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Review: Beautiful Creatures

June 9, 2011

Title: Beautiful Creatures
Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 563
Release Date: December 1, 2009

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.–Goodreads

So there were a couple things about Beautiful Creatures that really surprised me:

1. It’s from a boy’s perspective! I guess that because the jacket copy starts with Lena, I just assumed she’d be the narrator. But NOPE! I was very pleasantly surprised by the male voice and really, really liked Ethan as my narrator. Yay BOYS!

2. The density of the Southern-ness. This book is SO SOUTHERN. The speech, the food, the superstition, the fashion, the attitudes, the heritage–all of it is spot on. The setting feels so damn authentic that I actually Googled to find out if Gatlin, SC is a real place. It isn’t. 😦

Other than the setting and ambience of the book, I super enjoyed this, which surprised me. I’ve been on a, well, not an ANTI paranormal kick, but a reluctant-to-read paranormal kick. But, every time I went to visit the ARC shelf at work, I felt like I was drawn to this particular book, so I just decided that I was going to read it.

And I am so glad that I did.

Because of the high page count, I was a little concerned that I’d get burnt out or bored while reading this. But, as it turns out,  the plot unfolds beautifully–it’s mysterious and intriguing and gives you just enough at just the right times to keep you turning to pages. And there are definitely a couple “OMG!” moments. (e.g., when you finally find out about Macon. I did NOT see that coming!!! I was on the train coming home from the City when I read that part and I gasped so loudly that the guy next to me took his headphones off to ask if I was okay. Yeahhhhh.)

But what REALLY made me enjoy this book was the lovely use of Civil War “history” and genealogy as driving sources. Southerners are so steeped in their own history and have such a pride of place and family, that the importance placed on the history of both place and family was really the glue that made all of the other components in the book work. Had this book been just a paranormal love story set in the South, it probably would have fine, but it definitely wouldn’t have felt nearly as authentic and, in a way, real.

Overall . . . I loved Beautiful Creatures. It’s very well-thought out, it’s beautifully paced, and it’s just one of those books that is so rich and lush in both character and setting that you can get lost in it. So basically: Love it, love it, love it. I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel and spend some more time with Ethan and Lena in Gatlin!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2011 1:08 AM

    I wasn't sure about it but you convinced me to read it. I love it when books are from the boy's perspective. Sounds good!

  2. June 9, 2011 3:07 PM

    There's definitely instalove. Well, maybe not LOVE, but insta-connection, which normally bugs me, but somehow it was made more bearable for me because it was from a guy's perspective. But the Southern-ness is great and it's a fun read. If you read it, lemme know what you think!

  3. June 9, 2011 1:05 PM

    I've heard mixed things about this one, but I do like Southern settings… perhaps a summer book for me.

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