Beautiful Creatures Book Review

There were only two kinds of people in our town. “The stupid and the stuck,” my father had affectionately classified our neighbors. “The ones who are bound to stay or too dumb to go. Everyone else finds a way out.”
–pg 1

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

 

Ethan lives in a small town in the south that boasts long historical roots. Unlike many of the people in town, though, his is a bit more open-minded. So when the strange and beautiful Lena, niece of the legendary and mysterious town recluse, moves in he is the only one to see her for what she truly is— a witch. And while everyone else in town is only concerned with running her out, Ethan is drawn into a dark and ancient curse that has been plaguing Lena’s family since the time of the Civil War. With his help, Lena just might be able to defeat the dark forces that conspire against her. But time is short— the two have only until Lena sixteenth birthday to figure out the curse and outsmart it.

Will they make it? Will they?

Despite the obvious gripping nature of that summary, that is not what keeps you reading with this book. If you are anything like me then you, like me, will find that that plot leaves a little something to be desired, mostly because there are so many clichéd aspects to it— dark forces wanting to claim a powerful young person, like we haven’t heard that before.

No, it was not that aspect of the plot that I was desperately interested in. It was everything that happened around that. Because, as you might have guessed, Ethan and Lena fall for each other. And it’s pretty cute.

The book is told from Ethan’s point of view, so we skip a lot of the excessive mooning/describing of beauty that female leads have a habit of doing. Instead, we watch as Ethan gets to know Lena and, as far as books go, honestly starts to like her.

What was particularly nice about this pairing was that I happened to enjoy both characters. Ethan was a good male lead; he was daring, supposedly cute (as he never described himself to my knowing), smart and in love with Lena in a non creepy way.

Lena was one of the best female leads I’ve read about recently, because she was a strong character, but she was still, well, a girl. She made her own decisions and fought her own battles, but still wanted to go to dances. It was nice for the authors to show that girls can be balanced, because a lot of the time female leads are ice-queens or lose their wits once they fall in love, and Lena, thankfully, was neither.

So, reading about these two characters was pretty fun. I had this book while I was on the plane over to London and it was one long trip, but that was okay, because this was one long book. It had a lot in it, and for the amount of pages, there was surprisingly little drag. As I mentioned earlier, the plot that was going on besides the romance was mildly interesting, certainly a strong enough base for the story and future books, but not entirely gripping, mostly due to the clichéd terms that kept popping up, mainly to whole will “light” or “dark” win thing. Because, as a fantasy reader, trust me, the words light and dark are in no way underused or overlooked.

Anyways, the curse that was worked in with the whole southern small town thing was enough to keep things moving, and the only time it got in the way of the story (meaning it slowed things way down) was towards the end which was supposed to be very climatic, but it was overly prolonged which really toned down the drama. Although, I must say that the depth of research put into the curse and the amount of originality put into the magical aspects of the book were really a nice touch. It definitely made the story stand out in my mind, since there were for once no vampires of werewolves, and because it had a ring of authenticity to it.

But coming back to the end, as far as endings go, it was alright. Not exactly what I was expecting since a lot of the things that were supposed to be resolved at that time just got rain-checked which I thought was a bit of a cheap move, like the authors didn’t want to have to come up with an answer so they put it off for later (although, since there is a sequel coming it I suppose it’s okay).

So, in wrap up, the writing was fun and easy to read. Not a challenge, not literary gold. But not awful either, and definitely not overwhelmingly sappy. Ethan was a funny narrator and the majority of the cast besides him and Lena were fairly well-developed. There was some definite cheese in the end concerning the “final battle” where some things happened that really didn’t need to and some things that needed to didn’t. The plot besides the romance was easily digested and engaging enough to keep things moving. The sequel, which is coming out Oct. 2010, promises more of the same goodness, so I’ll definitely be reading that.

And so over all, this book is a definite solid read. I totally recommend it for planes because it’s super long, but interesting enough to keep you from falling asleep. And I recommend it for anyone who is looking for a paranormal romance thriller where there are no vampires or werewolves, just lots fun and a darn good time.

Ri’s Rating

QQQ/QQQQQ

3/5

0. Couldn’t get past chapter one for fear of wanting to kill myself. Book induced suicide…

1: Yuck. Ew. Below Average. Probably didn’t even read the middle and skipped to the end.

2. Ok. Would’ve been better if I’d written the ending and everything else.

3. Not bad at all. Very enjoyable. Quite nice. Recommendable.

4. My kind of book. Near ideal, but something was a little off (annoying names, bad ending, that sort of thing).

5. WOW. Makes me wonder why people watch T.V when this is out there. Really liked it. Don’t expect to see this often.

6 and above. What I want my book to be.

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1 Comment

  1. Karie Yamamoto

     /  October 17, 2012

    They are turning it into a movie that has some really famous actors in it!

    Reply

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