Monday, March 21, 2011

Persy -- Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Welcome to the Southern town of Gatlin, and when we say Southern, we mean Southern. You don't say 'Civil War' down here, you say 'War Between The States'. Every year, you do participate in the Civil War Reenactment. You don't keep secrets in Gatlin.

The exception, of course, is Macon Ravenwood and "Amma". Macon Ravenwood is the town's Boo Radley, as they often call him. No one's ever seen him, he never comes out of his manor. Amma is Ethan Wate's housekeeper/almost-grandmother. Ethan Wate is a teenage boy. Lena Duchannes is Macon Ravenwood's niece who appears out of nowhere and does not fit in. At all. Plus, she's got more than a few secrets.

But here's the deal, Ethan's had dreams about Lena long before they've ever met. And the closer he gets to the mysterious girl, the more secrets Gatlin unveils. Ethan learns about Amma's past, he meets the infamous Macon Ravenwood, and he gets pulled into a mystery surrounding his and Lena's ancestors centuries ago. Ethan determinedly picks at all of Lena's layers until he finds out the truth, and then he has to keep digging to save her from her destiny.

This book surprised me, I'll just say that right now. I'm not sure what I was expecting when I opened it up, but I was thinking along the lines of a random supernatural character, some bad writing, and long speeches of heartfelt love. Forget that. This book is more of a cross between historical mystery and supernatural romance/mystery.

Plus, Macon Ravenwood is so freakin' awesome I thought I might die. But anyway.

I often got tired of Lena. She's an easily depressed and hopeless girl who can't seem to make up her mind about her other personality traits. But Ethan's not a bad guy, even though he makes a few stupid mistakes throughout the story.

And now for the plot itself. It was actually a pretty okay plot, but the ending seemed...convenient. Sort of like the authors wrote themselves into a corner, didn't want to make a decision, and so threw in a very lucky forecast. I'm hoping they'll actually make a resolution about the 'destiny' thing in the second book. And they also make a big deal out of how Ethan can always predict the murderer in movies and is great at solving puzzles, but he only really uses this skill once, when it seems like it would've sprung into gear many more times. Plus, why did no one ever just SMACK RIDLEY?


Anyway. Besides the ending and the no-smacking-of-Ridley, the only things that really bothered me was that some of the elements strongly reminded me of one of my friend's books and there was a character named Wesley Jefferson -- the name of my cousin. Luckily, they actually called him Link the whole time, so it wasn't too disconcerting after his initial introduction.

To conclude, Beautiful Creatures is a pretty fascinating mystery with one of the awesomest characters ever with only a few unfortunate plotholes and annoyances. It really is rather unique, and I'd reccommend it to teenage mystery-lovers who also have a thing for the supernatural. I get the feeling that Kami Garcia's and Margaret Stohl's writing will get better with time, so I'm really looking forward to the second book, Beautiful Darkness.


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