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
|Caster Chronicles #1
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Either I hyped myself up far too much, or I just didn’t get it for being out of intended target age range, but I could not fall for Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Though the premise was an interesting one, and the setting built it up to be part of one of my favorite genres — Southern Gothic — it just fell flat at the end.
Before it all fell away, things were pretty decent! I could get behind narrator Ethan, just a regular ole kid desperate to leave his small town behind. I mean, I grew up on the whole “I hate my parents and this whole town” genre of pop punk bands. So, I got it. I related. I was rooting for him to escape. Then, we get Lena, desperate to fit in outcast that lives moves in with her uncle, the town recluse/eccentric. She’s mysterious and stand-offish, and oh yeah, just so happens to be the girl that Ethan has been having dreams about for the longest time. So, obviously, they fall quickly in love, to the disappointment of the parent figures in their lives, as well as society. Sound familiar? It should because it’s so painfully overdone and by the book, and while there was nothing new about it, it wasn’t terrible! It was familiar and sometimes, that’s okay!
But, if it was all following a tried and true method of writing a YA urban paranormal/fantasy book, how did it fumble? Why was I let down? The answer is simple. The entire book continually set the message of trying to escape your fate, your destiny, your town. It almost beat us over the head with the message that you didn’t have to get swept away by everyone else’s expectations and could forge your own way. And then suddenly, by the end, the message dissipates. Your own path you thought you could take? Sike, you’re stuck reliving the same roads you’ve always been on because there is no escape! It was SO FRUSTRATING! And I think, that is a major departure from most of the books in this same genre.
I go more in depth on the theme of the book and the ending being such a huge disservice to what was a decent story in the Pages and Pause Screen podcast (episode out Dec 13), so if you want to know more specifics about why I had issues with it, give it a listen! Otherwise, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl simply fell flat for me. Will not be picking up the second book in the series and honestly, probably wouldn’t recommend this to readers.