Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Ninja Reviews... Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

"There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave." - Beautiful Creatures

The small town in Gatlin, SC is starting to feel too small to Ethan Wate, who is determined to get out of town as fast as he can.  He's tired of having to put on a face to be part of the high school in-crowd.  He's tired of watching his dad slowly wither away, shutting himself into his office for days at a time.  He's tired of sympathetic looks from townsfolk who don't know what it's like to lose someone lose a mother.

But all that changes when Lena Duchannes moves to town.  Decidedly different, Lena is the girl of Ethan's dreams -- literally.  She has been part of his vivid nightmares for months now.  When she gives Ethan the time of day they both can feel the electricity between them.  What is drawing them too each other? What secret is Lena's recluse uncle hiding...the secret that could keep them apart forever?

There has been a lot of hype and reviews about this book, but I'm sad to say that Ninja Jenny did not particularly love this book.  Maybe it's because I consider myself a southerner, and a true Texas girl at that.  I don't like books that stereotype the South in a cruel way, which is what I felt Beautiful Creatures did.  Granted the authors wrote vividly, creating a believable and beautiful atmosphere throughout the book, but I just die a little inside when books set in the here-and-now depict Southerners as crazy, Confederate-flag-carrying, grits-eating, living-in-the-past morons.  It makes them Yankees think bad things about us *wink*.

The book is fairly large and has dull moments interspersed between some fantastic action, romance, and mystery solving.  The authors have to create not only the world of Gatlin but the world of Casters as well and while it is imaginative and interesting, these parts throughout the book can get a little on the long side. 

The story itself and the characters created by the authors are beautifully written and well thought out.  Even though many of them are branded with a big, red S for stereotype, each character comes off the page, easily affecting the reader.  The plot is original and crafted with care.  The last 80 pages of the book will keep you in your seat wondering what will happen next!

All in all I really liked this book, but didn't love it.  The stereotyping, length of the book, and occasional dull moments really make it impossible for me to give this book a five star review.  However, fans of paranormal romance and Gothic mystery will fall in love with Ethan and Lena and root for them throughout this 576 page mammoth!  But beware, the ending is a cliff-hanger!  Another novel is anticipated to make this a series.

This review is based on an advanced copy received in November 2009.

If you've already read and enjoyed Beautiful Creatures, try one of these:

Hush, Hush
by Becca Fitzpatrick

by Maggie Stiefvater

Ruined: a novel
by Paula Morris

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