Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Beautiful Creatures - Garcia & Stohl - 2009 - YA Lit Week 9

Title: Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles # 1)
Author: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Year: 2009
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Course Theme for the Week: Speculative Fiction: Science Fiction & Fantasy (03-30-2011)
Date Read: 03-26-2011
Overall: * * * 1/2 (3.5/5)

GoodReads Blurb: 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.

My Review: I read this book as one of my two Fantasy books for my YA Lit course. I really only chose it out of convenience, since a friend of mine owned it and I didn't feel like making the trek out to the library or a store to find some of the others on the list. I spent a nice Saturday home lounging on the couch and reading this book. I was surprised with how much I enjoyed the story.

I liked the writing of Garcia & Stohl, it felt very smooth and the language didn't feel like there were two authors. The plot was alright, I'm not a big fan of "supernatural" or "paranormal" things, because I find it really difficult to get past the fact that I don't believe in any of those things, but for the most part I was able to see beyond that in this story. Ethan and Lena made a nice pair, and I felt like I understood why Lena was such a roller coaster mess half the time, it felt very believable.

I did have a few problems with this, though. First, I don't really understand that sudden change when Ethan decided that Lena should be called "L" constantly... L isn't really an initial I think works as a nickname. At all. It just felt forced, and like whoever was typing up the novel got a little lazy. Second, Ethan didn't really make sense as a boy. I mean... he seemed very much like a girl. Maybe Garcia & Stohl just aren't very good at convincingly writing from the male perspective. I don't mean the writing was bad, it just felt like I was reading from a girl's perspective the whole time. Third, I felt like Lena's "caster" family members were very typical. I knew from the first family gathering that one of them would be secretively "dark" and that their relationships would play out as they did.

This book didn't make me want to run out and grab the second in the series, but I did enjoy my Saturday reading it. I have borrowed the second one to read when I have time, though I have been told I might not enjoy it as much as the first. We'll see!

To Purchase: Amazon, B&N

Also by these authors: Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles # 2) (2010), Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles # 3) (coming in 2011)

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