Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Title: Beautiful Darkness
Authors: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Little Brown
Publish Date: October 12, 2010
Genre: YA, fantasy
Pages: 503
Series: Caster Chronicles
1. Beautiful Creatures (mini review)
2. Beautiful Darkness
3. Untitled (pub 2011)
4. Untitled (expected pub 2012)

Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.

(Warning: minor spoilers if you haven't read Beautiful Creatures)

BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS deals with the aftermath of what happens at the end of BEAUTIFUL CREATURES. Unlike most sequels where they deal with the issue at the end of the first in the beginning of the second, the whole of BD is spent dealing with the issue. Lena is pulling away from Ethan and he doesn’t know why. I sympathized a lot with Ethan in this book and felt bad for him. Lena was basically making him feel like crap and he had no idea what was going on. I think he’s a loveable character who is really sweet and it hurt to see him so upset.

Lena was kinda a bitch on the other hand. I understand that she was going through crap, too, but that doesn’t mean she can be a shitty girlfriend. When Ethan needed her most, she was never there, which irritated me because he’d never do that to her. This whole book is evidence of that. And then when Ethan became friends with a new girl in town, Lena blew up when she saw them together at the fair. Uh, hello?? Of course he’s hanging out with other people because you’re ignoring him. She was really selfish and you could say it’s her way of “protecting him” from herself, but there are nicer ways to do it. And clearly, that way didn't work, so why not try a different tactic? I guess I just didn’t like her much this time around.

As much as I love Ethan and felt bad for him, the plot of this story kind of fell flat for me. Compared to the first book, where it was really fast paced and there was a lot happening, BD was very slow and I find myself looking back, thinking “What really happened?” The whole story is building up to the ending, and for a 500 page book, that can drag on after a little while. There were moments where I found myself flipping the pages quickly in an exciting moment, and then we’d be back down to the slow and laborious.

This book was a lot more of “let’s think and figure this stuff out” as it worked toward the end, rather than “OMG this is so exciting.” Unfortunately, when it was figured out and the ending came, it was really anticlimactic for me. About halfway through the book I realized what was going to have to happen at the end and when it did, it was just kind of like “oh, well I knew that already” because there wasn’t much else to it. Maybe I’m so used to twist endings that, because there wasn’t one here, I didn’t enjoy it as much.

I started this book really excited about what was going to happen. But now I feel like this book was more of a filler book than a real development kind of book. It introduced new characters and set up the perfect place for the third one to start, however, compared to the first, which was heavy on adventure, suspense, and romance, this one didn’t quite fit the bill. Maybe my expectations were too high after the first, but this one was just too low key and slow paced for me to really enjoy it.

The Book Depository

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