Monday, March 8, 2010

Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

genre: young adult paranormal romance

Meet Ethan. He's on the basketball team at the only high school in the small South Carolina town of Gatlin. He's really feeling done with living in a tiny town that's still stuck on the glorious Confederate victory that happened within its city limits oh-so-long ago. Lately, bad dreams have left him waking up knowing that someone...a girl...was going to come into his life and change it completely.

Meet Lena. She's that girl and wow is she more than she seems at first. Once Ethan meets her, Gatlin will suddenly seem full of secrets -and he's is determined to figure them out.

Beautiful creatures has all the elements of a good modern fantasy story - a spooky old setting, all kinds of magical abilities, curses, true love and Civil War Reenactors. Just kidding about that last one (well, they're there but not usually in modern fantasy, right??) although the antebellum houses help add to the dark and "Romeo and Juliet" type ambiance.

Could I put this book down? No, I enjoyed reading it a lot. Is it perfect? Not really. One quibble is that Ethan is NOT what you would imagine your average 16 year old to be like - so if you're fine with jocks who read poetry in secret and spend every Saturday helping out their great-aunts as they care for baby squirrels, than you'll be good to go. It didn't bother me as much when I was reading as it bugs me in retrospect. Sometimes there were holes in the plot, or action in the plot that seem important got dropped and that was frustrating. Other times, entire chapters seemed to come and go without ever furthering the plot at all. Some things just didn't make sense and weren't explained.

The good? Ethan and his crossword puzzle-loving and card-reading housekeeper Amma have a great relationship and I liked reading their interactions. While some of the minor characters felt two dimensional, I think both Lena and Ethan really resonated as conflicted teens trying their darnedest to beat the clock (oh yes, there is a clock ticking in this story!)

I liked having this story from the male point of view - really, let's be honest, it is quite the Twilight storyline (yes, there will be four MORE books). But for some reason, this one sits better for me. The romantic storyline felt more young adult and with all the literature references and a more complex fantasy world, it also felt more intelligent. Maybe if it had been just a bit shorter and tighter (and, honestly, if I hadn't found out after finishing it that I'd really have to read 4 more books to figure out how it all plays out) it would've gotten 4 stars from me, but an enjoyable 3 will do just fine.


DesLily said...

ARGH! 4 more books? well this on will sit in the tbr pile for some time to come! I have many series "nearing" the ends..but I am getting too old to hope I will live long enough to read new series! darn! Wish I had read more like this before I bought the book!! thanks for the heads up!

bermudaonion said...

The reviews for this book seem to be mixed. A friend of mine read it and then bought it for her niece for Christmas. I can't decide if I want to read it or not.

Jenni said...

I just read this! And I agree with you (well not the liking it better than Twilight part :)). I hated all the plot drops and think it could have been cut down by at least 200 pages, but it was fun. Darn the series thing! 4 more books??! Yuck. Oh well, I'll probably read them.:)

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