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Review: Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl & Kami Garcia

Beautiful Creatures 
Authors: Kami Garcia (BlogTwitter)
Margaret Stohl (BlogTwitter)
Release Date: 9/14/10 (Paperback)
12/1/09 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult (14+)
Source: Public Library (Local)
Overall Feelings: Intense, fascinating!

Beautiful Creatures is a unique and exceptional novel that will fascinate readers from start to finish. This novel expertly maneuvers an addictive plot with an extraordinary take on magic: its capabilities and its practitioners. BC weaves a captivating tale of two young, star-crossed lovers; a world of choice: Light or Dark; a seemingly normal town turned unexpectedly mystical, mysterious, and quite dangerous.

When I first picked up Beautiful Creatures I was slightly intimidated by it. It has a whopping five hundred somethin' pages, a rather large book if you ask me..so it took me awhile to actually sit down and read it. I've never really liked books told in the first person POV, yet I found that with Ethan being the one to tell the story, the book seemed a lot more...well, more. It made the novel extraordinarily different, unlike any other paranormal book I've ever read. I didn't know what to expect. BC went from slow and mysterious to intriguing to blow-your-mind awesome. A combination bound to charm me into gulping it down between two sittings.

At first, it moved a little slow, but in the process I learned a lot...about the characters, the history of the town and so forth. Riding out a slow beginning was well worth it. Stohl and Garcia really took me to the town of Gaitlin, SC. I felt like I was there, from the fried chicken, mash potatoes and gravy, string beans, biscuits, and pulled pork to my picking apart the words of the thick, Southern-accented people of Gaitlin until they resembled something of an intelligible sentence.

Add to the blend an intriguing mystery, one where a dark, vision-lending locket with strange initials carved inside it point to never-heard-of Wate and Duchannes ancestors of the two main characters, Ethan and Lena...explosive, unexplainable supernatural powers...bizarre, unusual family members...a seemingly normal town with an abnormal history. Throw in a dreadful curse on one of the biggest, all-powerful magical families with a lineage that traces back to way before the Civil War, and you've got an addictive, engaging, one-of-a-kind novel on your hands.

Usually, for me, characters are paramount to any other aspect of a book. It was the same with this book. Beautiful Creatures offered up a kaleidoscope of characters, starting from the very eccentric, like the tangled Ravenwood/Duchannes family, heading to the gossiping, superficial townspeople of Gaitlin, and everyone in between. Then of course, there is also Ethan and Lena who don't fit into the above categories at all. While Ethan was born and raised in Gaitlin, you'd never know it by his personality. He's so wonderfully different. Not only is he a handsome guy, he's also a determined, sweet, a little optimistic, protective one, who wants to break away from the confining, suffocating borders of the town. Lena, on the other hand, is a shining beacon of individuality, so much so that it shone like a neon sign in an all black or white town.."...a beautiful girl in a long gray dress, under a white track jacket with the word Munich sewn on it, and beat-up black Converse peeking out underneath. A girl who wore a long silver chain around her neck, with tons of stuff dangling from it--a plastic ring from a bubblegum machine, a safety pin, and a bunch of other junk...she tucked her dark curls behind her ear, black nail polish catching the fluorescent light. Her hands were covered with black ink, like she had written on them...She had the greenest eyes I'd ever seen, so green they could've been considered some new color altogether." (32) Come on, does she not sound cool or what? Only someone really cool would have the courage to look that way...

But the absolute finest part of the novel was the ending. But, I don't just mean the last few pages or anything. More like the last couple of chapters. It was intense as heck! My fingers were clutching the book so hard, my eyes were racing across the pages trying to absorb all the words on each one. The blood...the people...the darkness...the traitors...the chanting...all the death and sorrow. It could've been a freaking movie! I swear, had anything popped out at me in the last moments of my reading BC, I would've screamed, the blood-curdling, ear-popping, shrilly kind. But maybe that's just me.

If I could do over the last several hours I used up reading this novel, I'd do it all again, except I'd read it all in one shot instead of two separate times.

After devouring this first course in the delectable Caster Chronicles, I'm ready to gobble down the ensuing epic sequel, Beautiful Darkness! I can't wait to get my hands on it!

Thanks for reading!


SWK said...

Great review. I'm more of a realistic contemporary reader but I really enjoyed this book, too, and can't wait to read BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS. Just discovered your blog by bouncing over from your comment about negative reviews on StephSu Reads. Look forward to following! - Stasia

A. Knight said...

Thank you! If I didn't have things to do today, I'd run over to my library and find out if they have Beautiful Darkness.

And 'thanks for following' is adequate, but not all what I want to convey to you. 'Thanks for joining in on my blogging experience and making it special,' is the best I can come up with. Every follower matters. (:

Hope you like all the future content. And have a good evening, Stasia!