Thursday, February 10, 2011

Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl


Book: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Series or Stand-Alone: Series, Caster Chronicles #1
Pages: 563
Genre: Young Adult / Paranormal Romance
Purchase A Copy: Amazon | Book Depository
Preview: On Google Books
Publication Date: December 1st, 2009
How I Got This Book: Purchased
Description (From Goodreads): 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.


I am going to try and keep this brief because I am sure you all have read countless reviews of this book. I have a bit of a phobia when it comes to extremely popular books because I feel like my expectations won’t stand up to the actual work. There is nothing more disappointing then investing so much time and energy into something you think is going to be fabulous, only to be left questioning the sanity of the rest of the world.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl has been the topic of conversation for quite some time. Fortunately the masses seemed to get things right this time, because this book is truly a work of art.

I was delightful surprised to find that the story is told from Ethan’s point of view. I have to admit, I had to reread the first few pages because I just assumed I was listening to a girl. I just saw that it was a young adult, doomed-love paranormal romance and automatically assumed it would be told from the girl’s perspective. This alone makes Beautiful Creatures a stand out, because it brings something a bit different to the table. 

Ethan and Lena’s relationship also adds a slight twist to the YA + Paranormal Romance formula. For reasons unbeknownst to the characters they can hear each other’s thoughts.  Ethan is a bit more freaked out by this than Lena, because Ethan is a mortal and has always lived in a mortal world. Lena on the other hand is a caster and was raised in a magical world. The fact that these two have this connection quickly brings them together and is a major driving force in the plot. It makes their relationship more believable, because they have a closeness with one another that they can never time with someone else.

All of the characters in book were incredibly unique and intriguing in their own way. My favorite was probably either Ethan’s “Aunt” Marion or his Great Aunts. I am going to lump the Great Aunts together and one entity, because “the sisters” never really separate. The sisters are some of the oldest folks left in town and they are incredibly eccentric and rather batty. They are the crazy old relatives that everyone has and they are full of over the top Southern charm. All of the scenes with these three women are priceless, my favorite being when they take it upon themselves to raise some baby squirrels that were found in a friends attic. Aunt Marion, my other favorite character, was Ethan’s mother’s best friend. She did not grow up in town and certainly has ideas of her own. She is even *gasp a democrat.  Marion is the town librarian and a resident historian and she certainly packs her own brand of quirky-spunk. She is constantly quoting her idols and even tells of the podunk-backwoods crazies in the same fashion.  

As far as the plot goes, the beginning is a bit slow moving and I am sure that bothers some readers. However, the pages are packed with such rich, vibrant writing that builds up the rest of the story. I never felt like this story dragged. At times things went off on a bit of a tangent, but they were always interesting tangents. There were so many plot twists in this story and everything seemed to connect together in the end. However, while you are reading, it feels a bit unfocused.

Despite how much I enjoyed this book, for me, it wasn’t what I would call a page turner.  I cannot put my finger on what exactly stopped me from being completely sucked into the story, but there was something. While Beautiful Creatures was an enchanting read it wasn’t a consuming read for me. I wasn’t sneaking sentences under the table during class, I wasn’t up all night reading, I wasn’t contemplating Lena and Ethan while driving. I enjoyed my time with them, but I wasn’t swept away by them.

I am definitely looking forward to reading the next in the series, Beautiful Darkness to see where Lena and Ethan’s story goes next. Hopefully we will see more from my other favorites, the sisters and Aunt Marion!
 

Favorite Quotes:
"Lena's hair was sticking out in about fifteen directions, and her eyes were all small and puffy from crying. So this was what girls looked like in the morning. I had never seen one, not up close."
"Any book is a Good Book, and wherever they keep the Good Book safe is also the House a the Lord." 
 "You climbed into my window in the middle of the night. So, either your some kind of Vampire or some kind of Perv. Which is it?"
"Mortals. I envy you. You think you can change things. Stop the universe. Undo what was done long before you came along. You are such beautiful creatures."
"The library was home away from home to my mom, and my family. We had spent every Sunday afternoon there since I was a little boy, wandering around the stacks, pulling out every book with a picture of a pirate ship, a knight, a soldier, or an astronaut. My mom used to say, "This is my church, Ethan. This is how we keep the Sabbath holy in our family." 

6 comments:

Readergirl said...

I've awarded you The Stylish Blogger award!
http://readergirlreviewsateenbook.blogspot.com/2011/02/i-got-stylish-blogger-award.html

iLuvReadingTooMuch said...

OMG Loved this book! and Congratulations! You won the One Lovely Blog Award on my book blog! Check it out - http://iliveforreading.blogspot.com/2011/02/confessions-of-readaholic-one-lovely.html

Rabiah @ Confessions of a Readaholic
:D

Aluvss said...

Your review is really good, I really wanna read this book now.

Sarah said...

I didn't really like this one. Actually, I never finished it so I know what you mean about that something that was missing. I'm glad you like it more than me though. :)

Danna (Friendly Reader) said...

I didn't really love this book, but I get the things that you did like about it. I actually haven't finished it yet because it's really slow for me:P Thanks for the review!
-Danna

Kamalika said...

I actually really enjoyed the beginning; I was totally engrossed and toward the end, I wanted to know what happened but the end was just... there were so many loose ends and I know they're writing a sequel but it felt as though they just rushed the ending in order to finish the novel.

Also, the relationship between Ethan and Lena wasn't believable- they're in love, yet they have nothing in common; they never discuss their interests, save for some glib references to literature and Lena's 'poetry'.

It was painfully obvious Ethan's perspective was heavily influenced by female thinking. Teenage boys do not think the way Ethan does and it was awkward and at times, almost embarrassing for the reader as it was so painfully inauthentic.

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