Friday, December 31, 2010

Book Review: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems. (From Goodreads)

I enjoyed Beautiful Creatures when I read it last year, but I had a few issues with it. Despite the excellent writing, I found that parts of the story dragged. When I pick up this one, I wasn't sure what I would think. I've found that oftentimes the second book in a series can't live up to the expectations of the reader, or they are filler between the introductory book, and the conclusion of the series. Beautiful Darkness wasn't one of those books. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and excited for more.

This book picks up soon after the events in Beautiful Creatures, and the mystery begins almost immediately. The story is still told from Ethan's perspective, and he's currently experiencing some uncertainty in his relationship with Lena. She's started to act more like her dark cousin, Ridley. I'm slightly ashamed to admit it, but I really had issues with Lena in this book. I imagine that's what Garcia and Stohl intended when they wrote it, but I lost my connection to her until the latter part of the book. I did like the dynamic between Ethan and Live, and was happy that the reader got to see more from Link and Ridley.

This is another great example of a book where the authors create characters that aren't completely good or evil. Ridley may be a dark Caster, but she clearly cares for her cousin Lena. On the other hand, Macon has secrets in his past that are unearthed. The shades of gray found within the characters really added to the story, and made me think twice when trying to decide who was trustworthy.

I was pleased that Beautiful Darkness was even better than the first book in the series. The reader gets to learn more about the characters, and the pacing was great. The one thing I hope for in book three: more Amma! Her no-nonsense attitude was great for lightening up some serious moments, and she's more than just a one dimensional supporting character.

Beautiful Darkness
By Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
503 Pages
Published by Little, Brown Books
Rating: B


Julie said...

Great review! I enjoyed this book, too. Looking forward to the next one. I agree -- more Amma!!

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