Friday, 18 January 2013

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Published January 1st 2013 by Puffin Books (first published March 31st 2001)
ISBN 0141346140 (ISBN13: 9780141346144)

Blurb: "There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

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."

I'm not really sure what I think about this book. I enjoyed reading it and I really liked that the story was told from the guy's point of view, it made a welcome change from the usual 'I'm a girl, I have powers, I don't feel like I fit in' type book (although I do enjoy those too). However, the story took a long time to really get going and I was never completely engrossed by the characters or their situation. It felt like they went round in circles a lot.

Lena: I'm going to turn evil and there's nothing I can do to stop it.
Ethan: I love you anyway but we'll find a way to stop it.
Lena: My family won't tell me anything and I'm going to turn evil like my cousin who used to be my best friend. I just want to be normal.
Ethan: I like that you're different from everyone else. We'll find some solution. Everyone else is an idiot.

This is pretty much how the whole story goes, while adding in a few ancestors who had the same issues and caused the curse and crazy families in the present. I just think that this book would have been a lot better if they condensed the story a bit. On the plus side though, the characters benefited from the book being so long as you knew a lot about their thoughts and feelings.

Having said all of this, I did like Ethan and Lena and I did grow to care about what happened to them. Lena's cousin Ridley was an interesting character and definitely added a lot to the story. While her uncle Macon (whose name I never figured out how to read in my head - does it sound like bacon or the french maison? Does anybody know?), with his dog Boo Radley, were enigmatic and added more mystery and glamour to the plot.

As I have said, while there were parts of this book that I didn't like, I did really enjoy the idea behind the book and the question of fate versus choice. In the end I would probably give this book 6.5 out of 10. Did anyone else feel the same way about it?

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