Monday, August 9, 2010

Book Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Review: Beautiful Creatures
Series: Caster Chronicles – Book 1
Author: Kami Garcia; Margaret Stohl
No of Pages: 563
Release Date: 1 December 2009

In Ethan Wate’s hometown there lies the darkest of secrets...

There is a girl.
Slowly, she pulled the hood from her eyes, black hair.
Lena Duchannes.

There is a curse.
On the Sixteenth Moon, of 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.

My Thoughts:

Five hundred and sixty three pages later and I still don’t know what is going on.

Beautiful Creatures follows the story of Ethan Wate a boy living in a small town called Gatlin. He meets a girl at school and is in a way attracted to her. He feels he should help her because she has been shunned by the entire town for being the niece of Macon Ravenwood, a decidedly crazy shut in who hasn’t been seen in years.

One afternoon whilst spending time with Lena, Ethan finds a locket near her house. When they both touch it something weird happens and they are shown a memory from a different time. Ethan and Lena must figure out what the locket is trying to tell them before Lena’s sixteenth birthday.

That little narration is about as much as I can discern from reading Beautiful Creatures. It took three hundred pages for us to be told that Lena is a Caster (witch) and for the entire novel we were walking up and down Gatlin’s eight streets skipping school and playing with lockets they were told to bury.

Ethan’s narration is boring. How can a book so long contain so little? If you chop out the first four hundred pages I would have loved it because then Lena’s family comes to town, her completely dysfunctional half crazy, half evil family. Only then does anything happen and even that doesn’t really add too much to furthering the plot.

It has honestly taken me so long to write this review just because I am wondering what to say about Beautiful Creatures at all.

Gatlin is a backwards country town full of intolerable people unwilling to change or even budge in their views. It reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird. Beautiful Creatures was an updated version of TKAM with a paranormal aspect thrown in.

Lena is a moody drama queen. She’ll lose her temper and blow up a window and then go on for days about how she thinks she is going to go Dark (evil). And yet I still can’t get a clear picture of what she looks like in my head, because throwing tantrums and running off was all she ever did.

I couldn’t see how Lena and Ethan developed a “deep, powerful love” it just wasn’t written in there. He chased her around for most of the book, annoyed her uncle by letting himself into their house uninvited and caused more trouble than what was needed by not listen to Amma his caretaker and getting rid of the weird obviously evil locket that kept showing him clips from the past.

Beautiful Creatures has been raved about constantly but I am seriously finding it hard to see the attraction. Nearly 600 pages and nothing has been answered, and I am not keen to find out.

Also in this series:
Beautiful Darkness


D Swizzle said...

i felt the exact same way. the entire thing is just like every other moody-covered ya out there. and its like LOST, where you come out with more questions then answers. ugh.

Nomes said...


I havent read it b/c it doesnt particularly look like my kind of thing.

but it is pretty L O N G

And youre right, lots of people rave about this book. lately I've read a couple of books that have been getting 5 star reviews from everyone and i'm definitely feeling out of the loop... i sometimes wonder if i'm reading the same book, haha.

Dazzling Mage said...

I've reached that same conclusion 150 pages in, and decided to give it up early, because then I would really hate the reading experience. It's too bad that nothing is solved either.

The To Kill A Mockingbird theme was nice, but I loved that book, and it seemed wasted here. =/

Ku said...

This is a very honest review. I have to agree with you about Lena, She's not a likable character. She's kinda annoying indeed.
But afterall I quite like this book. I like the history behind the whole family, and the relationship between the caster family and the mortal.
Great review! Thanks!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

I appreciate you giving an honest review. It's easy to just sugar coat things, but you were honest and it wasn't brutal. Everyone can't love every book and it's always good to read both the good and the bad.

Alessandra @Out of the Blue said...

I sort of understand why you didn't like this much. It's so long-winded. It gives you the feeling that they could've cut at least 150 pages from the book and the result would've been better. What about Ethan, always chasing Lena around, entering her house uninvited, and keeping lockets he was supposed to bury? I, too, loved Lena's dysfunctional family, they were fun to read. And also Ethan's old great-aunts. The three old ladies, crazy as they might be, were my favourite characters. So hilarious. So natural: there really are elderly ladies like that, lol... I've met a few myself :D

Sakura said...

Oh my gosh! Finally! Someone who does not like this book! I didn't like it at all! I didn't like the characters. I thought Ethan was boring. I couldn't feel the love. I was so confused... I wasted my money on that hardcover book and I was so mad after reading it. So not worth it. Thank you for not making me feel like an outcast :D


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