Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps, and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: YA paranormal fans
High point: The gorgeous prose
Low point: The sly digs
Reader maturity: 13+
I pondered for a long time, trying to decide what to say about Beautiful Creatures. It's a novel much beloved by readers, bloggers and critics and yet...for me, it lacked a certain spark.
Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl have a way with words, for sure. Their descriptions settled me deep in the Old South, amidst kudzu, Spanish moss and decaying Gothic mansions. They have a way with a story too, weaving the past seamlessly in with the present to create a rich, full mythos.
So what didn't I like? The subtle and not-so-subtle disparaging remarks about the South pulled me from my literary journey time and time again. While many of the stereotypes are true, I didn't like the repetitive criticisms of Southern culture. It felt like Beautiful Creatures mocked the Dixie way of life in its entirety. While Southern pastimes and etiquette may seem odd to an outsider, the South is a unique place to live, with advantages and disadvantages, just like any other place.
The other thing, I think, is the narrator, Ethan. He's a great guy, to be sure, but that's exactly what put me off about him. He's a little too understanding, too patient, too...perfect. I like my fictional love interests with some flaws!
As a whole, these aren't large things to have issues with; for some reason, though, they stuck in my craw (so to Southern-speak), and I just couldn't get past them. Please don't misunderstand--the authors are fantastic writers, and if I stumble upon a copy of Beautiful Darkness, I'll read it. My feelings on Beautiful Creatures are just too mixed for me to focus on the gorgeous storytelling.
Title: Beautiful Creatures
Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Genre: Teen Fiction - Suspense
Book Source: Won from Aine's Realm