Review: Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1) – Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Release Date: December 1st 2009
Published By: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 563
Audiobook: 17 hours and 10 minutes
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list

Rating: 3 out of 5

Synopsis: 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.

Review: I feel so torn only rating this book 3 stars. I liked Beautiful Creatures. I just didn’t love it. And for a novel where a lot of the story is a countdown and they’re waiting, it just seemed like a HUGE monster of a novel, and perhaps the story could have been told more concisely instead of going on and on..

I listened to the audiobook version of this book, which generally speaking I quite enjoyed. The reader did quite a good job of Ethan Wate, but I did expect him to be a little more southern sounding than he actually was.

Okay so I’m going to start with the things I really liked about Beautiful Creatures:

  • Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl did a fantastic job of describing the setting of this book. The atmosphere was spot on, they nailed this. I really felt like we were in the south, and I could see Gatlin around me. This was probably one of my favourite parts of this book.
  • The sound effects used in the audiobook were quite good, lots of storm and rain sound effects, and the 16 Moons song featured throughout as well which I think enhanced the listeners experience of the book overall.
  • The overall story itself, Lena being a caster who will either go light or dark on her 16th birthday, her family, her connection to Ethan and their dreams, I thought was told in a way that created some intrigue and kept the suspense up. I found myself wanting to know what was going to happen, and so I kept listening. It definitely engaged me.

The parts I didn’t enjoy so much:

  • The length of the book… or in this case audiobook. OMG. 17 hours. Seriously. This was epic. And I don’t mind a book being huge if it serves a purpose and is complex and multi faceted and layered with plots and sub plots. I love being sucked into a book like that. But Beautiful Creatures didn’t have that much going on beside the main plot. What you see is what you get with this book. And that just made me feel as though there was no actual reason why a story that in my opinion was quite simple at heart, couldn’t have been told in a more concise way. There is definitely parts of this book that dragged or seemed to take ages to get through.
  • Some of the side characters were a little stereotypical, like the high school girls being all Christian like and wanting to kick Lena out of the school for being different. I just thought some of this was a little bit cheesy for my liking and at times lacked authenticity which I need in my characters (even in a paranormal fiction, yes!).

Overall though, I am giving this three stars, because I was still interested to know what was going to happen. It definitely had it’s flaws, but I find myself considering reading the other books in this series eventually if for nothing else to find out what happens in the rest of the series.

Quotes:

“The right thing and the easy thing are never the same.”

“I never loved you any more than I do, right this second. And I’ll never love you any less than I do, right this second.”

“Mortals. I envy you. You think you can change things. Stop the universe. Undo what was done long before you came along. You are such beautiful creatures.”

“Even lost in the darkness, my heart will find you.”

Book Trailer:

What do you think?

  • Oh my gosh I totally agree with you about this. Well, I can’t quite remember the first one really well to be honest, but I struggled SO HARD with the second one and now I’m dragging through the third one.

    I don’t know why I keep reading this series, I just feel like I somehow accidentally made it this far, so I should at least try to read the book and a half that I have left.

    And they are SO LONG. I don’t mind reading 500-page books, but I feel like it’s so unnecessary in this series. And that’s probably why it drags so much.

    If you only rated the third one 3 stars, I would suggest you not keep going with the second one. I regretted it so much, haha. And a lot of people say that the second is the worst of the series. I agreed with them at the time, but now I think it’s the third one!

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