TITLE: Beautiful Darkness
SERIES: Caster Chronicles #1
AUTHOR: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
PUBLICATION DATE: December 1, 2009
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown, And Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc
PAGES: 563 pages
RATING: 4 stars
Beautiful Creatures follows Ethan Wate around his small southern town. Tired of being in a place where nothing unexpected ever happens, he can’t wait to graduate and go to college far far away. Then Lena Duchannes moves to town and everything he thinks he knows is suddenly not so accurate anymore. Lena is a witch, but they prefer the term Caster. Apparently in her family, on your sixteenth birthday, you and your powers are Claimed for either the light or the dark and you get no say in the matter. We follow Ethan and Lena on their fight to either allow Lena to choose her side at her claiming or to make sure she goes Light.
I really wanted to give this book 5 stars. I really enjoyed it. It’s one of those books that sucks you in and you spend every spare second you get digging it out of your bag so you can read just a tinsy bit more. I can’t give it 5 stars though because of a few small problems. The biggest one being the cliffhanger. I know I haven’t been deducting for that lately, but considering this book is almost 600 pages, it had ample time to wrap the story up properly. I’m not entire sure it really counts as a cliffhanger, but it just didn’t feel like the story ended properly and that really irritates me. The other reason is my favorite character died. I won’t tell you who, but it upset me so much. I knew that there would probably be a casualty or two, but I wasn’t expecting this person to be one of them.
What did I like? I really liked Ethan. Southern gentleman all the way, but without the accent, I’m in heaven. I was pleasantly shocked when I started reading and realized that the novel is told entirely through his perspective. I was expecting to get Lena (which you do get a tinsy bit from her at the end) and I was wrong. Ethan’s perspective is entirely believable. He is the only male character I have ever read that really felt male despite the lack of suggestive thoughts and naughty language. Lena, well, I can’t make my mind up about her. One minute I’m sympathetic because of all the shit she is going through, but that doesn’t stop me from being enraged when she fucking pulls away from Ethan. Hello? There is a point where one of your relatives states that no caster could come between the two of you and that somehow he protects you, yet you still think it’s too dangerous? Come on, smarty pants, you can do better than that. Luckily, that bit doesn’t last long, but it still made me want to smack her.
I loved almost all of the characters in this story, from Ethan to Link to Amma to Macon, even Ridley. They all make the story that much better for being there. And who can forget the infamous Boo Radley! No, not the character from How To Kill A Mockingbird, but a dog named after that character. I’m a sucker for a cute pooch and this mutt isn’t above that.
The writing is beautiful and the mystery of it all really drew me. It was a bit longer than I would have liked, but it was still amazing. I loved that unlike most witch novels, everything isn’t explained to us in the very beginning with a hard to process chunk of information, instead you get only the bits and pieces Lena is willing to allow Ethan to see. Which is not the entire truth by any means. Even after 560 pages, there is still a great deal about L and her world that we don’t understand.
After reading this, I’m even more excited for the movie. Though, as always, I’ve very apprehensive of what they will change and how I’ll take the changes. I can already see that some things they got right and some not. Jeremy Irons playing Macon is, I think, absolutely perfect. The same goes for Viola Davis playing Amma. The actor they chose for Ethan, well I’m not happy about it yet. All I can say definitively is that he isn’t what I pictured and he isn’t tall enough. I’m trying to hold out on final judgment until I see the film and his acting skill because who knows, he may amaze me. Same goes for Lena. She is closer to what I pictured, though with the wrong hair and eye color, I’m holding out hope that they will all exceed my expectations.