Book Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Title: Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1)
Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Genre: paranormal romance, fantasy, magic, witches
Publisher: Little Brown Books (an imprint of Hachette)
Publication Date: 1 December 2009
Pages: 563 pages
Rating: 2.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
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.

My Review:

Without darkness there can be no light…

Gatlin is a small town with small-minded thinking. Ethan Wate feels like he’s been trapped his entire life. He’s counting down the days till he can go to college and escape. His dreams are haunted by a beautiful mysterious girl he’s never met. Night after night he fails her in these dreams. Things get even more spooky when he comes face to face with his “dream girl”, Lena Duchannes – old man Ravenwood’s niece, and she smells like she does in her dreams. Lemons and rosemary.

Ethan is drawn to Lena like he’s never been before. It’s magical the way they share dreams and thoughts. Lena isn’t like anyone Gatlin has ever seen before. But Lena has a secret. She’s not just any other girl. She has a dangerous secret and a family that puts the fun in dysfunctional. Creepy cousins, bizarre uncles and a house that changes furnishings instantly. Lena has a family legacy that will either free her or condemn her on her sixteenth birthday. The countdown is on and her relationship with Ethan only makes things even more confusing and dangerous.

I’ve not read many teen novels dealing with romance told from a male’s perspective. I liked that this book isn’t the typical girl meets strange mysterious boy kind of love story.

This is a long book and it took me a very very long time to read it. I started this book months ago and only just finished it. Some parts seemed to take forever for anything to happen and then there were action sequences that were a little rushed. I felt like some Southern stereotypes were played up and there were a lot of clichés used. That said, I liked the characters. Lena was the new mysterious girl with a dark past. Her family is eccentric and somehow loveable – all of them the light and the dark. Ethan was a little bland in comparison but he’s merely mortal (or is he?) and had an easy narration style to follow. Whilst I’m not sure a guy would pay quite so much attention to clothing I thought Garcia and Stohl manage to write a male point of view that was surprisingly authentic.

Conceptually I loved the story. There’s mystique and drama around every corner. The different powers were interesting and one of the supporting characters was an awesome librarian (however the name, Marian the Librarian reminded me a bit too much of The Music Man). I wasn’t convinced by the love story in terms of how it came to be but I loved the relationship between Ethan and Lena as the countdown ticked down and the Sixteenth Moon was upon them.

Overall this was an enjoyable read however it just took too long to get to the good parts and there was something about the way the South was described that got under my skin and irritated it.

 Additional Note:
I listened to this book as an Audible audiobook (Seventeen and a half hours!). Whilst I liked the narrator’s pacing, his accents infuriated me. I understand that the characters were from the South and needed Southern accents HOWEVER I couldn’t quite get into Ethan’s character since his dialogue was narrated in an accent but his thoughts and narration was not. It felt like the two were not quite the same person.

ALSO:

If you’re planning on reading this book do not, I repeat DO NOT!, go to the IMDB page for casting for the movie. I was talking to my sister about going to see the movie this weekend because she was excited about a certain actor/actress was in it. When she told me what character the person was playing it divulged a critical plot point that didn’t happen until the last ten percent or so of the book…

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Read for the 2013 TBR Pile Challenge

Listened to for the 2013 YA Audiobook Challenge

2013 YA Audiobook Challenge

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10 thoughts on “Book Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

  1. Great review! UGH! I know how you feel, it took me forever to finish Gone by Michael Grant. Beautiful Creatures has been sitting on my bookshelf for so long, I’ll have to read it. But I’ll do it with caution thanks to your warning.

    • Talking about books that have taken me a long time to read – Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I’ve been reading/ trying to read this book for over twelve years. I carried it around in my school bag for years trying to read it whenever I had a chance. These day it’s in the glovebox of my car to read whenever I get stranded without another book to read…

      When you finally get around to reading it – I hope you enjoy it!

  2. I am still busy with the book, and can honestly say I am having the same trouble with it. There are really long stretches of nothing and I am finding it difficult to make my way through it. Its part of a book club selection so I guess I have to force it.

    Thank you for sharing the review.

    • Good luck making it through! The start is the hardest part. Towards the end everything ramps up and the action and drama really drive the story along. Hope the next book club selection is easier for you to get through and a more enjoyable read!

      Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  3. I still haven’t managed to get past the first few chapters…. ha ha, I might just abandon this book all together 😦
    I heard the movie was terrible and didn’t follow the story plot very well.

    • I’ve heard similar about the movie. I think I’ll catch it when it’s out on DVD instead…

      The first few chapters were hard! It does get better the more you get into it but I wouldn’t blame you for giving up before that. It’s hard going.

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