14 October, 2010

Book Review: Beautiful Creatures

Title: Beautiful Creatures
Author(s): Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Genre: Paranormal
Page Count: 563
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Cover Rating: 3.5 out of 5. Not bad . . . just a little too dark. I love the font (who wouldn't?) and I like the trees, but the background is black. I don't tend to like solid black backgrounds, and it's actually sort of plain.

Inside flap:

There were no surprises
in Gatlin County.
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 town 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 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.

My expectations: I read somewhere that this book was like Twilight. I hate Twilight. But I'd also heard some things that were contradictory to that opinion, so I was mixed-close-to-pessimistic.

It was better than I had anticipated.

About the book: It isn't really like Twilight. Sure, there are similarities, but not really significant ones. It was a bit slow for me, and I found there was a lack of description that made everything feel a little truncated despite the length.

Another thing I found was that when Lena told Ethan she was basically a witch, (literally) I ran into the same problem that a lot of books have--Ethan's reaction felt fake and he accepted Lena's statements too easily. If someone told me they had powers that were out-of-this-world, I'd stare at them, nod calmly, steer them toward the door and politely smile and say it was nice to talk to them, then hope they say "Gotcha!" the next day, or call the mental health specialists. I mean, it's like everyone's having a gullibility crisis these days. They're don't seem to have a really strong connection with . . . reality. I know, I'm probably sounding weird talking about reality when this is paranormal, but really--would someone who was actually confronted with these things act like that?

  • Plot:

I expected it to turn out differently than it did. I found it slow, as I said before, but it wasn't terrible. I found the flashbacks to the Civil War times interesting, and some of the twists were a surprise.

  • Characters:

Ethan is not a bad protagonist. He reads, he plays basketball, he wants to get out of the small-town life and strike it somewhere else. Living in a (fairly) small town myself at the moment, I empathized with needing to get away from the gossip-channel-no-one-conceals-anything hype.

Lena I didn't get attracted to at all. It's like "Doom and gloom and I'm going to just DIE!" throughout the whole darn book. I was like, "C'mon, girl! Get a SPINE!" while I read more of her tirades on how things were just horrible. *sighs* Not every MC can be perfect, I know, but she just seemed like such a whiner and somewhat weak.

Macon Ravenwood was intriguing. He wasn't what I expected, I later found out, but he was more 3-dimensional than a lot of them--go, Macon!

  • Setting/Elements:

I enjoyed the references to To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, although if you haven't read the book or know the basics, you'll probably get confused during parts. There are a lot of names, comments, and other sorts of back-and-forth between the characters that have to do with To Kill A Mockingbird.

I also found the small-Southern-town attitude a plus. I'm not saying I agree with the Daughters of the Revolution, the NRA, or sympathize with the Confederacy, but I found the added aspect to the environment something you don't see much in YA Fiction, which is always good in my book.

Other: Language: b- possible s- (don't remember everything) words every once in a while, kissing, and I hope you know what an incubus is.

Took me a while to figure out what they meant by the title--there are no werewolves, vampires, or other paranormal creatures. Just (human) witches. I think they could have titled this something else just as easily, but I suppose it fits well enough.

Do I recommend this book? This is probably getting a lot of a attention because of the recent release of Beautiful Darkness, so if you want to know what it's all about, then go ahead and read it. But it also depends on what you like. I say, read if it's available at the library and/or you think it's something that will appeal to your tastes. :)

-----The Golden Eagle


Hannah Kincade said...

I almost checked it out but there's so much paranormal romance out there right now, I have to take it in doses. I may check it out eventually. I'm not in a big rush though.

I didn't hate Twilight but I am definitely not a fan of the series. And yes, I've read them all. Sigh.

C. N. Nevets said...

@G'Eagle - Thanks for calling attention to the gullibility crisis plaguing the people of our literature. Drives me insane. Pretty much renders it unreadable to me, or at least turns a read into a skim.

Theresa Milstein said...

I've been drawn to the font too. Amazon keeps recommending this book to me. Thank you for the thorough review. I am not a fan of Twilight and would've been hesitant to read this book because of the comparison as well.

I have to be careful of gullibility in my writing too. There's always a paranormal element that needs to be revealed, so I'm always pushing skepticism on the characters.

Cinette said...

I'm writing a paranormal YA piece myself, and I'm struggling with the 'gullibility' issue. So far, I have the M.C.'s girlfriend from the sandbox accepting it, but her potential love interest doesn't. It didn't feel right to have others simply say "Cool."

N. R. Williams said...

Good review. Thanks for your comment on my blog today. After I thought about that post I said to myself, "What was I thinking?" Next time I'm sick, I'll keep the evil girl away from my post. She only remembers the sad stuff in my life.

So I redid number 2.

To everyone, I am fully aware that I have no dark girl hidden in me, it's just my sick miserable self.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Darlyn said...

I have to admit, I am surprised you gave it 3.5/5!Seems that it is my first time someone gave it 3. All along whenever I read the book review they give 4 to 5. I myself gave it 5! LOL. it's great to some people don't actually agreed on what we think and i think it's cool.thanks for your honest review =0

Misha1989 said...

Glad to find a Twilight hater! I felt like the only one !
I completely agree with your review of the book. It was a slow-mover and Ethan's reaction to Lena's revelation was so unrealistic.At times, Ethan seemed very feminine to me .

Alison said...

Good review. I really loved this book, but I know a lot of people who didn't. I liked that it was slow moving, but I was reading it on an e-reader and I think that affected how much the pace bothered me.
Alison Can Read

The Golden Eagle said...

Hannah: There is a lot of Paranormal, but there are some better books in the genre, like The Gemma Doyle Trilogy. (I love that series.)

I have, too. Breaking Dawn irritated me the most--the ending was too perfect. :P

C. N. Nevets: It can set the tone for me, too; if the characters' emotions don't go deep enough, I find my expectations dip.

Theresa: Characters aren't skeptical enough these days; their lives might be hard, but they're often too accepting.

Cinette: Indeed! "Cool!" is all well and good when it comes to music, but not really when it comes to a life-changing secret.

Nancy: I hope you feel better, Nancy! Being sick is no fun. :(

Darlyn: I can be pretty critical when it comes to books; sometimes I wonder if I'm being too harsh on a recently-read novel.

Misha1989: I'm sure we're not the only ones out there! ;)

Ethan did seem feminine at times; it almost would have worked if the authors had switched the positions around.

Alison: I don't have an e-reader, so I can't say how an electronic would affect my reading, but more to you if you enjoyed it! :)