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The Beautiful Ones: A Novel Hardcover – October 24, 2017
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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“Moreno-Garcia fills her fantastic novel of manners with sumptuous language…Readers who enjoyed Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories magical Regency series will be particularly enthralled by the genuine emotions evoked in the course of the unsustainable love triangle.” – Publishers Weekly
“Overflowing with delicious melodrama … a great fit for fans of the 18th-century French classic Les Liaisons Dangereuses.” – Library Journal
“This elegant tale of hidden desires and misplaced amour will appeal to fans of historical fantasy.” – Booklist
“The Beautiful Ones is an elegantly paced novel that moves its characters into place with ease, with careful attention paid to ways a word or a moment can change an entire life.” – Book Page
“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.” – Tor.com
“Readers who enjoy light speculative elements, historical fantasy, romance, and beautiful prose will find a trove. Straddling several genres with elegant intelligence, The Beautiful Ones is both an easy read and a fulfilling one.” – Locus
“This is the third novel I read by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and I loved all of them in different ways: each in a different genre by a chameleon writer with incredible writing skills.” – Kirkus
“The Beautiful Ones is a hauntingly lovely book, romantic and crushing by turns, touched with magic on every level.” – Vancouver Sun
“The whole book is a magnificent tangle of unspoken words and feelings. Nothing is tepid; everything, even the absence of feelings, is charged with danger and heartache. ” – Strange Horizons
“Certain people in the world of The Beautiful Ones have telekinetic abilities, but while these abilities do play an important part in the story, this is not a story of magic unless it’s the magic of the human heart.” – FantasyLiterature.com
“I never quite knew how the story was going to play out with betrayal going on, misunderstandings happening and heartbreak occurring. Overall, I definitely recommend this one.” – Literary Dust
About the Author
SILVIA MORENO-GARCIA is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Signal to Noise and Certain Dark Things and the short story collection This Strange Way of Dying, which was a finalist for the Sunburst Award in Canada. She was a finalist for the Manchester Fiction Prize and a recipient of the Gloria Vanderbilt/Exile Award for Best Emerging Writer. She lives in Canada.
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I don't consider myself a romance reader, so my knowledge of genre standards, etc. is a bit lacking (so, if you are, I might make you mad by mixing up some things about the genre in general in this review). That said, here's what I can say about THE BEAUTIFUL ONES...
The first 100 pages felt very slow. I really wanted something more to happen--my previous experience with the author's work definitely colored that expectation, but I did my best to focus just on this work and what was going on. When the first major event (by my feeling) unravels just around the 100th page, I felt a LOT of emotions I didn't expect. That's when I realized all the work that was actually laid out in that 100 pages, so expertly. Where I thought I didn't care about the main character, I discovered I had very much--and very subtly--connected to her through the events building to that moment.
I would describe this book as a Regency Romance and mean it in both the sense of the romance novels that rose up in the 1960s that took place during the Regency era with all those cultural touchstones of high society courtship, etc. AND with Jane Austen's work in the sense of it being a 'novel of manners' and a slower pacing.
For a touch of the 'weird', there is a little bit of telekines in this world. I particularly enjoyed the way it was woven into the story as just another fact of the world, just like the ebb and flow of social seasons and social standing. I could very much have enjoyed more exploration of what that's like in this setting, but understood how there wasn't room for it in this particular story.
If you like Austen & Bronte and are looking for a slower paced romance that doesn't start replacing story with sex scenes once the love interests get together... I heartily recommend THE BEAUTIFUL ONES.
They're also both telekinetics, but that's not something advertised in polite society.
Don't let your expectations turn you off: I've read Moreno-Garcia's "Signal to Noise" and "Certain Dark Things," and frankly this book contains an antagonist more monstrous than any character in either. While I am not typically a reader of romance I found the emotional conflict to be deftly handled; all incidents of miscommunication and emotional missteps are firmly rooted in the characters' psychology, not plot contrivance. I was engaged by the wide range of love on display. Besides a "traditional" romance we see the suffocating love of control and obsession, the crippling love of building your sense of identity around a relationship with another. Toxic love and fulfilling love. This range made the book for me, and added both contrast to the primary relationship and depth to the antagonist. There's also a lot of social commentary happening in the background, though I urge people to excavate that for themselves. Many of this novel's joys would be diminished by spoiling them.
TL;DR: I picked up the Audible copy to listen to while I walked, and at one point this book made me go "FUUUUUUUUUU-" in the middle of the park, so yeah, I give it a recommendation.
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Sci Fi & Fantasy
I really wasn't sure what to expect with this book, but it sounded so intriguing I wanted to read it - and what a gorgeous treat it was.
Its kind of curious world setting, one that feels historical with its emphasis on The Season, Elegance and Society, but which also accepts that some people have magical powers, although its supposed to be scientifically explained...
I'm not sure if there are other types of magic in this world, we only meet her and Hector who also is telekinetic.
I'd have liked a little more background about the world setting and the magics within it.
Anyway, Antonina (Nina) is staying with her cousin and his wife for her first Season. Telekinesis is not something one does in polite society, and poor Nina struggles to control her telekinesis. She's got no one to guide her, and back home was called names and ridiculed for it, but when she's emotional it flames out of her control. She's not really suited for society life anyway, she's intelligent, asks questions where Ladies should be silent, doesn't like frills and fripperies, dressing up, wasting time on tea parties when she could be out collecting beetles and butterflies, reading science papers etc.
Valerie, her cousins wife is quite the cold b itch. She's very much a person of Society, very much admired as the most beautiful woman in the city. She likes being admired, being rich, likes the power it gives her, likes her position in society. She's very calculating.
She's bitter, acts the loving wife but secretly despises Gaelan having married him for money and position, she resents the close relationship he has with his family.
She's not happy at Nina staying with them, at the money being spent on her, the attention paid to her and takes every opportunity to politely belittle her, under the guise of helping, instructing her in the ways of Society.
Then Nina meets Hector. She's a sweet girl, he enjoys her company and conversation, and is teaching her about her telekinesis.
Nina of course assumes he's someone that accepts her for what she is, and not like the rest of society who ridicule her, call her names, and aren't lining up to marry her despite her rich dowry. Of course she can't help falling in love, Hector is a good-looking, charming and a courteous man. She thinks her feelings may be reciprocated, as he's happy to converse with her about nature, science, and of course the telekinesis that others want her to keep hidden, spends time with her and gives every appearance of being interested in her. There are other things at play though, things from the past she doesn't know about and all is not as it seems.
I love Nina, such a genuine, kind and intelligent girl. When things went wrong between her and Hector I so felt for her, convinced they were a good match, that Hector felt more than he would admit, even to himself. I wanted them back together but then someone else comes into the picture.....has Hector left it too late?
Its a fun read, I would have likes to know more about the world setting and the magics in it. The supernatural part is very much Nina and Hector only, we don't meet anyone else even though clearly there are more people. Do they all only have telekinesis or are there other types of magic? How do people get it? Is it some kind of genetic link or just random. There's no talk of Nina's family having anyone else who could do things ( that I recall) but Hector had been performing in a troupe as a child, presumably with his parents who must have had some abilities to work in the group. I'd like to have those sort of questions answered.
Stars: Four, its an enjoyable read, a little light escapism for a few hours. I don't think its one I'll reread, but is one that will appeal to younger and older readers. Some book suit all ages and this is one.
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers
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