Monday, November 16, 2009
Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Rating: 4 out of 5
Ethan Wate can’t wait to get out of Gatlin, South Carolina, where his family has lived for many generations. Nothing new ever happens in Gatlin, and everyone knows everyone else’s business…until the mysterious and beautiful Lena Duchannes arrives in town. Immediately, people dislike Lena, and rumors fly: she’s the niece of the town recluse, Macon Ravenwood, and strange things seem to happen wherever she goes.
However, Ethan feels a powerful connection to Lena, for she has appeared in his dreams for months, as a girl he never manages to save. No matter how much the town shuns him for trying to get to know her, and no matter how much she resists him, Ethan is determined to get to know Lena and to find out what his dream means…secrets, dangers, and all.
BEAUTIFUL CREATURES seems poised to be the next big thing in YA literature. It’s got all the right elements: eclectic characters, villains, magic, and true love. It’s almost 600 pages long, but you’ll be unable to put it down, even during the slower and more confusing moments.
The story of Ethan and Lena is primarily a romance, one that will appeal to YA romance buffs who appreciate Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight and Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver. This means that at times their romance can feel a little unbelievable in its intensity and all-encompassing-ness. However, that the story is told from Ethan’s point of view makes it wonderfully sweet, a romance to swoon over. Ethan is an accessible protagonist whose complex feelings of alienation, desire for hometown escape, and doomed love for an unaccepted girl makes him heartachingly real and desirable in readers’ eyes. Ethan Wate will make all bad YA boys ashamed of their rebelliousness, and that’s saying something.
I very much enjoyed the way in which the paranormal element was treated in BEAUTIFUL CREATURES. I had no idea that that was what BC was going to be about, and so in the interest of not spoiling your reading experience, I’m just going to say that. I loved its slow but satisfying buildup.
One might mistakenly expect that a 600-page YA book would be tedious and slow-moving, but BEAUTIFUL CREATURES just might prove that long YA books are the best kind. The story moves along at a delicious and deliberate pace, slowly building atmosphere and making you beg to have your growing list of questions answered. Occasionally some scenes and conversations between characters may seem a bit too drawn out or unnecessary, but overall the book is as easy to devour as a cool glass of iced tea on a hot summer day.
Overall, you won’t regret reading BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, no matter what kind of reader you are. From the paranormal aspect, to the romance, to the rich Southern atmosphere, this book will be sure to draw you in. Don’t miss out on the book that is worthy of all the hype it’s getting!
Stephenie Meyer (Twilight)
Maggie Stiefvater (Shiver)
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
Cover discussion: 3 out of 5 - Mysterious and romantic... just like the story itself!
Little, Brown / Dec. 2009 (but available now!) / Hardcover / $17.99
Thank you, Margie, Kami, and Little, Brown for giving me the opportunity to review this book!