Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Beautiful creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Welcome to Gatlin, South Carolina - a quiet little town where everyone knows everyone, and everyone knows everything.  It is a place that Ethan Wate can't wait to leave, a place where nothing really happens, and where everyone is the same people you went to kindergarten with, you went to elementary school with, and now you go to high school with.  That all changes when Lena Duchannes comes to town - she has the double sin of being new to town, and of being the niece of Old Man Ravenwood, the man no one has seen in town since before Ethan was born.
Suddenly, things are not quiet and peaceful in the sleepy little town, suddenly the popular girls have their claws out and the mothers are talking up a storm to try and drive Lena out of the high school and out of the lives of their children.  Lena is different, and even though she has made it clear she isn't interested, Ethan seems drawn to her - but that could have something to do with the dreams, dreams about Lena that he was having before he ever saw her. 
As they grow closer, Ethan learns the truth about Lena and why she is in Gatlin - Lena is a Caster, and in her family they are either Chosen for the Light or the Dark when they turn 16, a birthday that is looming closer with every day.  As Lena struggles with the idea that she might turn Dark, Ethan and Lena discover another mystery, one that has them at odds with the people who want to protect them.  There are dark undercurrents in Gatlin, undercurrents and secrets that could save Lena - or destroy her.
Beautiful creatures is the latest teen novel to be turned into a movie, so I decided to try it and see if it was as bad as Twilight - and the answer was a surprising no.  I know lots of people adore Twilight and the movie franchise that grew from it, but I found them shallow and uninteresting, lacking the depth of plot, mythology, and character development that keeps you hooked from start to finish.  At first it felt like Beautiful creatures might have been the same, but after a few pages I was hooked on the story and the characters.  There are times when the characters seem to become a little flat and angsty. but the story keeps driving forward and provides an explanation of why they are that way.
This was a pleasant surprise, especially as the novel is over 550 pages which is a huge time commitment to read.  I polished it off in an afternoon, which is just as well as some of the plot twists and turns would have driven me nuts if I had had to put the book down and pick it up the next day.  To talk about the plot too mush ruins some of the surprises, which is why this review is a little uninspired - but this was a absorbing read, and makes me want to see the movie to see how they translated the action, drama, and mystery to the big screen.  This is a book filled with rich and descriptive language which provides the story with amazing depth without dragging it down with too much "weight".
If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

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