Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
A book to hand someone with the words, ‘Please enjoy’—something you can have fun with without having to think too much.
Ethan Wate was born and raised in the southern USA town of Gatlin, where people are very proud of their confederate history and nothing every changes. He longs to escape Gatlin and start a new life—until he meets Lena Duchannes. Lena has just moved back into town after living with her grandmother for many years. She is mysterious, beautiful and there’s something about her he can’t quite pinpoint. She’s also not like the rest of the bubble gum cheerleader crowd, which makes her an automatic candidate for outcast-dom. Ethan is drawn to Lena for reasons he can’t explain, and they fall in love—against strange supernatural odds.
I originally picked up this book because I found out it will be made into a movie with Jeremy Irons and Emma Thompson. I then proceeded to read the entire series in about five days—I was so sucked in and captivated by the story I just had to know what happened next. The plot is fast paced, full of twists and way more interesting than Twilight. (There. I said it.) Lena is not a wimp, and although, in the second book ,she goes into a bit of a sad bitch mode reminiscent of New Moon—I stopped after that book, just so you know—she gets over it, moves on, and gets her shit back together. (Take that, Bella.)
But let’s get back to this book.
One of the things I enjoyed most about this book is that it is narrated from the guy’s point of view. Ethan is a good storyteller. He is honest, and relatable. His voice is seems real, he never gets too mooney in love, much less obsessive, and he is practical, forward thinking, and determined. I wouldn’t mind a grown up version of Ethan in my life. He was quite devoted and a good friend/boyfriend—the kind of boy you’d say was well raised and will grow up to be a good man.
Lena and her family, including Jeremy Irons … uh, Lena’s uncle Macon, are interesting, well-developed characters. All the secondary characters have a greater part in the story to play, and they continue to evolve within the series. You understand their motivations, particularly Uncle Macon, in protecting the family and keeping all their secrets.
Lena can get a bit gothic sometimes, but never too carried away or annoying. She’s been raised in a certain way and has a destiny to fulfill. Couple that with good old teenage angst and a family with too many secrets and you can understand why the weight of the world gets to her sometimes.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and the rest of the series, and I can understand why this is being made into a film.
Yay or nay?
This series is the perfect antidote to Twilight, showing that teenagers in supernatural settings don’t have to be wimpy, obsessive, and extra broody. Inevitable comparisons aside, I found this book to be rich in world-building and filled with compelling twists. It’s a book to hand someone with the words, ‘Please enjoy’—something you can have fun with without having to think too much.
Who might enjoy it: People who enjoy fast-paced supernatural stories with a touch of southern USA
Who might not enjoy it: People who would rather just see the movie