Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia

Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia
Release Date – December 1, 2009
Publisher Website - Little Brown and Company
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 563 pages
My Rating- 4/5

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
Southern Gothic mixes with paranormal in this magical tale of witches, curses and small towns. A slow, unraveling story that allows the characters to breathe.

The start of this novel starts off a little slow. A gradual build up leads to an intense finale. The pacing of the novel felt a little off as a result. I felt it could have easily been shortened and still told the same story. The plot points are well planned out and flow rather nicely, it’s just getting to each moment that drags on a little too long.

The Caster mythology and back story was well developed, and the weaving of the past with the present was nicely done. I found myself getting irritated, however, that nobody would talk to each other. Everyone is keeping secrets and it’s always for someone else’s ‘own good’. I loved the varying strengths and abilities of the Casters as it made for some interesting dynamics between the characters.

I haven’t read many novels with male narrators, so was pleasantly surprised to see this was from Ethan’s point of view, not Lena’s. Ethan is quite soft spoken, and seems like your every day, average teenager living in a small town. His aching desire for something more resonated with me. His need to escape his town and what he sees as his futures if he stays, made him feel different from everyone else.

Lena was surprising. From her clunky necklace, to her off beat fashion sense, she felt like a different kind of protagonist. She is dealing with something monumental, and I think her melt down is well earned. To feel like you don’t have a choice in your own future would be pretty devastating, and waiting for it to happen would be even worse. The things you see coming and feel powerless to change are the most maddening.

The romance between Lena and Ethan was rather sweet. I like that while there is an instant connection, the build up between them is anything but rushed. The relationship, with awkward ‘will you be my girlfriend’ talk and all, felt authentically real, and natural.

The secondary characters are my favourite. The are the ones that felt “larger than life” and stood out for me. Ridley with her bad girl ways and lollipop made for an intriguing antagonist for Lena. A character that fully embraces her sex appeal and flaunts it. Her motivations and actions are complex which made her character I wanted to know more about. I also loved Lena’s Uncle Macon Ravenwood. An intelligent, interesting character, who immediately draws your interest from the moment he enters the story. His love for Lena, and what he was willing to sacrifice for her, made me love him even more.

Magic, romance, and some unpredictable plot twists made this a fun read. While I wished it had been tightened up a bit, it’s a wonderful start to a different kind of witch story.


  1. Great review! I've heard good things about this story, and now I really want to read it :)


  2. I think all of the books in the Caster Chronicles start pretty slowly. It's like, the first half is just slow-moving and kind of dull and then the second half is like, SAY WHAT?! And you just have to pick up the next one. It's aggravating, but hey I still enjoy them :P Great review!

    Literary Exploration

  3. I am so glad you read the book. There is a sequal to it called Beautiful Darkness which is definitely filled with surprises.



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