REVIEW: The Damned by Renee Ahdieh
In this sequel to the Beautiful, we follow Bastien and Celine as they refigure out themselves and struggle with the choices that Celine made to save Bastien. Bastien is now a vampire and Celine traded her memories in order to save him, which inevitably meant turning him into a vampire.
Not remembering what happened to her, Celine puts her memory loss down to an accident where she hurt her head, or so people are telling her but she contemplates whether something is amiss. She definitely knows something is up and has constant nightmares of something that haunts her but alas, she cannot remember such things happening. She is in a continuous battle with herself, feeling like those are lying her to constantly she considers her friends. Whereas Bastien, is in the know about what Celine did for him and can’t get it out of his mind that she would have done such a thing for him even if he is being stubborn about being a vampire and does not want to remain that way. Bastien must look at what she gave up for him and stay loyal within his vampire family or follow his desires for Celine. Celine though is starting to remember some things even though she shouldn’t.
What makes matters worse, is the fact that Nicodemus shouldn’t have made a new vampire as it goes against the treaty that he signed with the Brotherhood. The brotherhood of course get wind of the new vampire lurking in the shadows and now Nicodemus has to pay the price for it. In addition to this, in the epilogue of the previous book, we were introduced to Emilie, Bastien’s sister and now werewolf. She died in a fire saving Bastien but when she herself needed saving, Nicodemus turned the other way, refusing to turn her into a vampire. Instead somebody else saved her and turned her into a werewolf. Now that Nicodemus has done the thing that she wanted most to Bastien, she declares war on the rest of her family with the rest of the werewolf clan in tow, including Michael’s, who is the other love interest of Celine, cousin Luca.
Unbeknownst to Bastien that all of this is happening; he goes searching for a way to undo what Celine had done and to become mortal again. He reads about a man called Sunan who lives in the Sylvan Wyld and asks Valeria about what she had heard of him. She instantly guesses it’s because he wants to be unmade and tells him of what she knows. But there is a snag in his plan, vampires are forbidden from entering the Winter Court of Sylvan through a portal but they are not forbidden from entering the Summer court and then travelling to the winter court from there. So he and Arjun head to the summer court. Upon arriving, the fey of the summer court instantly capture them and escort them to the queen, as she is interested in him. Her interest in him is because of Celine. Celine is her daughter that she abandoned and now wants to reconnect with her. In order to let him get to the Winter Court, she asks him to bring Celine to her. It is then when we realise that Celine is an ethereal which is why she is starting to get her memory back. She is half ethereal so she cannot be manipulated by vampires as well as humans are. Bastien and Celine meet up and this is when he spills the beans to her about vampires, about the creatures that lurk in the night and of the fey. He tells her about whom her mother is and that she wants to meet her and if she is ready, she can see her. She accepts the offer and they go back to the summer court. She finally meets her mother and feels a mix of emotions about the reunion. She is excited and thrilled but is upset at her mother because she let her think she was dead for fourteen years and abandoned her with her father. But what adds to that emotion is that she finds out that she was used as a bargaining chip for Bastien to get to the Winter Courts she is upset with him but agrees to go with him to the winter court trusting him over her mother.
They head to the winter court. When they get to the winter court, they meet the king who wants to punish Bastien, as a vampire shouldn’t enter. Arjun puts himself forward to stay at the winter court in his steed and offers that he will remain there for a period of six weeks in servitude of the king. He agrees but also tells them that Sunan left the winter court long ago. It was in that moment, the life drained out of Bastien because that was his entire reason for going there. They return to the summer court, only for it to be revealed that Sunan was actually watching them in the winter court all along. At the summer court, Celine makes a request of her mother, she will return to the vale to spend time with her but first she must go back to New Orleans and offer people explanations of what happened to her during this period of time.
They come back to Emilie having kidnapped Nicodemus and tries to start a war between the vampires and the werewolves. Chaos and fighting ensues to try and get Nicodemus back. People were lost on either side including Nicodemus who tried to save everybody by sacrificing himself but that didn’t stop the fighting. Emilie killed Odette also. Many were lost. His cousin who was attacking the women he loved, Celine, killed Luca, the werewolf who Emilie loved. Emilie was absolutely distraught by this and was alone. Bastien sent her to the summer court so she could be banished to the wastelands for her crimes. It is revealed in the epilogue that for killing Luca, Michael himself has turned into a vampire as there are only a few ways of turning into a vampire and one is killing a werewolf. “A bite from a werewolf often resulted in death, which was why it was rarely attempted among their ranks. The risk was too great. The Grimaldis had learned this truth the hard way. It wasn’t enough to be born into a family of wolves. You had to forge your own path. One sure-fire way of ensuring the change was sinister in construct: take the life of one of your own. A wolf for a wolf.”
This book was so much better than the previous, with the inclusion of the fey, it made this book otherworldly. We got to experience new things that were only touched upon in the previous books. The new mythologies that were hinted at come to light within this book and truly brings an awe-inspiring tale. Though many plot points were very simplistic in its nature, the story itself was simply compelling and managed to grip me to its pages nonetheless. Although I am a sucker (pun) for fey this story brought something new to the universe that Renee Ahdieh has created. I honestly can’t wait to read the next in the series.
4 out of 5 stars.