Book Review of Beautiful Creatures

BeautifulCreaturesI liked Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl well enough. My friend introduced Beautiful Creatures to me as a Southern Gothic type of book. While Southern Gothic has never been my go to genre, I figured I’d give the book a try. I also thought that there are 4 books in the series so if I love it, there are a guaranteed 3 other books for me to read.

A few interesting points, for me, are the paranormal aspects that are fairly unique (the idea of Casters and Incubuses instead of witches and vampires) and the family history that in found throughout. However, the long family history dating back to the Civil War, I argue, is pretty essential for a book that takes place in Gatlin, SC.

This book is a fairly quick read despite being over 300 pages, but at the same time it seemed to drag on and on in places. I felt like the book should have been more suspenseful, yet I found myself reading comfortably and not on the edge of my seat, even when the characters were in danger. I guess knowing there are 4 books kept me from thinking anyone was dying in the first book, but someone does. Now, there are some pretty intense moments that had me glued to the pages, but typically there was dues ex machina moment that cooled everything down, a bit disappointing at times.

The characters also seemed a bit flat at times, particularly Ethan. Ethan is the voice of the book, yet he feels so feminine and unreal. The authors constantly interject these paragraphs of Ethan just wanting to hold Lena and the constantly write that he “leans down to find her mouth” and blah, blah, blah. It’s over done and so fake, unrealistic. Ethan seems to have been created to be the average female teenager’s ideal boyfriend (not how teen boys really are at all) which makes him very uninteresting. Ethan’s character is more unbelievable than the idea of a Caster world, and that’s saying something.

The setting of the book is in Gatlin, SC, the stereo typical Southern town where everyone goes to church on Sundays, takes casseroles to people who have lost a loved one, can trace their ancestors back to the Civil War, DAR members reign supreme, God knows you better participate in the Southern Peach Pageant at the county fair if you’re a girl, and if you are different the town will gossip about you, not that they won’t gossip no matter what anyway. Now, I would argue this part can be pretty realistic, but I’ve had some hardcore small town Southerners try to tell me just how wrong I am…..

Beautiful Creatures is a good story and for the most part a good read. I understand how important the love story between Lena and Ethan is to the plot, however, it just felt too fake and idealistic to be believable, which for me is a pretty important part of the plot. It was almost as if the authors were trying to copy Twilight in the romantic area, but I hated Twilight, so that’s probably another reason I disliked how the relationship with Lena and Ethan was set up. I’m not opposed to their relationship in the books; I think it’s necessary, just not the sappy way these authors wrote it. I also wish the authors had developed more history in the Caster world, the little information they did give was interesting and unique, but they just left certain details hanging or did not develop enough. Luckily, there are 3 more books for readers to learn more about the Caster world, I hope.

In summary, this book isn’t bad, it’s an easy read and I think it can be picked up or put down. My friend loved it and couldn’t put it down; I enjoyed it and read the book over a few days on my lunch break. As I’ve stated a few times, there are 4 books in the series, Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos, and Beautiful Redemption. I was at a used bookstore last weekend and they happened to have all 4. I bought the last 3 for $10 (about $3.33 a book) and plan on reading them all just because I feel like I have to finish the series. And I did enjoy the first one well enough. I feel like the character of Ridley (a dark caster) may have something more to her than is shown and I’d like to find out what. I guess that’s why she’s named Ridley, because she’s a riddle…

I’ve started the second book, Beautiful Darkness and am about ¾ of the way done, so hopefully if I can get my act together I’ll have a review of that book in a more timely manner.

Has anyone else read Beautiful Creatures or the series? If so, what did you think? I’m always looking for book suggestions; I’d love to hear what everyone recommends.

Side note, below is a list of the characters and a description about them taken from the Beautiful Creatures website

Ethan Wate – Ethan thinks he’s just a regular guy, going to Jackson High with only graduation and escaping Gatlin to look forward to —until he starts having recurring dreams about a girl he’s never met and can’t stop thinking about.

Lena Duchannes – Lena has never lived in one place long enough to call anywhere home. She’s different—and not the kind of different that makes you the coolest girl in school. Even worse, she has a secret she can’t share with anyone—a secret that can destroy her and everyone she loves.

Amma Treadeau – Amma is as smart as she is evasive. She knows everything and tells nothing—or so it seems. She’s usually the smartest person in the room, and the most intimidating, too. But she loves Ethan more than anything in this world or the Other, and she’ll do whatever she has to do to protect him.

Macon Ravenwood – Macon is Gatlin’s boogeyman. He’s also an old-fashioned Southern gentleman with a penchant for cigars and controversy, not necessarily in that order. He’s a man with secrets—and talents. …

Wesley Jefferson “Link” Lincoln – Link is the best friend we all wish we had—quick to take a hit or write a song for a friend. Because first and foremost, Link is a drummer and a dreamer, a guy who’s going places, even if those places are only in his mind.

Ridley Duchannes – Ridley is the ultimate bad girl, with a supernatural twist. She’s all blond and pink streaked hair, lollipops and chaos. You love to hate her and hate to love her.

Marian Ashcroft – Marian is a one-stop source for information, serving as both Gatlin County’s Mortal librarian and the Caster Library’s Keeper. She always has the perfect book or quotation for any dilemma, Mortal or Supernatural.

Olivia “Liv” Durand – Liv arrives in Gatlin as Marian’s summer intern and Keeper-in-Training. Originally from England, she’s new to town, and she brings a breath of fresh air along with her accent and love of french fries and Ovaltine.

John Breed – John may ride a Harley, but he’s a bit more dangerous than your average bad boy. More mysterious, too. Who is John Breed, really?

P.S. I’m loving this dress (see details here) Thoughts?

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