Title: Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1)
Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Penguin Books
Version Read: Paperback (library)
Publication Date: February 4th, 2010
Categories: fantasy, magic, paranormal, romance, urban fantasy, witches, young-adult
Summary (Goodreads): 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…
I enjoyed this. I haven’t read much ‘Gothic fiction’ before, but I thought Beautiful Creatures was beautifully crafted by the authors.
The world building, both of the town of Gatlin & Ravenwood House, but also Ethan’s internal world, was very well done. There aren’t a lot of YA romances where the viewpoint is of the male protagonist, but I think Ethan suited the role very well. He was a reliable storyteller, and his point of view was an interesting one.
Normally I think teen-romance is kind of meh, but it was well handled in Beautiful Creatures – especially since Lena wasn’t exactly happy about meeting him in the first place. But it was nice to see the relationship blossom over time, as opposed to them having known each other for about a week and going “I love you”. It was nice to see them learn things about each other and each other’s families, and for Ethan to actually fall for the real Lena, not just the one he’s being seeing in dreams.
The ‘Caster’ side of things was very interesting, and the choosing between Light versus Dark magic issue was a nice element that you don’t often see in YA fantasy. It’s usually ‘we’re the good guys, those are the bad guys’ so to discover that not everything is as it seems and that choosing to be Dark or Light is a difficult and tricky path to have to walk on, was nice to see.
There were some pacing issues, which had more to do with small parts of the plot that maybe could have been fused into other parts a little more, and a few bits edited out perhaps. Even with the plot-line being as intricate as it was, the pacing in some areas could have been a little faster.
I really want to see what happens next