Monday, May 12, 2014

Review: Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We decided to read this book for book club after seeing what we thought was a pretty silly movie. I’m a sucker for good YA paranormal stories and since this series appeared to get much better reviews as a book than the movie, we decided to give it a shot. For the record, the book is significantly better than the movie. If the movie is stopping you from reading this series, you should give it a shot and see for yourself.

This is a love story between two teenagers set in the south. It was a nice change of pace to be reading from the guy’s perspective as opposed to the more common teenage girl one. Ethan is a very likable teenage boy with aspirations to move out of the small town he’s known all his life. His experience through books has broadened his horizons and his parents helped to ensure he doesn’t get stuck in the prevalent small town mindset. He’s pretty sure he knows where he’s going (anywhere but his hometown) until Lena shows up at school. Since she’s staying with the town shut-in, it’s an easy assumption to make that she won’t be the most popular girl at school. To Ethan, though, she stands out in a good way. She’s a free thinker, doesn’t appear to care what the other students think, and she doesn’t make fun of him for his love of reading.

The love story would be relatively ordinary if not for the twist that Lena is descended from a line of “casters.” This book uses caster as a term to define the magically inclined group of people that have a wide variety of talents. Some of them can shape shift, some can heal, some can read faces – the list goes on and on, with each person’s powers as unique as the person themselves. Throughout all of this, Ethan and Lena are your typical paranormal star-crossed lovers. They hide their relationship from their families for a little bit, are persecuted at school for it, and are doomed by some mysterious prophecy and scary dreams.

There were a lot of really interesting characters we got introduced to in this first installment, but not so many that it was overwhelming. It dragged a little bit in the beginning (for me) because of the world building that needed to be done. Once the book hit 50%, it really took off. There was a lot of action and mystery that built to a really nice ending. While we don’t get all our answers in this one, it was a solid foundation for future books. I’m glad I took the chance on this book.

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