Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl - In Ethan Wate's hometown there lies the darkest of secrets . . .
There is a girl.
Slowly, she pulled the hood from her head. Green eyes, black hair. Lena Duchannes.
There is a curse.
On the Sixteenth Moon, the Sixteenth Year, the Book will take what it's been promised. And no one can stop it.
In the end, there is a grave.
Lena and Ethan become bound together by a deep, powerful love. But Lena is cursed and on her sixteenth birthday, her fate will be decided.
Ethan never even saw it coming. From Amazon UK
After recently seeing the awesome trailer for the movie of Beautiful Creatures, I knew I had to dive straight into the book as soon as I could. I was really hoping to love it, but now, I feel like maybe I could have waited.
Ethan Wate lives in Gatlin, a small Southern town living a small town life he can't wait to escape. Nothing new happens, and the people of Gatlin are a against anyone new or different. They are a snobbish and narrow-minded people. So it doesn't bode well for her when Lena Duchannes turns up in town, the niece of Macon Ravenwood, the town shut-in. Despite being related to the town's Crazy, Ethan can't keep away from her, no matter what the town thinks of him for doing so. Lena isn't an ordinary girl, though. Around her, windows spontaneously break, rain clouds release a torrent, and she's followed around by a wolf-like dog. Lena is a Caster, a person of power, and her sixteenth birthday is looming - a birthday that on which a Caster's fate is decided.
Beautiful Creatures is exciting, mysterious, intriguing, and slightly creepy! The plot itself is brilliant, with the mythology of the Casters and the mystery of the curse is what keeps you turning the pages. There are a number of highly exciting, adrenaline rushing action scenes. There are visions and secrets, and a history that the people of Gatlin would have a heart attack over, and enough questions that you're gripped. Well, most of the time. In my opinion, the book is far too long. Too often, it feels like nothing is happening between all the action. The same thoughts and questions are repeated, with few, small answers if any. It starts to drag. To be honest wit you, there were a few times when I actually felt quite bored.
There are good points! There are a huge cast of secondary characters that save this book in it's quiet moments. The Sisters, Ethan's great aunts - Prudence, Mercy and Grace - are all amazing! Seriously old, Southern ladies who cannot stop bickering, but with memories as good as they are old. They provide a lot of the humour in the story, and you can't help but adore them. The mothers of the school kids, especially Mrs Lincoln, make your blood run cold. They are the book banners and control what their children watch to keep their teens away from all things evil. As awful as they are, they're characters you love to hate.
One of the great things about this book is that, because Ethan has lived in Gatlin his whole life, it seems more real. What I mean by this is that he is constantly thinking of Gatlin as the old Gatlin - the life he had before, with his friends in the basketball team, the people around town, the cheerleaders, the mothers who were all so prejudiced against anyone different, the Gatlin that never changed and always stayed the same, and the new Gatli - the arrival of a new girl causing the discovery of magic, of visions, a history of a town that no-one knew. The two Gatlins don't seem to fit in his head, but they have been the one and the same the whole time, a town full of secrets, and he is constantly thinking about how no-one else knows what's really going on, living their normal, small town lives in a town that's anything but normal. The fact that he is constantly reminded of how normal everyone else thinks Gatlin is, how normal he used to think it is, makes it feel like story that could happen anywhere, any normal place, making it so much more credible than any other urban fantasy I've read. In Beautiful Creatures, it's not all of a sudden all about the New and the After, it also remembers the Old and the Before - it's not forgotten.
Overall, Beautiful Creatures was an ok story, but I think it will make a brilliant movie. I can see why a lot of people would love this book, and I so hope I loved it too, there was just to much angst without anything major in some places. I have the next two novels to read, and I will read them, I just don't feel any real need to rush to pick them up. Please read a few other reviews before deciding not to read Beautiful Creatures. Don't be turned off by my review.
Published: 4th February 2010
Buy on Amazon US
Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's Website