Friday, December 10, 2010

Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

GoodReads Summary:
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.

My Thoughts: I do not enjoy writing negative reviews. Especially about books for which I had such high expectations and there was so much hype around them. I'm so confused by my feelings for this book. Like I said, I had high hopes for it at first, what with the beautifully descriptive setting and deep-thinking protagonist. I wanted so badly to love it like everyone else did.

Eventually, Ethan's thoughts got annoying. I wanted to be out of his head ASAP. I got so incredibly sick of hearing about how he was going to fix Lena's problems. How, dude? You have no idea what the heck is wrong with her. She doesn't even know how to fix what's wrong with her. Ethan acted like he could halt Lena's inevitable fate. Oh, mortals and their superiority complex. Yet, Lena totally bought into his mindless reassurances of "it'll be okay. I'm not going to lose you." I didn't understand what he saw in Lena anyway, nor what Lena saw in Ethan.

I grew tired of reading about Ethan and Lena doing seemingly endless research, yet coming up with nothing. I was lost further when Lena's hoards of family members were introduced with all their different powers. I seriously felt like I had just walked into some Swahili-spoken lecture on bio-Chem and was expected to retain all the information for a pop quiz that would take place in 10 minutes. The term "Caster" seems pretty vague and, though I'm interested to learn more about them, I don't know if I am interested enough. I didn't like Amma, either. The only truly intriguing character in this book was Macon.

However, The Stohl/Garcia duo did succeed at setting the mood for this ominous book. While reading it, I constantly felt like something was going to jump out from behind a bush or corner. It was a genuinely creepy atmosphere and in my mind, I could see Macon's unsturdy, crumbling stairs leading up to his doorway. The authors did a great job at instilling a sense of impending doom and I wish this book would've been shorter. The concept is interesting and it would've have lost me the way it did if they'd have gotten to the point earlier on.

I'm contemplating whether or not it'd be worth it to read the sequel.

Rating: 2/5

Series: Yes. The Caster Chronicles Book 2, Beautiful Darkness, was released October 12, 2010.
Source: I purchased this book.
Published:Little, Brown, 563 pages (December 1, 2009)

Here are some positive reviews for Beautiful Creatures:
April (Good Books and Good Wine)
Steph Su (Steph Su Reads)
Tara (Fiction Folio)


  1. When I read, "I do not enjoy writing negative reviews," my internal dialogue actually went: "OH SNAP! Jen is gonna BRING IT!" Sorry, I got a little excited. And let me be honest...this one isn't my fave either. I'll read book 2, but I'm just not feeling like I'm in a rush to get to it.

  2. hahahaha Anna freaking cracks me up. You know, I enjoyed this, but I didn't love it either. It was SO hyped up, too. I'll read the sequel, but I wasn't so in love with the first that I absolutely HAVE to read the second. Great honest review, Jen :D

  3. I wasn't a big fan of this book either and I thought I was the only one. It's good to know I'm not. I also was not a fan of Ethan and his thoughts. Thanks for the honest review. Also, I went w/ Jamie (perpetual page-turner) to a signing on Wednesday night. She told me how fabulous your blog is....I'm so glad I could check it out! I'm now a new follower!

  4. I had issues with this book as well - I had to push myself to finish. I have to say I disliked Lena as a character as well as her relationship with Ethan, and the extreme variety of types of magic without any sort of system of rules really frustrated me. Anyway, you weren't the only one!

  5. Oh, I'm so much in agreeance! I posted a negative review of this too, a couple of months back, and boy was that scary. So don't worry! You're not the only one!

  6. I hate to say it, but the book completely bored me and I just couldn't finish it. I wondered if I just hadn't given it a full chance, but I was over 2/3 of the way through when I gave up. It's good to know I wasn't the only one who didn't enjoy this.

  7. I haven't read this yet, and I'm trying *really* hard not to let all the great hype raise my expectations for this book too high. It's always nice to see an honest review for a book that's received so much praise. :)

    Also, can I say that I loved that you posted links to positive reviews for the book? I think that's so sweet and it's nice that you're giving your readers a different perspective than your own.

  8. Ah, well, not everyone is going to like everything. I haven't read this one yet because I am daunted by its' size. One of these days!

  9. I just found out that I'm next in line for this one at the library! I'm still super excited to read it, and maybe even more so now b/c I hadn't heard anything negative about it yet. So, I'm anxious to form my own opinion... Thanks for honestly sharing!