3 July 2011


Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1)
Authors: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
UK Publisher: Penguin Books
UK Release date: February 2010
Genre: YA

Summary: Ethan Wate has lived in Gatlin, South Carolina, all his life and nothing there ever changes. Until Lena Duchaness arrives, causing a stir in the town by living with her recluse uncle and driving a hearse. If only they knew she was from a long line of Casters.

The town turn against Lena, not only because she can make windows break, but because she is an outsider. A witch hunt against her begins, whilst Ethan and Lena try to deal with her coming 16th birthday and the prospect that she might turn ‘dark’.

As Ethan gets to know Lena and her unusual family, he realises that they are tied together until fate decides what will happen on her 16th birthday.

Review: Beautiful Creatures is firmly set in South Carolina, where everyone knows everyone else’s business, school children re-enact the civil war, and history and family reputation play a huge part in your social standing. Little details like Amma making her biscuits by hand firmly root the story and help set the scene for the prejudices, traditions and superstitions that the town abide by. I really enjoyed the aspects that show there is more to Gatlin than meets the eye and that most of the town don’t know about, like hidden libraries and charmed houses.

In Lena’s family everyone has different abilities, whether it is an ability to tell the truth, see the past or manipulate people. Lena is only months away from her 16th birthday when her fate will be decided and she will find out if she will go ‘dark’ or ‘light’. She struggles with the weight of thinking she will become evil, her family curse, and dealing with her growing powers as a Natural.

The story’s point of view is from Ethan’s perspective, which I just love. You get to see a little behind what boys are thinking and their take on girls, dresses and proms.

Ethan’s housekeeper and surrogate mother, Amma, is a from a long line of seers. She is heavily superstitious, always practicing her own form of magic and hiding little bones and charms around the house. Macon, Lena's Uncle, is certainly not the recluse the town think he is but more of a debonair gentleman with formidable powers. The pair don’t get on but both are impressive characters, that you definitely wouldn’t want to mess with!

Garcia and Stohl have a familiar, welcoming style with well developed characters and writing that makes you feel right at home…this sounds odd I know, but I feel like I’m reading a story by a favourite author, which as a debut novel by the pair is really saying something.

Rating: 4*


Vivienne said...

I have this book and I found I wasn't really drawn to it, but now after reading your review I really do want to read it.

Felicia @ A Novel Paradise said...

To be honest I haven't read this book because it was told from Ethan's perspective! Call me backward, but I've read certain books where the guy shared POV with the girl, and it felt very awkward and forced. However, the storyline of this one sounds pretty good, so I might have to give the guy-perspective thing another shot!

It doesn't hurt that his name is Ethan haha. I love that name :)

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