Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Beautiful Creatures Review

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

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.

4 out of 5 stars

Beautiful Creatures is the first book in the Caster Chronicles series.

Ethan has been dreaming of a girl. He doesn't know her, but he's desperately trying to save her. When Lena, the niece of the local shut-in, moves to town, he knows that she is the girl in his dreams. As he gets to know her, he finds out her secrets and a world he didn't know existed. Still, he falls in love, risking more than just his standing with his peers.

I liked Ethan. It was refreshing to read a book with a male character, especially one that was not a social outcast when the book started.  He was a regular guy with a regular life. Even as he started to change, it seemed real... like how his friends didn't automatically dump him, but gave him chances to conform first. Lena was a more typical of this genre- the girl who doesn't fit in because she's not one of the sheep-like blonde girls- but it was told from the opposite side, making it feel less stale.

I know that some people don't agree, but I also didn't really feel like this was a case of instalove. It felt more real than that. Sure, Ethan was dreaming about a girl and, even before he met her, felt like there was a connection. It was only natural that he want to get to know her when he finds out she is real. I particularly liked that he wasn't really interested in her outside the "Hey, it's a new girl. We don't get a lot of those." interest that everyone had until he knew that she was the girl in his dreams. And while he was interested in her from the beginning, I feel like the actual love came a little later. I also felt like defying his friends wasn't all about Lena, but also about him and his feelings that didn't have to do with her.

The writing was also nice. It was really descriptive without being overly flowery. I found myself taking more time to read without skimming. The authors also did a good job of creating the town. I could actually picture it and the people in it, though they did seem stereotypical. I live in the south and I can't think of a town anywhere around that's the way Gatlin and it's people are described. While I know people that have yet to upgrade from VHS and think that 80s hair is fashionable, I don't know of any place where they have yet to move on from 1860. Maybe there are towns that are that small and insular, but it's not what I would say is typical.

I really liked this book. There characters were good and the story was interesting. While it did drag slightly when they spent so much time researching, I didn't get bored and feel like skimming.

*Picture and description from Goodreads

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