Thursday, February 21, 2013

Book Review: Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1)

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1)
by
 
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.
(Cover & Description from Goodreads. Source.)
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Publication Date: December 1, 2009
 
Kat's Review
 
I have to admit, I missed the boat on this one when it was first released.  I heard the hype, but I resisted.  There are several reasons for it, one of which being that unlike many people, I am not automatically drawn to books set in the south.  I don't hate them, but I don't flock to them the way some do, whisked away by the romance of all those puffy dresses.  I'm not always comfortable with the way issues of history and race are handled, and as a result I sometimes just pick up another book instead.  There is still a very popular novel, which was turned into a very popular movie, with several very popular actors, that I haven't gone near, for those very reasons. 
 
So I asked around about those very things, and was assured that while the book didn't shy away from them, it didn't try to turn the past into something it wasn't.  So I picked up a copy of the book.
 
And I loved it.
 
The first thing I noticed was that the main character was a teenage boy.  Score one for Beautiful Creatures.  I like reading books from a male perspective.  There aren't enough of them for teens, particularly not enough love stories, in my humble opinion.  I felt a kinship with Ethan from the start, having grown up in a small town, dying to get out and see the world. 
 
The second thing I noticed was the way the fantastical was interwoven with the mundane so seamlessly that I often had to go back and reread a passage just to be sure that I understood exactly what was happening.  In a good way.  Learning what Lena was capable of, what Macon was, where Ethan and Amma and everyone else fit into the story was all enough to keep me reading far past my bedtime. 
 
Finally, the love story.  It is somewhat of an epic love story, entwined with a love story from the past, all caught up in forces outside of anyone's control.  The love that grew between the two main characters was so organic, so subtle and real that I wasn't rolling my eyes at the thought of it being true love between two sixteen year olds.  It was sweet, and strong, and yet so innocent.  The way a first love should be. 
 
Rating: All Consuming
 
I have to admit, I wasn't sure about this one before I started it.  Hype doesn't always equal quality, and many times I've picked up a hyped book to wonder what everyone is going on about, but I really fell in love with this book.  Well written, well paced, and not too sweet. 
 
I'm always wary about seeing films made from books I love though, so I'm still on the fence about going to see this one.  Any thoughts? 
 
Purchase from Amazon Beautiful Creatures
 
Purchase from Amazon.ca Beautiful Creatures
 
 
 

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