Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, 2009

I have terrible timing. After three consecutive posts about the research that went into my upcoming novel, this was supposed to be the grand finale, the big announcement that Ebb Tide has released!!!!

But it hasn’t.

It’s coming soon. I promise. In ten days, in fact. It’s undergone final revisions and is currently out to my last line of defense, my amazing Typo Sweeper. In the meantime, Ebb Tide is available for pre-order on the Amazon website.

So, while we’re waiting for all that to go down, I’m going to sneak a couple of book reviews in over the next two weeks. Starting with Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

I really liked this one. It did take me a few chapters to get into. In fact, as I was reading, I realized I had picked it up before and never gotten past the first few pages. But as I was on a 17-hour road trip to Alabama for Spring Break, I stuck it out this time. I’m glad I did.

Ethan Wate lives in Gatlin, South Carolina and can’t wait to leave for all the typical reasons. The stereotypes cast in the early pages at his school are the main reason I put the book down the first time. You’ve got your jocks on the b-ball team, your cheerleaders and their cheerleader moms who run the town. And then you have Lena, the new girl who’s different and just doesn’t fit in. Ethan falls in love with her, of course, and his cheerleader wanna-be-girlfriend gets the rest of the town to run her out. It’s fairly easy to do, as she’s the niece of the town’s odd recluse, their Boo Radley stereotype, Macon Ravenwood.

So far, so bad. But I pressed on.

It turns out, after some decent amount of interaction between Ethan and Lena and a fair amount of wanting to know what’s up with her (that’s what finally got me hooked), Lena has some peculiar powers. She’s a “Caster”, or what we might call a new brand of witch. As romance blossoms between them, Lena is reluctant to give herself up to it, and we eventually learn that she has some significant fears. On her sixteenth birthday, she will be…okay, I already gave the Caster bit away. You’ll have to read it if you want to see what happens on her birthday. The suspense leading up to it is half the fun of the book.

Having recently visited this area in South Carolina during a research trip for my own series, I was taken by the setting. And I loved the magic and aura of the mysterious old mansion at Ravenbrook. And while I’m not big on the paranormal genre, I took to this one. There was enough history and enough tantalizing what’s-going-to-happen-next for me to really get into it. And I wasn’t disappointed by the conclusion. The story built, and built, and built, and I found myself totally enjoying it. The romance is clean, and writing this two weeks after reading it, I can’t recall any significant language issues. While this is by no means great literature, it’s a fun fluffy read. I would give it a recommendation for readers 14+ and might even lower that a bit for 12- and 13-year-old girls who are reading ahead of their age.

I knew Beautiful Creatures has been around for a few years, but I didn’t realize there was a movie until I searched for the cover image for this blog post. Huh…I’m curious to watch it now. I also learned it’s the first of four books in the Caster Chronicles. As much as I enjoyed it, I don’t think I’ll read on. Too many other books to get to…

Grab Beautiful Creatures from Amazon.

2 thoughts on “Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, 2009

  1. What an interesting book. I would have had trouble with the stereotypic beginning, but it sounds like the story took off and was quite an adventure. I enjoy some magical realism.

    Look forward to your upcoming release. Just returned from vacation, so I missed your post last week. Will try to check it out.

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