Title: Beautiful Creatures
Authors: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Published: December 2009 by Little, Brown Books
My Rating: 4 stars
Tags: YA | Romance | Paranormal
Includes: Violence, Sensuality
First Lines: There were only two kinds of people in our town. "The stupid and the stuck," my father had affectionately classified our neighbors. "The ones who are bound to stay or too dumb to go. Everyone else finds a way out."
Ethan lives in Gatlin, South Carolina: a small, Southern, historical town full of people who are all alike. His mom died last Spring so he just lives with a father that locks himself up in his study to write, and Amma the housekeeper. It's no surprise that when a new girl moves into the Ravenwood mansion, it's the talk of the town. She's living with her Uncle Macon, who is the equivalent to Boo Radley - he never comes out of his house and no one has seen his face in years. Ethan is strangely drawn to Lena and the two share a powerful connection. Together they must learn how to fight off a curse that's been running through Lena's family for generation after generation...because Lena's life may depend on it.
First of all, for a book written by two women, they absolutely blew me away at writing from a teenage guy's point of view. I personally love reading from the male perspective because it's different and usually interesting. Ethan was a great protagonist and his and Lena's characters were very much developed. I became familiar with them both almost instantly and really felt connected to them. I liked seeing their relationship grow, and it flowed smoothly. It didn't feel forced at all.
This was a nice break from the typical paranormal romance novel. For one thing, it's Lena that has the special abilities, not Ethan, the main character. I don't think that this book would fit into just one type of genre either. It felt very realistic at times, the romance was toned down (so this could be a book for either male or female I think), there was a bit of suspense, some great action scenes, and I learned a little history along the way, too. Which brings me to my next topic: the setting. I adored reading about this small Southern town and the people that inhabited it. The tiny history lessons about battles and wars involving the Confederacy and how they related to Gatlin, South Carolina were interesting. The girls who lived in Gatlin who were all alike and knew everyone's business were amusing and believable. Seeing the whole town turn their nose up at Lena because of how different she was was a shocker but I really admire how Lena handled things. She was a tough chick and a memorable character who I can't wait to read more about in the sequel.
From page 32
She tucked her dark curls behind her ear, black nail polish catching the fluorescent light. Her hands were covered with black ink, like she had written on them. She walked down the hall as if we were invisible. She had the greenest eyes I'd ever seen, so green they could've been considered some new color altogether. Macon Ravenwood's niece.
With over 500 pages, this book was no doubt a long one. At times it did drag and I think certain scenes could have been left out to keep the story flowing more smoothly. It's just that the explaining portion of the book - about Lena, her background, and her powers - took way too long. Don't get me wrong, I think the two authors are geniuses and extremely imaginative and talented writers. However, because of how creative the setup of the story was, the explanation took chapters to uncover but nonetheless was worth it in the end. I wasn't ever confused and all of my questions were answered at some point. Once I got near to the climax, my interest in the story spiked off the charts. I stayed up all night to finish the book, devouring it page to page. I don't want to spoil anything, but let's just say that I was not disappointed in the ending. It was the perfect way to leave room for the next installment.
Cover Thoughts: It's eye-catching, elegant, and unique. I like how dark and simple it is. Just like the summary, it doesn't give anything away and remains mysterious.