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Beautiful Creatures

A book by Kami Garcia

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Octopus of a plot with too many amputated arms

  • May 7, 2010
  • by
With the recent influx of young adult fiction that centers around romance and the supernatural it's hard to know which book to grab first, this was a decent read but nothing that stands out from the pack. Those who rarely read will probably enjoy it more than people who pick this genre all the time rather than readers who read a lot in general. This book is perfect for young teens but older readers ( 20 and up) might feel a bit babied, I certainly felt that it read like an ultra light version of Twilight ( sans the vamps) and it didn't capture the essence of the two main characters with the same fever, more like words and places but lacking heat and oomph, the scorched cheeks and quickly turned pages. I also read that this is supposed to be a series of 5 books and might be made into a movie, seems to me that the authors are more interested in completing and selling the whole series without having any actual weight of good material to put into it. If they had all the books written all ready because they story was bursting out of them then it's one thing, but I have a feeling that they are simply riding the popular train and trying to cash in on it. I might check out the remaining stories from the library, it's not a book I would need to have in my permanent collection.

The story takes place in a quaint Southern town, obvious clich├ęs are used to make it appear so rather than through richly woven descriptions; the mean rich spoiled girls being nasty to poor little Lena who's different, and their parents trying to do everything possible to get her thrown out of her new school, there was certainly lack of Southern hospitality and I didn't get the dark, eerie Gothic feel at all, I felt that it was trying to be portrayed as such without actually being Gothic. You can have flower wallpaper on the walls but it doesn't mean they walls are made of roses. And not to mention the completely useless Civil War stuff thrown in, which sounded like it had a point in the beginning but was somehow forgotten in the end, I was shocked such an error could have been left there, if it was intentional then I think the authors have to resist doing similar things in the next novel, nothing worse than following a lead in a book that leads to a brick wall.

Ethan and Lena meet each other at school, she's new and clearly doesn't fit in, and he's suddenly smitten with her with a deep desire to protect her, everyone else is intent on keeping them separate, somehow their union is dangerous and promises a catastrophic ending. The reader knows that Lena is special but her powers take time to show themselves, Ethan is unable to stay away and gets entangled in an old battle that apparently has been going on for centuries. There are several inconsistencies, Ethan's caretaker was very harsh on him in the beginning, but in the end she pretty much let him do whatever he wanted, she was more old-fashioned than engaging and annoyed me most of the time. I did however enjoyed the character of Lena's uncle, he was one of the best parts of the story, if the tale revolved around him and the house more it would have added greatly to the lush feeling it was so desperately missing. I also felt that so many things were introduced but never finished, and the story was jumping around very randomly. And Ethan is not a boy, he's a girl, there is no way a man would act and think that way, the authors might be surrounded by brothers but that had nothing to do with the story. Even a little description how he looked would have helped, Lena had the treatment but not Ethan; just because he tells the story doesn't mean he should be a blank canvas, creating a pure and beautiful character is one thing, but making them unrealistic is another. Also the title doesn't fit, it makes the cover look pretty but it doesn't do much for the tale.

I liked the very ending (last page) because it was nicely crafted and certainly let the book end on an intense note, the climax however was written for a five year old, the build up would have been better if one of the resolutions wasn't so laughable. The bad guys were so translucent and non-threatening that I can't even begin to describe how fast it made the story fall in front of my eyes. All talk and no action. This review might seem harsh but the book has a lot of promise, or at least the story does, and I think if handled properly it can blossom, on the good note it's a very fast read, I didn't feel much dragging going on and that's impressive in itself.

- Kasia S.

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More Beautiful Creatures reviews
review by . December 29, 2010
I have mixed feelings about this book. I'll start with the positive. The story was very unique and compelling, there were a lot of wonderful background characters, the setting was great. My favorite aspect of Beautiful Creatures was the dark and mysterious southern gothic feel to it, the scenery, the overall "feel" of the south was beautifully expressed in every chapter. Both the mysterious air of the cypress and magnolia filled landscape as well as the small town snobbish nature of …
review by . August 06, 2010
Review: Beautiful Creatures is a lovely debut, and a great example of two authors working together almost seamlessly.    Ethan's voice is very impressive, and I'm in shock at how well Stohl and Garcia write together. At times I almost forgot that two authors even wrote BC.     The story all starts when Lena moves to town, but it doesn't really get going until Lena and Ethan start hanging out and slowly become friends. Everything gets interesting when the town …
review by . May 05, 2010
Beautiful Creatures was a very addictive read. I truly enjoyed reading through Ethan's point-of-view. I found it very refreshing considering that most YA is written through a females perspective.    I was taken in by the star-crossed lover-esque feel of the story... girl is a Caster - boy is just a mere human. What will they do? I enjoyed the Southern feel of the story - as you read it you can hear that southern drawl. The setting was well-defined and very fitting to the story. …
review by . February 06, 2010
PJV's Quickie POV: Beautiful Creatures paints a captivating picture of young love and heart-break that had me engrossed from the beginning. The tone is rich and wet and full of southern elegance. While not the best YA novel I've read all year, it did live up to the hype. Very much enjoyed this book and you definitely should mark this as a must read if you haven't already.    Review: Ethan Wate is stuck in a world that he desperately wants to be rid of. The world is Gaitlan, small-town, …
review by . January 31, 2010
Ethan Wate has been counting down the months until he can escape small town Gatlin and the thinking that goes along with it. He hates that everyone knows everyone else's business and that the only thing to look forward to each year is a Civil War reenactment. But everything changes when Lena Duchannes moves to town. From the start, Lena doesn't fit in, and from the first time Ethan sees her, he knows that he shares a connection with this unusual girl. But the closer the two get, the closer Lena's …
review by . December 08, 2009
Only two kinds of people live in Gatlin, South Carolina: the stupid and the stuck. The others move on to better places. The Wates live there because they always have. They live there even though recent years have brought the family more bad memories than good.    Ethan Wate isn't stupid and he has no intention of being stuck. Gatlin isn't a complicated place. The neighbors keep watch from their porches in the unbearable heat, but nothing ever changes because there are no surprises …
review by . December 06, 2009
Beautiful Creatures encompasses a variety of things from a historic small southern town, to some great family stories to a romance to the supernatural. I would say my favorite things about the book were the setting and history, and Lena's family.    There is a passage in the book that describes the town preparing for their Civil War reenactment that I really enjoyed. I love learning the rich history of old towns and seeing a community come together over something. I also loved …
review by . November 02, 2009
Gatlin County, South Carolina is perhaps the dullest place on Earth, and Ethan Wate cannot wait to get out it. To him, it's as familiar and ordinary as a shoe. But then Lena Duchanes arrives to stay with her uncle Macon Ravenwood, the town's shut-in, and her uniqueness is met with opposition. But Ethan feels as if he knows her, and knows they have an inexplicable connection. It's as he and Lena grow closer that Ethan discovers that Gatlin is harboring a lot of secrets, and that by getting involved …
About the reviewer
Kasia S. ()
Ranked #224
   I’m a total book lover; it eclipses all other hobbies, mainly of the horror genre that embraces all the things that make one sleep with their back to the wall. Horror is a lush terrain … more
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About this book


Ethan Wate is struggling to hide his apathy for his high school "in" crowd in small town Gatlin, South Carolina, until he meets the determinedly "out" Lena Duchannes, the girl of his dreams (literally--she has been in his nightmares for months). What follows is a smart, modern fantasy--a tale of star-crossed lovers and a dark, dangerous secret.Beautiful Creaturesis a delicious southern Gothic that charms you from the first page, drawing you into a dark world of magic and mystery until you emerge gasping and blinking, wondering what happened to the last few hours (and how many more you're willing to give up). To tell too much of the plot would spoil the thrill of discovery, and believe me, you will want to uncover the secrets of this richly imagined dark fantasy on your own. --Daphne Durham

Amazon Exclusive Interview with Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Authors of Beautiful Creatures

What does your writing process look like? Is it tough to write a book together? Did you ever have any knock-down drag-out fights over a plot point or character trait?

Margie: The best way to describe our writing process is like a running stitch. We don't write separate chapters, or characters. We pass the draft back and forth constantly, and we actually write over each other's work, until we get to the point where we truly don't know who has written what.

Kami: By the end of the book, we don't even know. The classic example is when I said, "Marg, I really hate that line. It has to go." And she ...

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ISBN-10: 0316042676
ISBN-13: 978-0316042673
Author: Kami Garcia
Genre: Teens
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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