Title: Beautiful Creatures (Beautiful Creatures #1)
Authors: Margaret Stohl & Kami Garcia
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: December 1st, 2009
My Rating: 3.5/5
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.
The reason I created this challenge was because I had a hard time reading this series. It was odd because I found it intriguing, liked what I was reading, but I would always get to a point and just stop. I'd heard many recommendations so I knew I'd like it, I just needed that extra push to get me there. And once I finally read it, I was glad I did. Yes, I had a few issues with it, but it had a ton of potential and I enjoyed it overall.
That opening couple pages gets me every time. I get goosebumps reading it. It was extremely intriguing and I was so ready to dive right into the book after that. And the next seventy pages didn't disappoint. They were mysterious and ominous and had me desperate to know what was going on in this town and with these two young lovers. There was lots of creativity in this story, both in concept and in certain events. I loved the scene with the pottery wheel, the dreams Ethan was having, and that enchanting song I could practically hear echoing in my head. And the whole concept of Dark and Light and Casters was just awesome. I was so excited about it, and I think it was really well done. Another thing I really enjoyed about Beautiful Creatures is the setting. I haven't read too many books set in the deep south and it really added to the atmosphere of the book. Gothic and foreboding, the town of Gatlin had me on edge.
Ethan I had mixed feelings about. At first, I really adored him. He was so curious and determined. I couldn't help but admire that about him. But, eventually his voice became monotonous. He kept repeating himself over and over and nothing really changed. I became bored with it, and it wasn't until the end that I actually started enjoying his narration again. But, I really did enjoy his relationship with Lena. Although, at points, I was a bit bored with it, overall they were a very good couple and they brought out the better in each other. I really did like Lena, although her stubbornness made me want to shake her sometimes. I liked her personality, her style (I need to get me one of those charm necklaces) and her passion. But, for me, the stand out character was really Ridley. I loved her. Like, I wish she was in every scene because she was such a complex, trouble-maker! She had me on my toes, and it was fantastic. I really hope there's more Ridley in the next books cause she rocks.
Now, I will say, I found the writing slightly lackluster. It was a bit overdone and some of the sentences I found myself having to re-read because they were oddly phrased. I also found that the breaking and pacing of the story was sometimes a little jumpy and confusing. It really needed to be tightened up and a little bit more editing could have gone a long way. I enjoy long books but there has to be a purpose to them. If not, it can detract from a story and I think that happened with this one. The idea was great, and the characters had potential, but the story dragged on. I kept saying "Wow, I'm not finished yet?" because I had been reading for so long and had gotten no where. I'm hoping that will be changed in the next three books!
So, Beautiful Creatures has an aweome idea but the book itself didn't entirely live up to it. I have faith it will in the next few books though, and I'm looking forward to seeing where this interesting plot line goes!
- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)