Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Series: The Caster Chronicles #1
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on September 14, 2010
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 592 (paperback)
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.
Phew. I can’t believe I finally got through this and made it through all these pages. This was such an overhyped paranormal YA novel. Everything in the book had me cringing the whole way through; from the sad excuse of a male protagonist to the overall cliche-ness of the book. There are so many negative reviews surrounding this book, so why did I feel the urge to pick it up? Oh, that’s right, I don’t check reviews before reading a book. The reason is because reviews tend to ruin my opinion of the book. For example, before you start reading a book, you read a review that says that the author uses the word “shrugged” too many times. You go on to read the book and whenever the author uses “shrugged”, you think of the review and start applying all the negative things the review said to what your reading. That is the reason why I don’t read reviews before starting a book. Reading reviews before reading a book can affect and alter your own opinion. After I finish a book I like, I only read the positive reviews. After I finish a book I hate, I only read the negative reviews. This is so that the reviews don’t dissuade me from my opinion. I’m very swayable.
Anyway, back to the matter on hand. An overhyped cliché paranormal YA novel with a protagonist as male as a Victoria’s Secret Bombshell Eau de Parfum. Seriously. This story follows the same typical formula: Small town setting? Check. Boy and girl drawn to each other for mysterious reasons? Check. Teen uncovers other partner’s involvement with the paranormal world? Check. Both teens go through i-cant-be-with-you-because-its-forbidden phase? Check. Don’t even get me started on the male protagonist’s POV. It clearly wasn’t a success. Ethan Wate is boring and thinks he is better than everyone in the small Southern town of Gaitlin. He has a holier-than-thou attitude and an obsession with the new ‘hot’ girl who moves into town, Lena. I hated the whole ‘I don’t know why, but I know we’re meant to be together’ attitude. The girl just moved into town and he’s stuck to her like a goddamn wasp. Or is that a fly? Or a moth? Oh, spare me. Even Lena is more male than Ethan. Maybe I would’ve liked the book a bit more if it was from Lena’s point of view. Ethan keeps chasing her for unknown reasons even though she repeatedly tells him to stay away. To be honest, I would’ve gotten a restraining order a while ago.
Another issue I have with this book is that it’s too densely plotted. It’s a messy combination of paranormal, romance, and civil war era Southern love. All these elements horribly clash together and make for a long, drab book. The only slightly redeeming thing in this book was the ‘Caster’ concept. It was a bit lacking, but if a few adjustments were made then the book would’ve been considerably better. There was also the villain, Sarafine. She was a quite good villain—possibly my favourite character in the book. By favourite, I mean ‘hate-her-less-than-the-others’.
Overall, this book is nothing special. Deflated narrative, typical cliché instalove, and an extremely dense plot. This book was an excruciatingly long and boring read. I’d recommend it to you if you enjoy mental pain and tedious books—which I doubt you do. Even looking at the cover of this book hurts. Yep, I should totally bury it. My last words: Not. a. good. book.