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The Righteous

The Righteous

by Renée Ahdieh

Narrated by Lauren Ezzo

Unabridged — 10 hours, 29 minutes

Renée Ahdieh

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Overview

In this latest installment of The New York Times bestselling quartet that began with The Beautiful, Pippa journeys to the treacherous and beguiling world of the fey in search of answers but instead falls in love.

Following the explosive events of The Damned, Odette faces a vampire's final death. The Court of the Lions have done everything they can to save her but have failed. A healer from the Sylvan Vale could help her, but only Arjun Desai, as a half fey, can cross the boundary between realms. The Sylvan Vale is a world Arjun despises, and in return, it despises him. But knowing it could save Odette, he returns to the Vale with all haste, leaving the mirrored tare between the two worlds open and unwittingly setting the stage for both love and war.
 
It's mere days until Pippa Montrose is to wed Phoebus Devereux and become a member of his well-heeled family, offering salvation to her own. But Celine is missing. Pippa has no idea where her best friend has gone, but she's certain it's in the company of vampire Sébastien Saint Germain and that Arjun can lead her to them. Pippa enjoins the help of Eloise, the daughter of a powerful sorceress, to discover the gateway Arjun uses to travel between worlds. Pippa, tired of hesitating in life, marches right through in search of her friend. But what she discovers on the other side is a dangerous, duplicitous world full of mischief and magic she doesn't understand, and most unexpectedly, she finds love.
 
Author of the New York Times bestselling duology The Wrath & The Dawn, Renée Ahdieh is back. The Righteous is the can't-miss lead in to what will be a much-anticipated finale of a can't miss quartet.


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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for The Righteous:

Darkly delicious.” —Buzzfeed

Ahdieh’s writing is lush. . . . The romance is delightful, as is the sex positivity, intersectional feminism, and discussions of colonialism. . . The vicious fey court makes this an easy recommendation to fans of Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince.” —School Library Journal

“Pippa and Arjun’s compatibility allows for a quickly building romance. . . [and] the worldbuilding further expands with deceptions and dangerous fey schemes coming to fruition just in time for the sequel. Racism, colorism, and colonialism are confronted.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The best part of the book remains Adhieh’s writing. Its lyrical quality brings the world to life once again . . . [and] gave Ahdieh’s story a fairy-tale feel.” —Bookstacked

“[A] romantic and adventurous story of vampires, fey, and magical worlds.” —PopSugar

Praise for The Damned:
A Seventeen.com's Most Anticipated Pick for Summer 2020

"Forbidden romance and harsh consequences set up this highly anticipated sequel that will leave you wanting so much more." —Seventeen.com

"Expansive worldbuilding...romantic...steamy...Decadent escapism.” —Kirkus Reviews

Forbidden love, sultry romance, and clashing immortal factions fill this sequel . . . [and] will keep readers engaged...For fans of vampire love stories.” —School Library Journal

I loved this book. Beautiful, tortured Bastien…The stellar worldbuilding/the lurking presence of the Otherworld and V A M P I R E S. A clear win.” —Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Gilded Wolves
 
A worthy sequel that builds upon the world set up in book one and takes our characters to far darker places than before.” —Culturess

The Damned continues the thematic elegance and glamour found in The Beautiful and manages to take it up another level . . . There is a deep and seductive ambience that weaves throughout the story and leaves you feeling like you are reading the novel while lounging in a richly appointed New Orleans drawing room….The supernatural world that Ahdieh builds in this series is nothing short of fantastic.” —The Nerd Daily

Praise for The Beautiful:

The Beautiful, which kicks off a new series, returns the vampire novel to popular form, evoking the style of Anne Rice and breathing fresh life into the genre.” —Entertainment Weekly

“It's true: Vampires are back, and they're more seductive than ever.” —Bustle

“Ahdieh brings New Orleans vibrantly to life, particularly when exploring the complicated racial and gender restrictions of high society through main and supporting characters of mixed-race origin. Sure to please fans of the author and of the vampire-romance genre.” —Kirkus

“The first in a series, this mystery novel shines when it focuses on Celine and her struggle to fit into society while trying to be true to herself.” —School Library Journal

“An action-packed third act and a final reveal will have readers grasping for the sequel. . . Vampires never stay dead for long, and best-selling Ahdieh's approach—part homage to the classics, part fresh-eyed revitalization—will intrigue all but the most committed skeptics.” —Booklist

Darkly glamorous . . . Compelling.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“An incredibly ornate, lush New Orleans; characters who imprint themselves on your memory forever; a story that is nail-biting and swoony and satisfying and tense ALL AT THE SAME TIME. And of course . . . VAMPIRES.” —Sabaa Tahir, New York Times bestselling author of An Ember in the Ashes

“It's intoxicating. The Beautiful has that decadent, slow-moving horror that feels like a dream slipping to nightmare.” —Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Gilded Wolves

Kirkus Reviews

2021-09-29
To rescue loved ones following the events of The Damned(2020), Arjun and Pippa venture into the dangerous Otherworld.

The Court of Lions begs half-human, half-fey Arjun to go to the Otherworld—the place vampires have been exiled from—to convince a fey healer to come and save Odette. He’s on a strict time limit, though, with his promise of servitude to the Winter Court’s king hanging overhead. After Arjun leaves, Pippa investigates his home in search of clues about Celine, her missing best friend, and ends up following him through the tare. The fey of the Summer Court are vicious to “halfbloods” like Arjun, who at least has protection from his mother’s status; when Pippa ends up being discovered and is seriously endangered, Arjun claims her as his fiancee to protect her. While they’re attracted to each other, Pippa already has a fiance—a good, rich man she needs to marry to take care of her family—but the fey marriage rite means forever. Pippa and Arjun’s compatibility allows for a quickly building romance despite the circumstances. Occasional viewpoints from other characters’ perspectives give hints at more Otherworld politics. In the last act, the worldbuilding further expands with deceptions and dangerous fey schemes coming to fruition just in time for the sequel. Racism, colorism, and colonialism are confronted (Pippa’s White and British; Arjun’s human half is Indian); queer fey are accepted.

Characters’ relationships aside, essentially an extended setup for the next installment. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Product Details

BN ID: 2940176406405
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication date: 03/12/2022
Series: The Beautiful Quartet , #3
Edition description: Unabridged
Age Range: 10 - 13 Years

Read an Excerpt

Arjun knew something was amiss the instant before his hand came to rest on the door handle of his flat.

The metal was warm.

Which meant ­someone—​­or ­something—​­had wandered too close to it. Once, not long ago, he’d found the shriveled carcass of a fly on the floor beside the threshold, its wings burnt to a crisp, the metal still pulsing from the spell warded within it.

If an intruder tried the handle, they would soon bear a burn mark on their palm and a muddled mind, meant to distort their memories. Meant to confound any manner of creature that tried to gain entry to the flat without an invitation.

Mrs. Buncombe, the elderly widow who resided in the flat below them, had sported such a mark just before the turn of the year. Thankfully she believed it to be the result of touching a hot frying pan unawares, for this particular woman was known to be the neighborhood gossip. Not to mention the fact that she suspected both Arjun and Jae of deeds befitting their foreign origins. Befitting their strange statues and stinking spices and unmistakable otherness.

Mrs. Buncombe’s trust in those who did not kneel before the Christian God was as nonexistent as her so‑­called Christian morals. Strange, that. From what Arjun knew of Jesus Christ, he had been the kind of man to hold out his hand to those in need of refuge. To offer the least among them the most of his love.

Alas, the God of Jesus Christ was not the God Mrs. Buncombe worshipped in truth. To her, the best foreigners were the ones sent back to their shores, regardless of whatever fate awaited them there. If they or their children died of hunger, warfare, sickness, or injustice, it was indeed a shame, but none of her affair.

It still gave Arjun perverse joy to hear her complain about the fragrant herbs he grew along his balcony. The ones that brought him back to his childhood, though Bombay existed half a world away. But he’d had his own revenge. The delightfully petty sort. The sort that gave him life, even on the darkest of days. After Mrs. Buncombe singed her hand on their doorknob, Arjun had offered her a healing salve he claimed worked wonders on burns in his “little village.”

In reality, he’d given her a scented ­cream . . . mixed with pigeon excrement.

He laughed to himself. For weeks, that old bigot had rubbed bird shit on her hands before going to bed.

Sometimes it was the simplest things that gave him the greatest pleasure.

Arjun paused as he unlocked the door and wandered into the darkness of his flat. He remained still and silent for a moment, his eyes scanning his surroundings. Despite the fine hairs raised on the back of his neck, nothing seemed amiss. It was foolish to succumb to paranoia. He could neither hear nor see anything out of the ordinary. Of course, he did not possess the same heightened senses of a vampire. Jae was able to smell the blood of an intruder from across the room. An ethereal like Arjun was certainly faster and stronger than a mere mortal, but he would never possess the gifts of a ­full-​­blooded fey, a fact which had caused him no small amount of consternation as a child.

He exhaled. Let the sound reverberate throughout the flat. Though it was a large space, it was rather simple in design. One main room in the center bookended by two identical bedchambers. A utilitarian kitchen lined the wall to Arjun’s right, a brick fireplace nearby. The door to Jae’s room remained shut, as was typical of the vampire, who returned home on rare occasions, especially after the assault on their coven’s stronghold almost a month ago. Now Jae preferred to sleep away the day on the top floor of the Hotel Dumaine, which had become the Court of the Lions’ temporary refuge.

On the wing opposite Jae’s ­chamber—​­the wing closest to the flat’s ­entrance—​­Arjun saw the door to his room slightly ajar, which was how he left it. Neither Arjun nor Jae used the sitting room situated beside the kitchen, the shelves along the far wall stacked with ­well-​­worn books. The only other features of note were Jae’s calligraphy scrolls and Arjun’s statue of Ganesha, the god of beginnings, which he’d received as a gift from his father the night his mother took Arjun to the Sylvan Vale and erased his father’s memory. The last item of note was an ornate, ­floor-​­length mirror propped against the wall parallel to the kitchen, its spotted surface cloaked by a sheet of white silk.

Maybe Mrs. Buncombe had earned a new burn on her palm tonight, for it did not appear as if anyone had managed to gain entrance to the premises. Yet Arjun could not seem to shake this strange sense of unease. As if he were being watched from afar.

Perhaps it was simply the apprehension he felt at what was to come. He should be satisfied that all was as it should be. So Arjun went to his room to collect a warm cloak, the iron and silver weapons, and the book of his most recent writings, upon which he’d dictated explicit instructions to himself, should he find his mind addled in any way. He concealed the small notebook in his left breast pocket. Secured the clip of his monocle. Then he studied the closed door to Jae’s room, wondering whether he should check inside, just to be certain.

The vampire assassin would not take kindly to Arjun transgressing on his privacy. Jae’s senses were the keenest of all the blood drinkers Arjun had encountered. It wasn’t worth the chance of upsetting Jae. So with a final glance about the space, Arjun moved before the large mirror propped against the wall.

He wished Odette Valmont’s fate had not fallen on his shoulders. The responsibility was almost too great to bear. It was much easier to care for himself and himself alone. At the age of fifteen, Arjun had voluntarily rescinded his role in the court of the Sylvan Vale and moved to England, where he studied law at Cambridge. For the next three years, he cared for no one but himself. Though a small part of him had longed for something more, this chosen solitude among academics suited him well. It was far preferable to a life held in thrall to the callous creatures in the Summer Court.

Then, a year ago, Nicodemus Saint Germain asked Arjun to come to Louisiana to manage the legal matters of his coven, known to those in New Orleans as the Court of the Lions. Upon Arjun’s arrival, he’d been struck by both the sinister beauty of the Crescent City and the sense of belonging he found among this motley band of blood drinkers. For the first time since he’d left Bombay as a boy of seven, he felt a sense of home.

Until he came to New Orleans, Arjun had never known what it meant to be part of something. To trust that someone would fight alongside him, through thick and thin. The immortals in the Court of the Lions accepted Arjun into their fold in a way that those in the Vale never would have done. Slowly but surely, Arjun gained a family. The first real family he’d known since he lost his connection to his father almost twelve years ago.

True, it was easier to care only about himself. But his father used to say that the right thing to do was usually the hard thing to do. And the hard thing to do was usually the right thing to do.

Curse him for being right again, as always.

Arjun wrapped his cloak around the small satchel of iron weapons, slung the parcel across his shoulder, and stood before the mirror. With a single tug, he let the silk fall and paused to peruse its ­brass-​­framed edges. Sighing, he reached his right hand forward and pressed his palm against the cool surface. The silver began to shimmer at his touch, concentric rings spreading from his fingertips like pebbles dropped in a lake. His skin tingled as his hand sank into and through the mirror, the world around him giving way to the other behind it.

With a look of resignation, Arjun stepped into the looking glass and disappeared.

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