Society, manners, relationships, and telekinetic gifts shape the lives of those within the pages of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s The Beautiful Ones.
Antonina, who prefers to be called Nina, comes from a well-respected family and is going to spend some time in Loisail for the first time with her cousin and his wife Valerie, who is meant to teach her how to be a lady and be a part of their society. Nina, however, is highly strong-headed and keen to learn about her telekinetic ability and how to control it. After meeting a famous performer, Hector, with abilities such as her own, Nina and Hector form a friendship, which seems it’s leading to something more; however, Nina isn’t aware that Hector has a tumultuous history with Valerie, which creates complications for all three of them as they are continually thrown into each others’ company.
This was an entertaining tale told from three perspectives that was highly reminiscent of Victorian literature, as it featured the familiar character types (read many stubborn and spirited characters) and a lack of communication serving as the basis for issues that arise in personal relationships. I was intrigued by the concept of Nina and Hector’s telekinetic gift and what the status of a Beautiful One entailed, but they weren’t really fully explored or explained, which was disappointing despite it not being essential to the themes explored within the narrative. Along these same lines, the world the story takes place in isn’t fully developed either as it pulls from aspects of European nations, but also seems to try to be creating something all its own.
Overall, I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars.