Publisher: Little Brown
Release Date: December 1st 2009
Series: Caster Chronicles #1
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance
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.
Hello, all. Welcome to my dissertation on the young adult novel titled Beautiful Creatures. (Not really, but it felt like I was writing one because of how long this is) I don’t think I’ve ever had so many mixed feelings about a book before. What better rating to give a book that you are confused about than the in-between, non-committal three stars?
Since everyone pretty much knows what BEAUTIFUL CREATURES is all about by now, I’ll save you the long explanation and back-story and get straight to my opinion. I made my thoughts into three basic lists, so you don’t have to read the whole thing. I’m just so thoughtful like that. You’re welcome.
Concept of Witchcraft
Macon Ravenwood and Boo Radley
Male Lead (Yes, I know what I did there)
Gatlin the town cult
Death of favorite characters
Two authors, different goals
Simple ways this could have been better:
One author (whoever was less focused on the romance aspect)
Getting rid of Ethan
Getting rid of the romance altogether
Not killing off my favorite character
The Male Lead A.K.A Ethan Wate
I can really appreciate it when an author, in this case-two female authors-go out of the norm and decide to write a YA novel through the male’s point of view. This can change the story so drastically, and in many cases, Ethan’s POV was a strong Pro in BEAUTIFUL CREATURES. I was imagining how the story might have changed if it was in Lena’s POV instead, and realized it would not have been as enjoyable.
The negative side of this is that I didn’t care for Ethan much at all. He has some crap-butt friends in the beginning, which only makes me wonder what kind of a person he really is. Sure, as soon as he meets Lena he “changes,” but is that really realistic? I don’t really know of a guy like that who would dump all of his friends, turn against them, and become a social pariah for a girl he met two days ago.
Also, Ethan takes everything in stride, rarely questioning anything or thinking something was a little off. Communicating through thought? No problem. Lena’s house changing every time he does in? Psh. Becoming a dragon? Well that doesn’t happen, but if it did, I guarantee Ethan wouldn’t even blink an eye.
Magic and the whole concept of Casters
Fantastic. Loved these parts. You’re surprised, right? I really enjoyed learning about Caster history and Lena’s family. There are so many different kinds of magic and creatures and I found them all so amazing and really wish a bigger part of the story had focused more on the magic aspects rather than the romance. Almost everyone in Lena’s family has a different power, and I liked how the authors took time to really come up with each individual’s abilities and names.
I love reading about relationships. Something that actually ties with romance in my book is familial relationships. So while I disliked the romance in BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, I loved experiencing the connections between Ethan and Amma, and Lena and her family. Especially Lena and Macon, they were my favorite duo. These relationships seemed deeper and more genuine than Ethan and Lena’s teenage insta-love. I hated their interactions with each other.
A negative to the family aspect is Ethan’s dad, who I really wish wasn’t in the story at all. He doesn’t add anything, and if the authors were trying to keep at least one parent in Ethan’s life they should have just killed off his dad and left him with Amma. I would much rather prefer Ethan being an orphan than someone with a father attached solely by word instead of actuality.
Gatlin the Cult
Seriously? Seriously? You are telling me that the entire town conspires against a fifteen year old girl simply because she isn’t from around here? You are telling me everyone blames her for all the strange things that happen around the town? A fifteen year old girl no one really knows that everyone just has insta-hate for? A town meeting is called where Lena is displayed in front of the entire town and the whole thing is symbolic of the Salem Witch Trials? Just to expel her from school? In what case is this even remotely plausible or realistic? These people are crazy, and the authors are even more so if they thought this could happen and readers would think it was conceivable. Sheer ridiculousness.
Two authors, different goals
I can not think of a better way to word this than Karen did on Goodreads:
one lady said “i want to write a paranormal romance!” the other lady said “i want to write a civil war-era southern love story. well, let’s smooosh them together! it is a great idea!!”
Pick one and focus on it, strengthen just that one side of the plot rather than have two weak ones. Honestly, if you were to taken Ethan or the romance out of this book, I really think this could have been around four stars instead of the 2.5 I am rating it.
I will be reading the sequel, because I own it.
Finally, if you disagree with me, that’s cool. I respect your opinion, so let me have mine.