Friday, March 15, 2013

Beautiful Creatures

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.

*May Contain Spoilers*

After seeing the movie and learning a book series borne it, I just knew that Beautiful Creatures would enchant me. Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl did an excellent job creating a world where real witches live and curses have the power to breathe. 

The entire novel (except one chapter near the end) is from Ethan's POV. He's a boy stuck in a small town with dreams of escaping. He's tired of the normal, mundane, stereotypical setting. Ethan is a strong character. He shows deep resolve, holding advanced beliefs and demonstrating logical concepts for his young age (16).  The realizations Ethan arrive at show how advanced he is, not only for an adolescent but for society as a whole. He coincides with the open minded and accepting society where as his peers fall into their respective societal roles. Readers will connect with him through his actions and his thoughts. His narration is brutally honest, giving readers a chance to be in Ethan's shoes. 

Readers learn a lot about Lena through Ethan. As a caster, Lena is the black sheep of society. She comes to symbolize all that is unknown, and therefore is seen as frightening and unacceptable. Readers will be amazed at her ability to connect with those who stand against her. She will gain adoration, respect, and understanding as she faces a society who would rather throw her out than try to commiserate. 

The plot of the novel focuses on Lena's family curse. When she turns 16, her fate will be chosen and she will either become light (good) or dark (evil). Ethan is determined that she will be light while everyone else is afraid she'll fall into the shadows. As the days count down, Lena and Ethan begin to realize that some things cannot be stopped, some curses cannot be changed, and some decisions cannot be avoided. 

Rating: 4.5/5

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