Hey everyone out there who reads this, just beware that there are definite spoilers in here. So don’t spoil a great read, just go get those books and enjoy them first!
Description: Currently this is a two book young adult paranormal book series, though from what I know there is going to be at least a third, if not a forth. These books are written by a pair of authors: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.
The first book is BEAUTIFUL CREATURES and is told in the male perspective of a boy named Ethan Wate. He has very realistic dreams that not only stay as dreams but follow him to his waking moments. The dreams are always about a girl. Someone he doesn’t know but is inexplicably linked to. As school starts and they go through the year he finds out that a new girl is coming to school. Her name is Lena Duchannes and she is the niece of the town recluse. They meet and Ethan realizes that she is the girl from his dreams. As the story progresses we find out that Lena is what is known as a Caster. She has magical abilities. Not only that, but she is coming up on her sixteenth birthday, in which case she is going to have to choose between being Light and Dark (basically good or evil), but she really doesn’t get to choose, because the choice was taken away from her family in the past when a curse was set on them. The story is the progression towards her birthday and that choice.
The second book BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS takes places relatively soon after the awful happenings from the end of the first book. The story is still told from Ethan’s perspective and we follow his journey through trying to keep Lena with him after her dangerous sixteenth birthday. Lena is pulling away because she doesn’t want to hurt anyone. We meet some new characters in this novel and we learn a lot more about the Caster world. We follow Ethan as he tries to rescue Lena from herself and the dangers of some of her family. Old characters return and new characters emerge. Yet more choices are made in this novel that can make or break the relationship between the two main characters.
Review: I ate these books alive. Literally took two days for both of them to be finished, averaging about a book a day. I loved the fact that this story was told through Ethan, instead of Lena. He is so much the average boy on the verge on manhood, and he ends up being linked to a girl who is no where near average. It’s a fun experience watching him have such … normal reactions. Fear, loves, hatred, loathing, desire – all of those and more were represented through Ethan at one point or another in the story
The writing in these two books was flawless, I would have never guessed it was two separate authors writing. Garcia and Stohl seem to be very in sync with each other which is necessary when doing a dual authorship. I was nervous about these books at first because of the very fact that it has two authors. I’ve had bad experiences with multiple authors for a single story in the past – those experiences involved writing that was no where near seamless in the back and forth. I was pleasantly surprised.
I love all the characters. Even the bad guys. They are so rounded out that it makes you love and hate them all. They are very real and you get very invested in their lives. Ethan and his classic down south attitude makes me laugh, his world is filled with the War Between the States and how it continues to affect those in the Deep South. Lena is naïve and slightly broken by this curse of her family, and because of this she is more and less just like any teen trying to make it through life. Amma, who is a Seer and the house keeper at Ethan’s home, makes you laugh because she is so much a living example of old time manners and chivalry. Macon, who is Lena’s recluse of an uncle, surprises you with his strength, his love and his power. Link, who is Ethan’s best friend, keeps you laughing with his utter joy in the world, despite what is happening around him he can always crack a joke. Ripley, who is Lena’s Dark cousin, is enticing and endearing, even with her evilness. Sarafine drives you made with her selfishness and evil toward her own daughter. Pretty much any of the many rounded characters make you fall in love with them.
The story itself is a unique twist on “witches” or those with magic or supernatural powers. Each person has a type a magic that they are a specialist at, making the magic in this story more along the lines of super powers. Kind of a twist on the Heroes world but WAY better.
Rating: I give each book 5 out of 5. (Apparently I only read books that I think rock … maybe I’m not the best reviewer out there).
Cara Mia Amore