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Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia
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Apr 14, 12

bookshelves: reviewed-in-2012
Read in January, 2010

reviewed by Angela

Ethan Wate is a sixteen year old who is bored in his hometown of Gatlin, South Carolina and dreams of other places and where he’ll go after he graduates. He recently lost his mother in an accident and his father has disappeared into his study, barely present for mealtimes. Amma, the town card reader, pretty much raises Ethan and makes sure that he is fed and in school. During summer break, Ethan begins to have dreams that feel real about a beautiful girl who definitely does not live in Gaitlin.

On the first day of school, there is talk about a new girl, Lena Duchannes, who has moved in with the town recluse, Macon Ravenwood. Once Ethan sees Lena, he’s shocked to see that she is the girl in his dreams. Lena resists their friendship at first, but she cannot deny the pull her and Ethan have towards each other. As their relationship develops, Lena confides that she is no ordinary girl, but in fact comes from a family of casters, supernatural beings, and her sixteenth birthday is a pivotal moment in her life that will decide if she goes light or dark, good or bad. As the countdown to her birthday winds down, Lena and Ethan try to uncover the truth of why her sixteenth birthday is so important and if there is anything they can do to stop the predestined events.

I was really excited to read Beautiful Creatures as a number of my friends have read it and really liked it. I am sad to say that I was disappointed. I enjoyed the concept and storyline and I do think it will make an entertaining movie. The writing, however, left something to be desired. The book was way too long and could have been shortened at least 50+ pages by not repeating details and not having Ethan ramble on in his thoughts so much. It is also written in a stereotypical Southern accent with words spelled phonetically which made it problematic when trying to figure out the meaning of the sentence and where to place emphasis. I myself am a Southern woman so I am familiar with the cadence of the accent and I still had trouble with the book. This accent will be fine in a movie, but to read it phonetically was problematic. Lastly, a number of times the author put in references to hurricane season in regards to strange weather that was occurring. Again, I live in an area very much on hurricane watch and hurricanes don’t just pop up and create odd weather without warning and while South Carolina has been directly hit by hurricanes, it’s not that common, certainly not enough to put that much emphasis on hurricane season. So while the concept is good, the writing could have been improved greatly. I plan on reading the subsequent books in this series and I am hoping they’ve cleaned those books up.
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