Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures
by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
The Caster Chronicles, book one
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. (description from
Okay, I have to admit it. This was one of those books that sat on my book shelf for years, literally years waiting to be read. I got this in ARC form from BEA the very first time I went.  In a ginormous pile of books that there was no real way that I could read in a timely manner... before I learned to not take everything in sight... and it wasn't at the top of my "OMG, I need to read this right now list" so it kept getting put aside.
Since then, I have had plenty of teens tell me how great the series is and we get requests for them at the library all the time, but it wasn't until I started seeing info for the movie that I thought to myself, "Gee, I should really finally read that." I even have copies of the ARCs for books two and three that I picked up at subsequent BEAs!
So, in an effort to fulfill two of my reading resolutions this year - to clear books off of my endless TBR shelves and to read JUST FOR FUN - I picked this one up right at the beginning of the year.  I also desperately want to see the movie and felt like I would be guilty seeing it without reading the book first... LOL.
I actually enjoyed this one.  It's not my favorite series opener, but that's partly due to the fact that I'm not a real witch book reader.  I love magic in stories, things like Harry Potter, but for some reason when the people are openly called witches, it just hits a switch in my brain that says, eh. Weird. Anyway, I loved the atmosphere of this book. It's Southern Gothic and yet it also manages to be modern.  The flashbacks to the earlier generations and the way that Southerners hold so strongly to their heritage definitely give this effect.
I liked Lena and her awakening powers. I liked Ethan. I liked the supporting characters. I thought they were all quirky and kept my interest going throughout the whole story. I was amazed how quickly I got through this 600 page book. As I delved further into the story and had my suspicions about who was really good or bad or well... the pages just kept turning.  Other than having to lug the gigantic book around, I almost forgot how long it was.
As I said, although this is not my favorite new series, I am very excited to see the movie now.  There is something about this storyline that just translates to the screen, I think. I can totally see the larger than life magic and the epic good versus evil struggle making for an epic movie! I'll let you all know what I think once I've actually seen it. 
Full disclosure: ARC received at BEA in 2009

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