Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
Published by Penguin Books on February 4th 2010
Series: Caster Chronicles #1
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Magic, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, Witches, Young Adult
Length: 563 pages Source: Twitter Books for Trade
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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.
Ethan is in love, but Lena’s counting down her remaining days.
Nothing ever happens in Gatlin. It’s the same sleepy town with the same sleepy people and their Civil War reenactments and cheerleading squads. Nothing happens in Gatlin… until Lena Duchannes moves to town. Suddenly, the weather gets worse than “just” hurricane season and suddenly everyone has their eyes on the mysterious Ravenwood Manor, and Ethan falls in love.
For Lena, the notoriety is the last thing she wants. She just wants to be a normal girl and have friends and go to school. Her birthday draws ever nearer and with it, the dark fate that grips her family. Will she be claimed by Dark or Light? What will her future hold? Her sixteenth birthday will tell her, and she’s terrified.
I liked this book more than I expected.
Beautiful Creatures is a huge tome of a book, but despite that, it was a fun read. It’s been a while since I’ve read anything witchy, so perhaps it was just missing in my life. I typically enjoy witch-based books and magical abilities, and it’s a bit of a nice change after such a long run of science fiction and dystopias. Lena and Ethan are both perfectly likable as main characters, a little cliched but interesting enough.
The side characters were interesting enough to be recognized as well. Figures like Marian, Macon, and Amma stand out best. It’s the villains that were a bit of a disappointment, being neither as horrible nor villainous as advertised.
I liked the ghost story, but there wasn’t enough of it.
The beginning of Beautiful Creatures starts telling the story of Genevieve and Ethan, and in the middle of the book, Genevieve’s ghost makes an appearance. The spectral figure seemed like she would play perfectly into the story, but the author decided to take things in a different direction and I felt like all the time spent on the history ended up being wasted. I believe the authors used it to illustrate the alignments, but I feel like there was a deeper potential there I wanted to see explored.
All in all, I find it really frustrating when a love story overtakes a deeper plot. Beautiful Creatures is no exception to that rule.
Good, but not great.
This doesn’t go on my all time favorites list, but I’ll be reading the sequel. I think the story has some potential and I’m interested to see where it goes. That said, I’m not so invested that I will keep reading if book two just ends up being more of the same. I would like to see more into the Caster’s world and their abilities, and less about Gatlin High and Lena and Ethan’s love story.