Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Beautiful Creatures.

Title/Author: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl.

Genre: YA/Supernatural.

Publisher: Little Brown and Co.

Source: Purchased.

Favorite character: Ethan Wate.

Favorite quote: “You are such beautiful creatures.” ~Macon Ravenwood.

All in all: Lovely & exciting.

Synopsis: 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.

Please note: A little spoilery.

My Thoughts: I waited a long time to read this book but it was well worth it. Maybe it was the size that daunted me, but once I started reading it felt like the pages went by very fast. The writing is exquisite.  Very rich and full of detail.  The mysterious atmosphere so palpable I could feel it. I loved the style of the story from Ethan’s voice to the way the chapters ended, with a flair of mystery or longing.

The plot is intricate (at least to me). It isn’t hard to follow, but I just can’t imagine making this stuff up and creating the threads and secrets that led to the culmination. There was surprise after surprise and mystery after mystery to keep the action going and the story moving. There isn’t too much in this book that I could predict, which I appreciate.

Ethan is my favorite character. He is honest and sweet. He also took responsibility for himself. His revelation of exactly why he was drawn to Lena is heartfelt: “It was that she made me realize how much I was just like the rest of them, even if I pretended I wasn’t.” Also, he ‘fessed up to the fact that while he was never a bully, he always watched and never did anything to stop the cruel behavior until Lena came along. I also love his vulnerability regarding his mother who passed away and his father, who he seems to be losing to depression.

The cast of characters is great; mean classmates, overbearing parents, wacky relatives, loyal friends and family, a protective uncle and housekeeper and a loyal dog.  They each have a role to play and are important to the overall plot.

I liked the contrasts between Ethan and Lena, but for all their differences, they make a perfect couple and I could feel that. This is one of the best romances I have read in a story. I love the sweetness of their relationship and the need. I love that it wasn’t over the top mushy. I love how they approach going to the dance, the issue of them being a couple and finally how they admit their deep feelings for each other. I’m totally rooting for them!

The only thing that surprised me was how prevalent magic was in this book. It’s like Harry Potter where another world exists within the real world. At times it did feel over the top but I don’t want to give the impression that I didn’t love it because I did. I think I just didn’t expect it so when it came it was kind of jarring to me. (Actually, I found a lot of similarities between this book and HP, and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all, but that’s a post for another day.)

I also like the theme of fate and choice in this book. “Nobody can decide what happens to you except you.” Ethan said. But even he had doubts at times. This is a very interesting plot thread in the story and I really couldn't tell if fate or choice would win.

I was satisfied with the ending.  The main story completes itself, a few mysteries are solved, but there is plenty left to explore in the sequels and I'm sure even more surprises will be revealed.

There is a lot to grasp in this story and a lot to talk about.  I think it would make a great read for a discussion group or book club.  If you haven't gotten to this yet, I would recommend you try to fit it into your reading schedule.


~Sara @ Just Another Story said...

I loved this book. I half listened to the audio book and the song-16 moons- was hella creepy. I agree with you about the romance, it wasn't over the top and cheesey. Macon was my favourite character, I really liked him. Great review Pam!

Anonymous said...

Seriously, this is one of my all-time favorite YA books. I just adore it. I'm almost finished with the second book, and it doesn't disappoint either!

Melissas Eclectic Bookshelf said...

I'm just venturing into the YA world...but I think I should add this to my TBR list!

♥ Melissa @ Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

Savannah said...

YAY! Glad you liked this series! I adore Ethan! I think he is a great guy! Loved the review!

Anonymous said...

I liked this book too, but I still haven't read the sequel. The page count intimidated me too. You're right the theme of fate or choice is interesting. That 16 moons song is creepy!

Small Review said...

This is a very convincing review. I wasn't sure if I'd be bored with these books (don't know why I thought that, maybe the size?) but your review makes it sound complex and engaging.

Midnyte Reader said...

@Sara-I would love to hear that song!

@Jessi-I'm glad the 2nd book is good.

@Melissa-You should definitely dive into YA! I read both.

@Savvy-Yes, I adore Ethan too. He is definitely a guy I would fall for. (Um, if I was younger.)

@The reading date-I'm looking forward to the sequel. I hope I get to it soon.

@Small Review-I know what you mean about not being sure about hear so much, but you're just not convinced. I guess the only way to find out is to try them.

Jenny said...

I agree, there's definitely a lot to talk about with this one and so many little subtle intricacies that would make it perfect for a book club read. I think this is one of those where you can read it again and again and learn something new each time:)

Missie, The Unread Reader said...

Yes, the size of the books is daunting, but then again, it only gives you more awesomeness to read through.

I'm not convinced that Lena is the perfect match for Ethan, but he was certainly looking for something different and he found it in her.

Brilliant review. I don't remember feeling that the magic was over the top at all, but then again, I haven't read the HP books or many books with witches so I guess I just thought it was the right amount.

Unknown said...

Nice review! I haven't read this book, but based on what you've said, it sounds like a book that I would love. I love the magical aspect. I'm always on the lookout for something new. Thanks!

Smash Attack Ash said...

One of the best romances? Wow. I still haven't read it. It stares at me from it's spot on the bookshelf, weeping for attention. lol. Thanks for the great review. It has reinvigorated my interest!

Natalie said...

I agree, the writing was fantastic! I also really enjoyed the setting. It was so beautifully described and well developed. I can't wait until I get a chance to read Beautiful Darkness!

Midnyte Reader said...

@Jenny-Yes, I agree with you about the numerous intricacies in the story. There is a lot going on.

@Missie-I always love your differing opinions! But we do agree that the book is great!

@Andrea-I waited a long time to read it, but I'm glad I did.

@Smash-I would love to hear your opinion about the book if you read it. I personally loved the romance, but maybe others wouldn't be as impressed.

@Natalie-I agree with you about the setting. They really made you feel like you were there in Gatlin and all the magical settings.

Karen said...

I'm not sure why but I keep avoiding this one. I've read so many YA lately that sounds promising but then disappoints me. I have to say you've given a very persuasive argument for me to read it in your review. said...
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