(Author: Jeremy Haun) + (Year: 2016) + (Goodreads)
I received The Beauty from Netgalley and I had to move around my to-read list a lot in order to read it ASAP as the deadline in Netgalley is in a few days, but I can’t say that I’m sorry I did it in any way.
I first heard of The Beauty maybe three months ago and it was only in connection to the story of It Follows – a movie which I absolutely hated. As parallel can be drawn between the two – a weird sexually transmitted disease and its consequences, I was not that interested by The Beauty. But when I saw it again in Netgalley, I decided to give it a chance and here we are.
The Beauty is way better than It Follows. The story makes so much more sense and it’s actually something I can imagine happening. In fact, I think it’s already happening, though not necessarily in the same shape as in the comic book. If you look at the role of sex as a form of social status, it would not be hard to first, see that there is a connection between reality and fiction in this case, and second, imagine how if the Beauty ever became an actual disease, it would have basically the same popularity all over the world, if not a bigger one.
On my first point: even today, and probably way before our time, sex has been used as means to gain many things, popularity and status among them. Now, that is exactly what the Beauty, as a disease, offers – you are among the desired and envied ones. Which unleashes an entire following of people who willingly want to catch this disease and be part of the clique. Therefore, my second point, imagine the Beauty appeared in our society and the following wave of death was also activated. Guess what? 3/4 of the population of the world would be dead, because I can assure you that almost everyone will want to get this disease. End of story.
The visual element of the book was interesting, not overly intricate, but still enjoyable. I thought the idea of making the normal people gray-ish and the “beauties” more colorful was quite clever and made understanding the plot easier because it was not hard to spot which characters were on which side of the conflict. And the covers were just amazing:
The pacing of The Beauty was also to my liking, it didn’t drag and it was not confusing and bordering with annoyingly unresolved. There were still questions but there were also answers and I always appreciate that in a story.
The characters were a mixed bunch, mostly leaning on good. To be honest, I did not enjoy the main male character, he was more of a center of attention than Vaughn was, but he basically did nothing of value to the story, while she was the “doer” – a lot more active and interesting. The rest of the characters were more or less cliches but if you look close enough you can find cliches in every story, so that is not a tragedy as long as there is more depth to the characters than just the stereotype they represent. Which there was. I can’t say I liked the CDC lady all that much, but even she had some nice story.
Bonus: if you get your hands on The Beauty, try reading it while listening to the Batman vs Superman soundtrack. It’s so tense and dramatic, I can promise you the full action experience with that mix.