I didn't believe NetGalley when they sent me the email that I'd been approved for an ARC of The Scarlet Veil by Shelby Mahurin. I thought it had to be a prank. I've never moved so fast as I did when I saw that "Send to Kindle" button and knew it was true--I had to get it to my Kindle before they changed their mind.
The Scarlet Veil brings us back into the world of Cesarine and Belterra, of witches and Chausseurs, of magic and intrigue. This time, we're following Célie, who you may remember from the Serpent and Dove trilogy. She's joined the ranks of Chausseurs and is doing what she can to find her place there; much to her fiancé Jean Luc's dismay. He's doing what he can to treat her like she's made of glass and to keep her from harm's way, but Célie, who, if you recall, killed Morgane Le Blanc isn't as fragile as Jean Luc and the Chausseurs seem to think. After a string of murders ravage the streets of Belterra, Célie learns two things: her friends are working to find the killer without her, and that all is not as it appears. While visiting a loved one in the cemetery, Célie stumbles upon a body and is quickly pulled into the very case her friends excluded her from solving. Abducted, Célie ends up on a mysterious island, Requiem, where she learns that vampires exist...and that they may have sinister plans for her.
I couldn't get enough of this story! Célie definitely steps into her own in ways that I didn't expect--the Célie we know from Serpent and Dove is a bit prissy. She's prim and proper and pretty haughty, which she still is, but she's so much more than that. Célie is surprisingly deep, and I'm so thankful that we've finally gotten her point of view! The vampires you meet along the way are also so complex, and you can't decide from moment to moment if you love them or hate them. In that same vein (ha! see what I did there?!), I should go ahead and warn you, from a romance perspective, this duology is going to be a slooooow burn. If it goes where I hope it goes, that is.
There are also so many parts, especially in the castle on Requiem, that gave me Haunted Mansion vibes--when you read it, if you're a Disney person, you'll know what I'm talking about. It was such a freaking mood!
On a more serious note, this story grappled with anxiety and panic attacks, post traumatic stress disorder, grief, and addiction beautifully. It confronts how so often people are treated as fragile when they're "going through it," but how that anxiety, grief, addiction, etc. isn't the person--it isn't everything that they are, and they don't need to be treated as if they might break just because they have suffered and are coming to terms with life during, and after, that suffering. It humanizes so many emotions that we are often numb to or judgmental of so beautifully.
Then there's the Epilogue. It's just...flawless. Sure, this book leaves you on a pretty massive cliffhanger, but...it's worth it. I already know that the sequel is going to be everything.
I seriously don't know how I'm going to survive until I get more time with Célie, Michal, and the gang.
If you've ever had your heart ripped out by Shelby Mahurin, you may be entitled to compensation...in the form of reading more and putting yourself through it all again willingly. Does that count as compensation?
Either way, you should preorder your copy of The Scarlet Veil by Shelby Mahurin here so that you can have it on release day: September 26! Trust me, you don't want to wait to read this!
Love and dances with ghosts,
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley for free and have voluntarily written this review with my honest feedback. If you purchase a copy using my Amazon affiliate link above, I will receive a small commission which I will use to justify my literary addictions and to spoil my dogs (probably).