Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Review: Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles #2)

Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles #2)
Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.
(Cover & Description from Goodreads. Source.)
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Publication Date: October 12,

Kat's Review

Every now and then a series comes along that breaks the mold.  I feel like this is one of those series, and I'm kicking myself for not having jumped on these books when they were first released.  The writing is beautiful, the setting is atmospheric, and the characters are so complex and intriguing that I just can't put these books down. 

After the horrific events that ended the last book, in which Lena loses her beloved Uncle but manages to put off having to choose between light and dark, we begin this book to find Lena suffering the loss of her Uncle and feeling enormous guilt at having caused his death.  Her guilt and internal turmoil are so strong that she is pushing Ethan away, and he feels their relationship crumbling.  Rather than holding onto him for support, Lena is doing everything in her power to break the connection.

When Ethan goes on a quest to help Lena, he is introduced to Liv, the British girl studying at the library to be a guardian of Caster secrets.  The more Lena pushes Ethan away, the closer he gets to Liv, and he begins to wonder what life would be like with a normal girl, a girl without powers that would kill him if he got too close.  At first I didn't like this angle, but the more I read, the more it made sense.  His relationship with Lena was so complicated, so difficult, that it would be normal for a teenage boy to wonder if it's all worth it.  Ethan is committed to helping Lena though, and along with Liv and Link, he sets out to find her. 

I honestly love just about everything in these books.  I love that the characters are more complicated than they appear to be at first glance.  I love that relationships run deep and loyalties mean something.  I love that the line between good and evil, light and dark, is blurry.  That people can make unexpected choices and go against their nature.  I also really admire the way each book has a complete story arc, yet ends in a way that makes me want to dive into the next book immediately.

Rating: All Consuming

When I read this book, I didn't want to do anything else.  I thought about it when I wasn't reading it, and stayed up late to read just one more chapter, until one more chapter turned into three or four more chapters.  If you haven't started this series, I highly recommend it. 

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