I have to confess that my friend Mel has been telling me I needed to read this book/series for a few years. I kept meaning to. Then as more books cameI have to confess that my friend Mel has been telling me I needed to read this book/series for a few years. I kept meaning to. Then as more books came out, I bargained with myself and said I'd start reading them once the series was finished. When Beautiful Redemption came out, I knew it was time for me to buckle down and follow through and start the series. Then I saw the trailer for the Beautiful Creatures movie, and I knew it was time for me to get a move on it because I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie, which looks also. So here I am.
In Beautiful Creatures, Ethan Wate has been dreaming of a girl who's face he's never seen and left longing for someone different in a town that "never changes."
When Lena Duchannes arrives in Gatlin, it's immediately obvious that she's different. As the niece of the town shut in, she's immediately considered an outcast, but that doesn't stop Ethan from being drawn to her--especially after he realizes she is the girl from his dreams.
As Ethan learns more about Lena and her family, he discovers that there is much more to Gatlin than he ever knew. As Lena's birthday approaches, they struggle to find a way for Lena to escape the curse that was placed upon her family.
I have to admit that Beautiful Creatures wasn't at all what I was expecting. I really liked that the story was told almost completely from Ethan's point of view. He had a very distinct voice and a real likability. His family suffered the loss of his mother some months earlier, and it was clear they were broken because of it. Ethan's dad was quite absent, but he had Amma, who has been his nanny for many years and "raised" his father before him.
Lena comes from a family with supernatural powers and abilities. They are known as Casters. She has moved from place to place, living with various family members who are trying to keep her safe until her sixteenth birthday when she will be claimed as either light or dark. Lena's terrified of turning dark, like her cousin and former best friend Ridley did. On top of Lena's fear of her claiming, the kids at school are less than inviting.
There are several more characters involved in the story, and I thought they were really well drawn. Everyone brought something different to the story, and I really appreciated that. I liked seeing the different relationships Ethan and Lena had with these people. Among these characters, my favorites were probably Macon, Ridley and Link.
As someone who grew up in and still lives in a small town, I could definitely relate to Ethan's feelings about Gatlin in the beginning of the story. For Ethan, it felt like the middle of nowhere, and nothing ever seemed to change. The best way to survive high school seemed to be to stick to the status quo until he could leave town. On that level, I could really appreciate the setting.
I found myself really fascinated with the history of Gatlin, and I enjoyed how the past was so much a part of the setting. It felt really layered, especially as Ethan started to learn more about the secrets of Gatlin because there was so much more to the town than what was found on the surface.
For the most part I felt like the writing was really solid. Considering it's also a collaborative effort, I thought it all flowed together seamlessly. The story is very long, though, and there were times when I felt like the story dragged a bit toward the middle. It felt like there was a lot of repetition when Lena and Ethan were trying to learn more about the curse. I could appreciate that it was to emphasize they were stuck, but it just felt a bit redundant.
Other than that, I really have no complaints. The story was really well developed with a lot of layers, and I like when a story has a lot going on without it feeling like unnecessary subplots have been added to fill in the gaps.
I also really enjoyed the world building. I like stories that are able to combine reality with the paranormal, and Beautiful Creatures does that so well. I can't wait to read more of this series and see what happens next. ...more
Molly Harper never fails to disappoint. This is yet another great addition to the world of Half Moon Hollow. Nola and Jed were awesome new characters,Molly Harper never fails to disappoint. This is yet another great addition to the world of Half Moon Hollow. Nola and Jed were awesome new characters, but the lovable characters from the Jane Jameson series are present. ...more