Thursday, March 4, 2010

Book 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.

By the time I actually picked this one up, I'd read numerous reviews. Luckily, none of those reviews contained spoilers, because the book kept me guessing from the edge of my seat.

First, I'll say that it was nice to read from a male character's point of view. In my opinion, that's pretty rare in the YA genre. It's unfortunate, because the books I've read recently from a male POV have been excellent (The Maze Runner, Candor). I also really liked Ethan's character. He couldn't wait to escape his tiny town, and for good reason. Gatlin is a place where everyone knows everyone else, and gossip spreads quickly. Coming from a fairly small town, I can definitely relate to feeling trapped. Things get shaken up for Ethan when Lena arrives. She's mysterious, her uncle is the town recluse, and soon she becomes the school outcast. Ethan doesn't seem to mind, though. He's drawn to her, and stands by her even when the whole town is against them.

On to the action! The book started off slowly, but it didn't drag so much that I felt the need to set it down and come back to it. Once the action started, however, I wouldn't have been able to set the book down if I had tried. It's rare that I read a book where I'm held in suspense, and I don't guess the ending. So, I give a lot of credit to Garcia and Stohl for keeping the reader guessing about various plot points, the motives of characters, and how the past played a role in the relationship between Ethan and Lena. The other thing that I loved about this book was the writing. It was co-authored, and the writing flowed throughout the story. I've occasionally found that in books by multiple authors, you can pick up on the different writing styles of each author throughout the book. That wasn't true for Beautiful Creatures. I really enjoyed this, and can't wait for more.

Don't let the length of this one scare you. You'll pick it up, and when you set it down again you'll be surprised at how fast those 500 pages went by.

Beautiful Creatures
By Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
563 Pages
Rating: B


Natalie said...

Glad you liked this one. I really enjoyed it as well! :)

Lauren said...

Great review! I really enjoyed this one, although I have to confess the length pushed it just a little bit for me. It's refreshing sometimes to read a book from a boy's POV so I ended up liking that aspect a lot too.

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