Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)
By: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
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.
summary from book
My Rating: 3.5/5
Beautiful Creatures is one of those books with a large amount of hype surrounding it. It falls into the paranormal/romance sub-genre yet with one minor difference- the narrator is male. This seems like such a simple difference but in the end, for me at least, it mattered a great deal. In general I love books told through a male's point of view and I especially loved what the narrator switch in this novel provided and that is a fresh and new take on the familiar.
Plot wise, Beautiful Creatures is brimming. All of the components are present that make for an entertaining read. There's romance, mystery, suspense, secrets, plot twists and much more. You name it, this book has it. The pacing is well maintained and drawn out. This book by many standards is considered to be quite lengthy (563 pages) yet there really was never a dull moment. I'd never read a book with this particular paranormal element and so I was very interested to learn more and to discover what was lurking in each chapter.
Setting, I feel, is a very large and important part of this book. Gatlin County is a small southern town where everyone knows everyone and so on. I think this added a lot to the story not to mention it made it different as well. I'd never read a paranormal YA novel that took place in such a setting and so I was intrigued and interested by it. Had Beautiful Creatures been set in a large city, this book would just have not been the same. The whole small town aspect really provided this novel with a different feel.
I was pleased with the characters in this novel. As I mentioned above, in the first paragraph, I really took to Ethan and his voice. He is very mature and sensible, easy to relate to and so on. I liked Lena as well, probably not as much as Ethan but she was intriguing and the authors did a good job of giving the reader a sense of who she was by giving her a past not to mention a collection of authentic family members. One of the major aspects that I appreciated about this novel is that the story didn't just revolve around Ethan and Lena and their search for answers. There were mentions of the past, things that happened before we meet the characters that added to their overall depth. I also liked the emphasis on family, especially where Ethan was concerned. His mother has passed away and unlike other paranormal books where this is mentioned is passing, Ethan actually dwells upon this fact a handful of time throughout the novel which I felt to be authentic and realistic. Contemporary novels tend to be the ones that dwell and delve into the loss of a loved one in great detail while other sub-genres such as this one on many occasions tend to mention it only in passing. In actuality, losing a loved one plays a huge part in a person's life and I liked how that was represented in more detail with this novel.
I cannot end this review without mentioning the wonderfully colourful supporting cast of characters. There were a large array of them, too many to name but I felt they contributed a lot to this novel, especially humor.
Overall: People love this book and I can see why. There is a lot in Beautiful Creatures, enough to satisfy a large range of readers. Naturally, if you love paranormal/romance YA then I very much recommend this one to you!