Friday, February 15, 2013

Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

"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."
Gatlin is just a normal Southern town. Small, rural, and quiet. Nothing interesting happens in Gatlin, South Carolina. That is, not until Lena Duchannes arrived in town. Beautiful, smart, and dangerous, Lena carries a secret that she is trying desperately to keep hidden from the narrow-minded townspeople. But there's one person in town that she can't hide anything from - someone who shares a mysterious connection to her. Ethan Wate is drawn to Lena, the girl he's been having dreams about night after night before she ever set foot in Gatlin. Surprises are coming to Gatlin on Lena's heels. Surprises that could very well turn the town on its head. Beautiful Creatures is the first novel in the Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. And it's sure to leave you on the edge of your seat, from beginning to end.

I picked this book up after seeing the trailer for the new movie adaptation a few times. And I could not put it down once I started reading it. The authors have done a fantastic job of weaving a story of love, loss, and magic that is simply breathtaking. I loved how vivid and descriptive they were throughout the entire novel. Every single detail made me feel like I was right there in Gatlin County with Lena and Ethan every step of the way. That feeling of everything being so very real is something that really made me want to keep reading.

I also really enjoyed the fact that the reader is able to see everything from Ethan's point of view. Because he is the narrator of the story, we are able to experience things as they happen for him and Lena throughout the entire novel. We share his thoughts, his feelings, and get to see his actions firsthand, which only adds to the realness of the story. And, considering he's a mortal who has been immersed into the magical world of a Caster family, it's almost as if Ethan serves as our guide to the strangeness that surrounds Lena and her family.

Another thing that I really, really liked about this book was the relationship between Ethan and Lena. These characters are so well-developed that it's difficult not to see them as real people while reading. And, since you guys know I'm a sucker for romance, it should come as no surprise that I was rooting for them as a couple from the very beginning. The authors did a flawless job with the characters of Ethan and Lena, and developed their forbidden relationship in such a phenomenal way that it kept me intrigued throughout the entire book.

I rate this book: 

If you haven't read Beautiful Creatures, I seriously recommend that you pick it up as soon as you can. It's an amazing and quick read that is sure to please all types of readers. And the best part: It's been made into a movie that just came out yesterday! So grab a copy of the book and be sure to check the movie out, too. I know I'll be headed to the movie theater in the very near future. Will you?

Margaret Stohl is the author of the ICONS series, as well as the New York Times, USA Today, Publisher's Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Indie-Bound and Internationally Bestselling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures Novels. She is a graduate of Amherst College, where she won the Knox Prize for English Literature and earned a MA in English from Stanford University. She also completed classwork for a PhD in American Studies from Yale University.

Kami Garcia is the New York TimesUSA Today, Publishers Weekly & international bestselling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures Novels (Beautiful CreaturesBeautiful DarknessBeautiful Chaos & Beautiful Redemption). She is also the author of Unbreakable, the first book her solo series, THE LEGION. Kami grew up outside of Washington DC, wore lots of black, and spent hours writing poetry in spiral notebooks. She has an MA in education, and taught in the Washington DC area until she moved to Los Angeles, where she was a teacher & Reading Specialist for 14 years. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, son, daughter, and their dogs Spike and Oz (named after characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

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