Bookmarks: “Beautiful Creatures” by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
As the Twilight era ends, another teen paranormal romance surfaces to take its place.
Say hello to “Beautiful Creatures,” which has already been turned into a movie. After seeing the trailer in theaters, I couldn’t help but be slightly intrigued. Curious, and a little scared, I picked up the novel, thinking that nothing could be as bad as Twilight. After all, there’s a reason everyone likes it, right?
Written by novelists Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, “Beautiful Creatures” is set in Gaitlin, a fictional town in South Carolina. Here, everyone is obsessed with the Civil War, in which most of the families’ ancestors fought.
Our protagonist, Ethan Wate, has been stuck there his whole life, and simply wants out. (I would too, though. The town doesn’t even have a Starbucks.) Not to mention his mother died last year, rendering his father inconsolable and leaving Ethan’s only true guardian to be his nanny. To top it all off, he’s been dreaming about a girl he’s never met.
This girl turns out to be the heroine of the story, Lena Duchannes. Lena is the new girl in town who has come to live with her Uncle Macon Ravenwood. He’s the Boo Radley of Gaitlin. The town, naturally, isn’t accepting of him, even though he hardly comes out of his house.
Then again, I wouldn’t come out of my house either, if it changed appearance every two seconds, and had a kitchen that cooked for me.
Lena is portrayed as different from what women Ethan generally sees in his small, narrow-minded town. She has black hair, pale skin and startling green eyes. She also happens to be an orphan.
I guess Ethan hasn’t been out that much. Or read any Young Adult novels.
In any case, through her association with Ravenwood, Lena becomes an outsider. But Ethan soon finds he doesn’t care.
Throughout the novel, he moves away from social tradition, all to be with Lena. Doing so creates conflict at the school, since everyone is determined to drive her away.
Of course, he doesn’t only have the high school politics to contend with, which can be hard enough on their own.
Lena is a Caster, or a witch, who, on her 16th birthday will be claimed as either a member of the Light or Dark. Creating even more problems for her are two Dark witches, one of which is her cousin.
In truth, the book definitely has some interesting elements in it. The magic system is different than normal, although it tends to be extravagant, and the novel portrays a generally healthy relationship.
For some reason, I can’t bring myself to like this book. Maybe it was the over the top disciplinary hearing. Maybe it was the cliché dance scene.
Maybe it was the fact that Lena is a generally mopey character. And then there are the unbearable flashbacks, which the authors put in to reveal the “dark secrets” of Lena and Ethan’s entwined pasts.
But mostly, it is because by end of the book, absolutely nothing is resolved. Turning the last page leaves nothing but a dead cliffhanger that practically brings the reader back to the very beginning of the book.
All in all, “Beautiful Creatures” was an easy read, but not a good book. The scenes were overdramatic and the characters rather cliché. If you’re looking for a diversion and not a lot of thinking, this is the book for you!
And if you liked Twilight, well, it’s a step up at least.
And if you really enjoy it, there are three other books, and a movie franchise to keep you occupied.