The Beautiful Ones

By: Kody Boye
Narrated by: Jessica Hazard
Length: 7 hrs and 56 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

My mother once said that only the Beautiful Ones survive. This is because in the war-torn Great South, beauty is a currency, and to have it means you will never have to worry about a thing. The only problem is: Beauty is judged by our capital’s Gentlewomen, and there is no guarantee we will pass their test. 

Every year, the Gentlewomen of the capital leave the Glittering City to oversee the annual Procession. They travel settlement to settlement selecting girls, aged 16 and older, to become Beautiful Ones. If chosen, we will be lifted into a life of luxury, but the cost is our free will.

©2018 Kody Boye (P)2019 Kody Boye

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    9
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    9
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    8
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Not a fan.

I wasn’t a fan of this story. I wanted to be, but it just wasn’t happening.

Was I the only one who had “Hunger Games” come to mind after reading this story? I don’t know. There were instances that kept making me think of it. For example, there was the capital and the outlining cities or districts. There was the process that took place every year in which young people (women in this case) were chosen and taken back to the capital. This process was used to make lives overall better. C/Kalendra(?) was the face of that year’s process (similar to Katniss being the face of that year’s hunger games). There were the rebels in both stories. Lastly, there was the creation of C/Kalendra’s dress. Essentially it was like Katniss’ first dress she wore when introduced to the capital’s people. Both stylists wanted them to stand out from the crowd and were in similar colors. C/Kalendra’s dress was based on the sunset (red, orange, yellow), while Katniss’ was fire (red, orange, yellow). Sunset = fire. Tell me I wasn’t the only one to pick up on these things?!

I was somewhat confused as to the world setting of this story. C/Kalendra was from… what sounded like a village. Daniel, and the capital, on the other hand, was from a city that sounded like the present time. For whatever reason, it seemed strange to me. I mean there was mention of For Sale signs in yards of houses. The idea of some crazy process taking place in a current-day nothing-special-about-it city didn’t work for me.

The idea that people would still be as crazy-obsessed over Beautifuls baffled me as well. I mean, I could see them going all out with the first few girls/the few years, but how would it have continued for so long when they bring back several girls each year, with each girl then getting engaged and married? It wasn’t like the girls were really going on to do great things, become important (real important) people minus their charity work; they were having children! Like a regular woman does. It just seemed strange, especially when we learn the point of them having kids was to increase the number of attractive people in the capital. FYI, two attractive people can have an ugly child… just saying. The photojournalists were one thing but what was the point of the Mothers/ladies in charge feeding into that craziness? How did that benefit them?

Anyway… I wasn’t sure how I felt about the author’s writing style. I automatically had the idea of some love-struck poetry-writer-turned-fiction-writer-of-novels… writing this story. If that made sense. Most of the phrasing just had me thinking of it sounding poetic.

A big issue for me was that I noticed a lot of repetition/redundancy throughout the story. For example:

1. “As the sounds of marching footsteps sound down the hall.”
2. “The thoughts rushing through my mind going the same speed the train is currently speeding…”
3. “With a nod and with a ('a' wasn't needed) trepidation that I have never felt in my life, I break away. Feeling innately that chain connecting us will break away.”
4. “I meander slowly like a bird lame and crippled and make my way slowly up the aisle…”
5. “…and turns to the page that has been marked by a dog-eared page.”
“When our rings click together, I curl our fingers together.”

There were some issues with the dialogue tags, at least in my opinion. Now, when two characters are talking, dialogue tags aren’t necessary unless you want to provide an action along with whatever the character is saying. For example, “'I really don’t want to leave you here alone,’ she said.” Basic tags like he/she said really grate on my nerves as they’re not needed. Be inventive! Or just not use them. The author also incorporated these random basic tags in the middle of dialogue sentences. Why? I have no clue, but they stood out to me like a red flag.

I really couldn’t stand C/Kalendra. I know not every female protagonist is going to be strong; C/Kalendra was somewhere on the opposite side of that spectrum, no matter how many times she said she didn’t always follow the rules. The fact she was constantly stumbling over her words or unsure of how to respond to simple questions… I was ready to strangle her. At the end, when she told Mother Tara she wanted to dedicate her life to the war, I was so waiting for her go on and say how she wanted to stop the rebels. Obviously, she didn’t like the results of the process, but with how weak and clueless of a character she came across as, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what happens in the next book. Am I interested in reading book 2? Sorry, but no.

Moving on…

The narrator had a nice-sounding voice, but I had some issues with her narration. She didn’t change her voice… much. Like all the older females sounded the same, the younger ones the same, etc. She seemed to pause randomly in the middle of talking. It was as though she were turning a page and then continuing with the story. I’m not saying these pauses took place at the end of sentences either. The majority of the time they took place in the middle. It was very annoying. Did no one listen to the narration once it was completed? I’m guessing not, otherwise, the pauses would have been picked up. Lastly, if you’re unsure the pronunciation of a word, look it up. Simple. The word “dais” is not pronounced “days.”

Questions/Comments:

When Stylist was putting makeup on C/Kalendra for the first time, it seemed strange that she was unsure of what concealer was yet could identify the highlight/lowlight makeup.

Wednesday was telling C/Kalendra about the “Corpse Bride” and how she stopped eating. C/Kalendra asked, “How would they know she hadn’t been eating?” Um… because she wasn’t gaining weight? Because she was only getting thinner?

At the engagement… event, C/Kelandra apologized to Daniel for making him think she didn’t like him. Huh? Why would he have ever had that impression?

Why were the women in charge referred to as Mothers or Gentlewomen? Why were the SAD agents all women? Where are the men in this world? Besides the driver, the “first-lady’s” husband, and the guy from the elevator.

Mess-up. C/Kalendra tried on a corset prior to having her wedding makeup put on, as in a practice run. Yet, when the wedding day comes, there was no mention of her wearing a corset. Okay, maybe it was one of those things that the reader was to assume she had donned without the author putting it into words? But when she was running away after the bombing, she had to keep her stomach taut against her dress. If she were wearing a corset, she wouldn’t have had to suck in. Therefore, she had no corset.

C/Kalendra doesn’t say anything to Mother Tara when she acknowledged C/Kalendra might hold some reservations about getting married. Why? The reasoning in the story made no sense to me. Apparently, C/Kalendra had a fear of her retaliating. How? She’d previously spoken back to Mother Tara without this fear or repercussions. Then she went on to say how words hurt. Um… Again, she had no problem taking back prior.

Heading to the ceremony, C/Kalendra stopped when the photojournalists began taking her picture. Of course she wasn’t supposed to stop. Was I surprised she did? Nope. Anyway, she started thinking of her mother and whispered ‘mother.’ Paraphrasing here, she said her words were silent beyond the four walls but would be captured in magazines, books, and on-screen forever. On-screen? There had never been any mention of them having televisions or movie theaters (just saying). “What will they say? I do not know. But what I have said only I will know.” (That was the poetry part I mentioned above.) If she were the only one to have heard herself say ‘mother,’ then how would it get printed elsewhere?

C/Kalendra was given a ring and “holds the ring as though it were her child who had been freshly born.” Freshly born? Can a child be born stale? Har har. The phrasing just sounded weird to me.

Daniel was from the city. Why were his parents never brought up (minus one time when he told C/Kalendra they would live with them)? Why were they not at the wedding?

I couldn’t help but notice there seemed to be a lot of “While I…” do not know, cannot say kind of talk. Just one of those random things that I pick up on.

C/Kalendra woke to find Daniel talking to a SAD agent who was looking down on him from an impressive height of… six feet. I don’t know about most, but I would never consider six feet to be impressive. Maybe six-five? How tall was Daniel?

Heading back to the Spire, C/Kalendra saw herself in the elevator mirrors. She noticed the destruction of herself, her dress, skirt, and train. Um… I’m not a dress person, but wouldn’t the skirt and train be part of the dress? Hence, she noticed the destruction of her dress, period.

Daniel ended up asking C/Kalendra why the woman bomber had done what she did. Her response? Nothing. Why? Because apparently, she had no idea… even though she’d just spoken to Mother Tara who explained it to her.

Now I don’t know if this was a narrator or author mistake but when C/Kalendra and Syon(?) were talking about the first lady's husband visiting her again, the narrator had Syon refer to C/Kalendra as Mel. As in “That’s ridiculous, Mel.” Although, there was also the time when Mother Tara was talking to C/Kalendra in chapter 9. She referred to her as “Kendra Elizabeth Byron.” Also during this situation, why in the world would C/Kalendra have told Syon to tell someone that the one guy had essentially raped her? She already knew nothing would be done about it, yet again, she played dumb as though she hadn’t already talked Mother Tara about that exact situation.


I received a free audiobook copy in exchange for an honest review.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A Dystopian Fairytale

The Beautiful Ones makes me think of a dystopiian fairytale reminiscent of Hunger Games and the Handmaidens tale. Very Interesting and easy listen. I was given this audible in exchange for an honest review.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great book

This novel by Kody Boye is very thought provoking. It is set in a world where to be beautiful is the most highly sought-after commodity. Unfortunately, being beautiful is not quite as glamorous as they've made it seem to those on the outside looking in. No spoilers here, but definitely worth checking out. Can't wait to start the sequel!

I received this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

So much potential

This is the first book I’ve read/listened to by this author and I really want to listen to more.
This is very reminiscent of The Handmaid’s Tale (girls forced into childbearing for the elite) and Hunger Games (relationships becomes like a reality show). The mix makes for an intriguing story. There are some contradictions and redundancies in the book, but overall I enjoyed it. There are many questions I have, that I won’t mention in fear of creating a spoiler. Hopefully these will be answered in book 2 and we will learn more about the previous Beautiful Ones, the true purpose of the Beautiful Ones and why are the girls unaware of the marriages, the Glittering City society, the reason for the disparity between the capital and outlying towns.

This is the first book I’ve listened to by this narrator ( Jessica Hazard ). Her narration helped draw me into the story. Her character voices are all well done with the appropriate amount of emotion and personality given to characters. Great cadence is smooth.

There are no explicit sex scenes, or excessive violence. There is reference to a rape. There is the occasional swear word.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and voluntarily left this unbiased review.
Please feel free to comment on whether you found my review helpful.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing!

Loved this book! Was very different than any book that I have read before! Really love the main character! The author did an awesome job keeping my attention, I wasn't able to predict what was going to happen! I'm sure the next book is just as good! The narrator wasreally great!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Engaging dystopian fairytale

A young woman (Kelendra) takes part in basically a beauty pageant to elevate her standing in life and become a "Beautiful One". The great reward is to be taken to The Glittering City and entered into an arranged marriage and be one of the chosen people to further an idealized version of humanity. The clash between the book world and the wrongness that you feel as a spectator makes for an engaging read.

Kelendra is a great character to be our access point into this world. She is indifferent to the goal of becoming a "Beautiful One" and fairly naive to the goings on of this world. We get to learn many truths along with her and see some of the world-building through her eyes for the first time instead of just being info dumped on us. The world-building is great in this book and I think the unveiling of information is done with the restraint of knowing this will be a series.

The narration by Jessica Hazard is pretty great throughout and thought she embodied Kelendra perfectly and brought the world to life. I enjoyed that Kody Boye defied some expectations I thought would come with a story like this and look forward to the choices he plans on making in future books. An endearing main character that you want to cheer for and some great world building made for an entertaining listen.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Good start

My only complaint about this book is the narrator. She had a great delivery but she kept pronouncing "common-daunt" as "command-dint." With the commandant being a bit of a central character, that really started to grate.

That pronunciation aside, I did enjoy this listen. The world-building was pretty special. It was very dystopian with an elitist society that is predicated amongst one's beauty. Kel is newly anointed into this world and she has plenty of things she needs to figure out.

As this is the first book in a series, don't look for problems to be solved. They will not. This book sets up the next book rather nicely though.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

PG-13 version of the Handmaid's Tale

THE BEAUTIFUL ONES by Koby Boye is a Young Adult dystopian novel with a twist. Rather than being about a young action heroine who is struggling against the tyranny of the week, it is the story of a woman who wins a peculiar "beauty pageant" that results in her becoming one of the Beautiful Ones. They are people who have been selected for their strong genetics to be the pampered and beloved wives to a eugenicist experiment in the Glittering City. If this sounds like there's a shoe waiting to drop, you'd be half-right.

Kelendra is an entertaining but reserved character as she has been raised by her family to endure The Process. They've done her best to use their meager resources to make her spectacularly lovely in hopes of getting her accepted as one of the Beautiful Ones. It's something Kelendra never got a chance to particularly want for herself and when she is accepted, doesn't quite know what to do with herself since it separates her from the only life she's ever known.

If I had to describe this, I'd say this is something akin to a PG-13 version of The Handmaid's Tale. There's even a figure known ominously as the Commandant who develops a liking for Kelendra's best friend (and goes after her in a subdued but horrifying scene). There's also elements of The Hunger Games with the entirety of Kelendra's village being fascinated by the prospect of her becoming a Beautiful One even as they expect to never see her again.

The world-building is exceptionally well done as Kody draws on the Antebellum South and Civil War motifs to give a sense of what the world is like. It is definitely in the future but not so far in the future that the Old World is completely forgotten. Indeed, it's implied it may be only a few decades away from now with the dystopian Glittering City having been built in the aftermath of the United States' recent fall.

Do I have any issues? Well, one. The thing is that being a Beautiful One doesn't actually seem to be that bad. You're required to be in an arranged marriage but Kelendra is set up with a young man of her own age, who seems to be every bit the kind of pleasant and good person she is. It also does rescue her from poverty and near-starvation.

When dealing with a bunch of eugenics-obsessed bad guys, I kept expecting some terrible twist: that Kelendra was actually asexual or gay, her husband to be was, her husband to be was abusive, or the Beautiful Ones were meant to be harem girls for the rich and powerful of the city. Kelendra is horrified by the thought of getting married so young and having children but arranged marriages were the way things went for most of human history. At the least least, I was expecting a horrible racial undercurrent to exist to the Process but I didn't see any evidence of that either.

This is a small issue, though, as I genuinely enjoyed following Kelendra through her journey. She is a passive character but incredibly perceptive. I really did sympathize with the fact she's being taken from her loved ones for the promise of a new life she's not sure she wants for herself. There also are many hints to just how horrifying this society is with the majority of lower-class men having been conscripted into what is implied to be a WW1-esque meatgrinder. I immediately picked up and read the second book after finishing the first one and suspect you will too. I rarely comment on covers but I also feel the artist for this one should be commended--it's a really lovely work.

The narrator did an amazing job.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely Hooked!!

This is a beautifully woven story about Kalendra as she becomes a Beautiful one and leaves everything behind. Its almost like the hunger games but only in the world portion as an example. This is a masterpiece and doesn't fully compare to anything. Kalendra is from the West and travels east to the Glittering City. She makes friends and learns so much. There isn't really romance in this story but I expect it to grow alot come book 2 with how the last part is unfolding. It ALMOST reminds me of The Selection series without the romance and a bit more action and drama! Kalendra constantly had me on edge because she kept getting into self made trouble as any teenager does!
Kody Boye did an amazing job and I can't WAIT to see where this world leads to!!
Jessica Hazard did a breathtaking job of reading this story and I was sneaking in listens while at work.

I requested and was given this audiobook complimentary at my request and have voluntarily left this review with my honest opinion

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed this book!

I received a free promo code to listen to this book, and leave an honest review.

I really enjoyed listening to this book. It seemed to start off a bit slow and I wasn't sure about the narration....but before the first chapter was finished I was interested and listening to this book whenever I had a chance. About half way through I was really hoping that this would be a series as I couldn't imagine how the book would end....And it is book 1 :)

I am quite excited to listen to the next book as there are many loose ends and many different ways I can imagine the story ending. I am enjoying the world that the author built and find myself making some comparisons to the world we live in. It is interesting.

Narration was well done...I really hope the same narrater continues the series. I only noticed a couple of long spaces (pauses) but it didnt effect the story in any way. The main characters are easy to tell apart...well done!

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lotty
  • Lotty
  • 12-14-19

Brilliant

This book was a joy to listen to. It is an intriguing dystopian story. The characters are beautifully written and endearing. I couldn't stop listening to this wonderfully narrated book and look forward to hearing the next one.