Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (December 1st 2009—Little Brown)
Grade: 4 stars out of 5
Summary: “There were no surprises in Gatlin County We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere. At least, that’s what I thought. Turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong. There was a curse. There was a girl. And in the end, there was a grave.
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.”
Review: Beautiful Creatures was a 600 page book worth of intricate detail, mesmerizing scenes, and diabolical…mothers?
The connection between Lena and Ethan started off rocky with just a dream that held them together. I was hesitant of how I should understand their love when the only thing they had was fragmented scenes of a dream where they could barely recognized each other’s faces. The foundation was shaky at best and no amount of her being “different” could explain why these two were so perfect for each other. On one hand I was glad that the authors gave the two 600 pages to spark the sizzle to each other—I do not think that I would believe the relationship of anything less. It blossomed to something tangibly sweet where they both leaned on one another’s shoulder a bit.
The Caster detail was extensive but sometimes dragging. I enjoyed the various chapters especially ones that recounted the past and filled in the many gaps. The scenes of the past were most attentive to conjoining with the present. It gave small hints to the larger picture so the readers can understand what had happened, the reasons, as well as retelling a tragic love story—a story within a story.
The diverse powers that the authors cultivated were fun to imagine. I normally never have a solid image of a character in mind, rather their personality and essence but the authors made it possible to contour the planes of the faces to what I believe the appearances are. I can picture a different of faces for each different power—the strong jawed face of Macon, the sharp, intelligent face of Reece and the delicate face of Lena. Each power can aid the reader in recreating the person making them a living breathing person.
The ending was split to the good and the not so good. I had trouble keeping up with the chapters and the creditability of it. Where had Amma come from? How do the Greats have the power to control time and space? Why is everything in italics? Is it a conversation in their minds? Can they somehow move objects while everyone else is frozen? What are the perimeters of how far the Greats can freeze? And the poem at the end gives a hint of sequel, perhaps? One can only hope. The good side of it was that it was not all complete happy ending that I’ve come accustomed to. A twist here and there in a story is always nice.
One of the things that I would like a little more clarification was Ethan’s mother. What types of magic does she possess? Was she a Caster librarian?
Overall: A 600 page book of awesomeness! Could have done without so many details though.
It simmers in the light! How cool is that!?