Title: Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles #2)
Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Version Read: paperback (library)
Publication Date: September 19th, 2011
Categories: fantasy, magic, paranormal, romance, urban-fantasy, witches, young adult
Summary (Goodreads): 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.
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.
Thankfully, this book didn’t suffer from second-novel syndrome. It answered questions that were raised in Beautiful Creatures, and raised some more to be answered in the next one. Ethan and the gang had themselves some adventures in Beautiful Darkness.
I appreciated the fact that the authors didn’t just make Lena stay the same as she had been before after the events in the previous novel. Beautiful Darkness gave us a deeper look in to the pull of Light and Dark on Lena, and how she felt about having to choose to declare herself one of the other, particularly at the expense of half her family. It obviously affected her quite a lot, and the fact that she felt quite guilty about Macon, and what happened to Ethan as well, was very apparent.
There was a few things revealed about Ethan’s mum, and about Macon that sort of come out of the blue for me, and I felt as confused as Ethan when we found out these things. That said, it certainly explained a few things. Also the whole thing with Ethan being a ‘Wayward’ was a little wonky, although I guess it explained why he could do things that Mortals weren’t supposed to be able to do.
One of my favourite things about this was the Tunnels. They are like a characters within themselves really, and gave a ‘Alice in Wonderland’ feel to parts of the second half of Beautiful Darkness. I was also glad to see Ridley back, because I think in spite of herself she is a very multi-faceted character, and I hope to see more of her in the next one. Liv was also an interesting new development.
As much as I liked Beautiful Darkness, if you didn’t like Beautiful Creatures then I definitely wouldn’t recommend you read this, because some of the sappier parts of the first one, particularly the whole ‘destined/tormented lovers’ part, was stilll quite heavily woven into the plot. The plot wouldn’t make much sense without it either though.