The Ruined (The Beautiful Quartet #4)

The Ruined (The Beautiful Quartet #4)

by Renée Ahdieh
The Ruined (The Beautiful Quartet #4)

The Ruined (The Beautiful Quartet #4)

by Renée Ahdieh

Hardcover

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Overview

Notes From Your Bookseller

The truce is broken between Vale and Wyld, and the ripples are growing. The fourth in the Beautiful Quartet series, The Ruined continues with the steamy fantasy romance, female leads, gorgeous world-building and intoxicating narrative atmosphere.

The stunning conclusion to the instant New York Times bestselling quartet that began with The Beautiful.

The Sylvan Vale and the Sylvan Wyld are at war. Now that the unsteady truce between them has been broken, lines must be drawn. In an effort to protect the weakened Winter Court, Bastien rallies powerful allies and friends in New Orleans to come to their aid.

Meanwhile, under protection alongside her injured mother in the Summer Court, Celine is uncertain of whom to trust. She cannot get word to Bastien, and does not understand why he has not returned. When she realizes war between the fey courts is imminent, she journeys with Ali in an effort to find the time traveling mirror and change their fate.

But when Celine’s rivals realize Bastien has rallied his allies in the mortal world, they decide to take the fight to him.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781984812643
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 12/05/2023
Series: The Beautiful Quartet , #4
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 53,578
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.60(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

About The Author
Renée Ahdieh is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In her spare time, she likes to dance salsa and collect shoes. She is passionate about all kinds of curry, rescue dogs, and college basketball. The first few years of her life were spent in a high-rise in South Korea; consequently, Renée enjoys having her head in the clouds. She and her family live in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is the #1 New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the Wrath and the Dawn series, the Flame in the Mist series, and The Beautiful quartet.

Read an Excerpt

PROLOGUE

Death meets us in the darkness. There, in that moment, all the moments before it take shape to form the lines and contours of a life, like a vessel on a potter's wheel.
 
For an instant, the measure of a life can be seen.

Was it a life of emptiness? Was it misshapen, its cup filled from another's well? Was it cracked and leaking? Perhaps chipped from so many lessons learned?

These were Suli's thoughts as he held on to Sunan's hand. He wondered what would become of them, now that his brother's magic could no longer protect what remained of the Winter Court.

Their court of ice and darkness had once been great, its ramparts carved deep into the heart of a glittering mountain. The vampires and the werewolves had ruled from this lofty perch, their coffers overflowing with gemstones mined from this very fortress, its caverns veined with gold and iron ore, its alcoves spangled with rubies and diamonds.

But in the end, their greed cost them everything, and the mountain had fallen still. Looters and profligates tried to tunnel their way to what remained of the riches, but the caverns collapsed on them, burying them in tombs of stony silence.

The mountain faded into remembrance, its once-glittering halls empty.

Now its formidable shell provided their kind with a place to call home. In recent years, Sunan had kept the creatures of the Sylvan Wyld—and all those who needed it—safe. He was great indeed, and Suli was proud to call him brother.

A humble goblin like Suli learned long ago to accept that he was not fated for the same kind of greatness. Standing in the shadow of his brother—the most famed illusionist the world of the fey had ever known—had not bothered Suli much. He'd seen the cost of Sunan's so-called gift. Better that Suli keep to his own clumsy conjurings. They had given him solace after he'd lost his family to the mirror, and they would undoubtedly do so once again.

Now that he would be the only member of their family left.

"Out with it," Sunan whispered in a raspy voice, his brow knotted. "You . . . have s-something you wish to say."

Suli glanced at the soaked dressings pressed against the wound in Sunan's side. "Don't waste the energy to speak," he said in the language of their kind. Already his brother's injury was stinking of rot, the swelling and the charred blue flesh around Sunan's stomach preventing a healer from sewing it closed.

"Should I be s-saving it for something else?" Sunan's eyes twinkled, despite his obvious pain. "Perhaps . . . a jaunt through the f-freshly fallen snow?" He snorted. "I'm dying. The l-last joy I have is to s-speak my mind."

Suli sighed. "I suppose you're right."

A shudder wracked through Sunan's tiny blue body. He gripped Suli's hand. "Brother, you must p-protect our kind. The mirror . . . you m-must see it d-destroyed. Promise me."

"You know I cannot."

"P-please." Sunan swallowed. "Promise me."

"I swore on my children's graves that I would never again stand close to that mirror, much less make use of its power, even to destroy it." Suli took a deep breath. "I'm sorry, brother. I cannot accept this responsibility. The mirror is a curse to all who behold it."

Sunan wheezed, his features twisting in dismay. "I-I thought Arjun Desai w-would be the one, but"-he coughed, and blood dribbled down his chin-"now w-we must turn to the prince." He winced again, a single tear trailing toward his right ear. "He m-must know. He-"

"Sébastien Saint Germain is not up to the task." Suli's voice rose. "He is as selfish and calculating as his uncle ever was."

"He s-stayed to help us."

"A mere two days of him caring for our wounded does not sway me." Suli's features hardened. "A true leader does not wait for smooth waters. He faces the hurricane."

"We c-cannot expect him to change overnight."

"You wanted him to take a stand against Lady Silla that afternoon by the river. He did not, nor will he, so long as he loves her daughter. Our people will never follow him, despite the noble blood flowing through his veins."

Sunan's yellowing eyes widened. "If y-you will not lead, h-he must be the one." He tried to sit up. "He m-must protect our kind. He must s-safeguard the mirror. Or . . . s-see it destroyed. It is his birthright. His . . . d-duty. Promise me."

"I promise you that I will speak with him on the matter."

Sunan nodded, his exhaustion plain. "Th-thank you, Suli."

Suli sighed to himself as he eased his brother back to the threadbare pillow, straw poking through its seams. He wanted to argue more with Sunan. Give voice to his exasperation, as he'd done for centuries.

All at once, Suli realized that time was at an end. The comfort he'd felt in that closeness would be gone from him in a matter of moments. Loss took hold of his heart. It blossomed in Suli's chest, the ache creeping up his throat. He gripped Sunan's hand.

"I . . . shall miss our conversations," Suli said.

Sunan smiled at him, another tear etching down his blue skin. "I shall miss you."

"Some mortals believe in an afterlife." Suli's own eyes welled. "I hope they are right."

"If they are, I w-will tell our f-family you love them."

"Thank you."

Sunan took a trembling breath, his voice fading to a whisper. "I'm f-frightened."

"That is unlike you."

"Knew . . . this time . . . would come."

"The mirror allowed you to foresee your death, yet you are still frightened," Suli murmured. "Knowledge alone is never enough."

Sunan nodded, another bout of coughing tearing through his body. He groaned and pressed his lips together.

"You don't have to fight anymore," Suli said softly.

Sunan swallowed. A gasp flew from his lips, his eyes wide. With a final burst of effort, he gripped Suli's hand in both of his own. "She will . . . never . . . choose her."

"What?" Suli bent closer.

"Silla. Will . . . kill the child . . . first." Bloody sputum poured from Sunan's mouth.

Suli shook his head, tears coursing down his cheeks. "Don't fight anymore, Sunan. Be at peace."

"Tell . . . Bastien. Celine . . . will die. Hallowtide."

Realization struck Suli like a bolt of lightning piercing the night sky. "Lady Silla intends to kill her own daughter during mortal Hallowtide?"

Sunan wheezed. "Stop . . . them. Destroy . . . the mirror. Do . . . what I . . . failed to do."

"I will do whatever I can. Be at peace, brother. You have more than earned it."

With another shudder, Sunan exhaled. Suli watched the life leave his brother's body. Still he did not release Sunan's hand. He sat in silence, honoring the moment of his brother's passing. Many long years and many hard losses had taught Suli that this was not a time for anger or pain. That time would come later, like waves crashing upon a dark shore.

Now was a moment for quiet. A moment for respect. A moment for love.

Tomorrow there would be pain. Tomorrow he would allow the anger to race through his veins and the pain to rip through his chest. Tomorrow he would make sense of it all.

One day, perhaps there would be justice.

With a heavy heart, Suli let go of his brother's hand for the last time.

Sunan had charged Suli with knowledge. And knowledge alone was never enough.

Suli swore on their family's graves that he would pass the mirror's curse to Sébastien Saint Germain . . . or die trying.

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