Book Review: Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures CoverBook: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl|Narrated by Kevin Collins

Published December 2009|Published by Hachette Audiobooks

Audio Book|Borrowed from the library|Run time: 17 hours, 33 minutes

Series: Caster Chronicles #1

Genre: YA: Paranormal

Goodreads|Barnes And Noble|Amazon|Kami Garcia’s Website|Margaret Stohl’s Website|Series Website

Summary: 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….

OMG!

So…I TOTALLY loved Beautiful Creatures.  Like, acting like an idiot fangirl, jumping up and down squeeing…that is how much I loved Beautiful Creatures.  I’ve been thinking about reading for a while, so when I saw the movie was coming out I knew reading it as soon as I could get it would be a good idea.  And I’m definitely glad I saw the movie first, because otherwise…I would probably have complained a lot more had I read the book first.

I LOVED that it was narrated by Ethan.  One, he loves to read.  Two, he has a map of the places he wants to visit and adds to it whenever he comes across a place in a book he reads.  And three, he’s all snarky, and I love snark!

Actually, there’s four- I couldn’t help but swoon!  Seriously, I think he’s now one of my new fictional boyfriends!

Anyway, I loved how drawn he was to Lena, and how they have that whole forbidden romance/star-crossed lovers thing going on.  One great thing about their relationship is that he’s convinced she’s not going dark and how she tries to pull away because she doesn’t want him to get hurt when she’s claimed but he won’t let her because he cares about her and wants to protect her.  I also loved Lena and how important it was for her to feel like a normal kid, even though she’s a caster and has a lot going on in her life.

I want to talk about Gatlin for a minute.  South Carolina- especially a small town where there’s a lot of history- is such a great setting for something paranormal.  Something about the south and forbidden romance and magic and good vs evil…it just all works so well.  There is a part of me that thought New Orleans would be a FANTASTIC setting for this book, but given the connection to the civil war, South Carolina makes perfect sense.

I loved the connection between Lena and Ethan and their ancestors.  You see history repeat itself and how differently things turned out.  It just made it a lot more interesting seeing them work everything out and having to learn things on their own, with very little help.  One of the great things about them living in a small town is how Ethan would ask his great-aunts about their family tree and Macon Ravenwood and the history of the town as a way to figure out what was going on.

And the other characters!  I kind of knew what to expect villain-wise (having seen the movie) but I was surprised to learn that one of the characters in the movie was actually two in the book.  So, I really like that Marion- head librarian of the public library and the best friend of Ethan’s mom- was the librarian of the caster library.  I like that someone who neutral with no magical abilities is the keeper of the books.  I like that she doesn’t get involved, but still helps when asked.  At the same time, though, I liked that Amma- a seer who checks up on Ethan- was the Caster librarian in the movie, and it’s because of her connection to the magical world.

The characters are all really different but I don’t think I could pick a favorite.  There was a moment when I was all worried about Boo Radley possibly dying- thankfully, he recovered…and even though he’s just in the background, keeping an eye on things, he’s a great character.  Besides, who would suspect a dog as being Macon’s eyes and ears in town?

Lena’s family is really intriguing, and I want to see more of them!  I’m intrigued that they all have different abilities and the whole magical world Stohl and Garcia created.  I liked that we learned things as Ethan learned them, which is another reason why I’m glad we had Ethan as a narrator.

I loved listening to it, and Kevin Collins did a great job narrating.  I was pleasantly surprised by the part narrated by Lena, and how they actually got a female to narrate that part of the book.

Final Thoughts:

I absolutely loved Beautiful Creatures and can’t wait to read Beautiful Darkness.  There are so many interesting things about the magical world in this book, and I know we’ve only scratched the surface with it.  I love the relationship that Lena and Ethan have, and how his feelings for her give her strength and power.  Beautiful Creatures gets 5 stars!

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