Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Published: December 1, 2009
Series: The Caster Chronicles Book 1
Summary (from Goodreads):
There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
This book is told from Ethan Wate’s perspective. Ethan is a mortal boy who begins the story as a popular basketball player living in small town. He dreams of leaving everything he knows behind. Lena Ducannes is ostracized by everyone at every single school she has gone to, until she meets Ethan. But her doomsday is impending. A midnight on her sixteenth birthday, she will be claimed by light or darkness, and her life could change forever.
I started reading Beautiful Creatures this week after I’d bought it on my Nook. I found the beginning of the story to be a bit slow; it can be hard to write a solid debut novel with a fast paced beginning. Since it’s the beginning of a series, there needs to be world building as well as a solid base to set the stage for the book to come. So I can understand why the plot would start off a little slowly in order to introduce everything and everyone.
But when the action and of course, romance began, I was under this book’s spell. I read it in every spare second I had, and it was agonizing when I had to go to class or do homework. I needed to know what happened next!
The beginning aside, the plot was perfectly paced. I was so absorbed in the plot once I got into it, that I didn’t catch that there was a date above each chapter title, until I was about halfway through. That definitely worked to my disadvantage, but I can only blame it on my own denseness and exhaustion.
The characters were each special and all of them really contributed to the story. I felt like I got to know every single one of them and their motives. This is really important for me in really understanding everything that goes on. And the development of these characters was huge, but still believable. The main characters, Ethan and Lena both grew so much by the end; it was incredible.
Throughout the course of the book, I really started to love them both. Ethan, because he’s funny, sweet, loyal, and really brave. He’d gone through the recent loss of his mother, yet hadn't drowned in the grief like his father. I also have a weakness for guys who love reading, and Ethan fit the bill. Lena, on the other hand, was quirky and cool. Despite her powers and quirks, however, she just wanted to be a regular girl. She wanted to go to school dances. But she also doubted herself, fearing that she was going dark and would have to leave her family on her sixteenth birthday forever.
I loved that for once, the female was the strong, powerful paranormal of the couple. In most paranormal YA (there are exceptions, of course), it’s the guy who has the air of mystery, who’s mortality you question.
My favorite character, though, was Marian Ashcroft. She was Ethan’s mother closest friend and is the town librarian. She dressed very fashionably and Ethan describes so beautiful, she could be on the covers of magazines. Part of my adoration is because her name was a reference to The Music Man (Marian the Librarian). She had a tendency to quote famous books, plays, and writers, as well as read to herself aloud. I admired her so much, even though she was not a major character in the book.
My favorite thing about the book, overall, was the symbolism. There was so much, and I absolutely loved it. Everything, even the smallest, most trivial thing, could have hidden meaning. It kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat.
I loved the end, even though I predicted parts of it. There was a major cliffhanger ending, so I can’t wait to read book 2, Beautiful Darkness.
I absolutely fell in love with Beautiful Creatures, and I’d recommend it to anyone.
My rating for Beautiful Creatures is 4/5 stars.