be involved in love triangles. (I suppose it’s a bit refreshing that one of the sisters is in a love triangle over a guy with another girl—rather than having the hots for two different guys—but still.) Love triangles are nothing more than a way to cause animosity in a group of readers. On the one hand, you’ve got the sensible pragmatists who think a heroine should go for the “practical” dude, and on the other, you’ve got the crazies hopeless romantics like myself that think, OBVIOUSLY, that the lady in question is totally meant to be with the unattainable guy. (He’s always WAY hotter.)

Casting Call:

(All of the actors below are a little too old, but as I read them older than they were—and Hollywood often seems to cast older actors as younger characters—I hope you’ll roll with me on this.)

Levin Rambin as Ingrid Waverly

Emily Browning as Gabby Waverly

Evan Peters as Grayson Fairfax

Jason Behr as Luc Rousseau

Tom Hardy as Nolan Quinn

Armie Hammer as Vander Burke

Relationship Status: I Can’t Quit You

I’ll freely admit that I’m a huge sucker for paranormal romance books with cheeky heroines and mysterious dudes, so it’s no surprise that I really enjoyed The Beautiful and the Cursed. It’s definitely a beachy read, in the sense that reading it doesn’t involve a whole lot of deep thinking, but I loved letting myself get sucked into the drams.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free review copy from Delecorte Press. I received neither breakfast tacos nor money for this review (dammit!). The Beautiful and the Cursed is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.