Sunday, January 20, 2013

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

*4 out of 5 Stars*

There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.

There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

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.
- "Sixteen Moons, Sixteen Years
Sixteen of your deepest fears
Sixteen times you dreamed my tears
Falling, Falling through the years"

The story takes place in a southern town very much like old Savannah, Georgia. They have a very strong, and slightly obsessive, sentiment towards the civil war. However, they only see the war from one side: the South’s. As far as they are concerned, they won the war.

I loved that the authors really nailed the character development. In my opinion, there has to be character development for a story to be even remotely interesting. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have ended up loathing a book because the character makes the same mistakes over and over and never learns a thing, or they never grow as a person throughout the novel.  In this story, the authors have done an amazing job! The main characters each have unique, yet believable, backstories. They also remain true to themselves throughout the story, never straying from who they are. The characters grow and mature. More importantly, they have their own epiphanies and realizations about the events in the book.

Lena, poor Lena. I felt so terribly bad for her throughout the book. She was treated so horribly by the kids at school and the rest of the town in general. Ethan was such a sweet heart to Lena and I was glad to see that this story lacked a love triangle. Love triangles seem to be in almost every piece of YA fiction these days, and while sometimes they make the story interesting, most of the time, they are just irritating. Link was an awesome best friend! I would love to meet him, if he was real that is. Amma could be…scary at times. She was definitely a little out there with her strange rituals and charms, but she cared for Ethan which is what matters. I had mixed feelings for Uncle Macon for a while, and honestly, I am not quite sure still where I stand with him.

The plot, while I found it somewhat predictable, was intriguing. I was never bored while reading, though I was disappointed when I saw a major event coming before it happened. Naturally, most people like being right about these kinds of things, and I normally agree, however I found it rather tiresome that I was almost always right; it left out the element of surprise. The predictably alone it the only reason why I did not give the book 5 stars.
I will definitely read the rest of the series (I already have a BEAUTIFUL box-set I received for Christmas ;)). And naturally, I will watch the movie. However, I am already disappointed by what I see in the trailers. I am especially disappointed to hear that Aunt Marian isn’t even in the movie. I have heard that they are combining Amma and Marian’s roles, which to me, makes little sense. Both characters played a huge role in helping Lena and Ethan, so I don’t quite see how this combo is going to work (if it’s true that is).  But what are your views on the book and movie? I’ll be sure to post my thoughts on it next month when I get around to seeing it J




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