'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 14 May 2010

Review: Beautiful Creatures

Title: Beautiful Creatures

Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Publisher: Penguin Books, $19.95 RRP

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780141326085

For ages: Teen to young adult

Type: Novel

About: Billed as the latest teen book sensation, Beautiful Creatures is the story of Ethan Wate, a teenager living in a small town where nothing ever happens. He longs to escape and is counting down the days until he can leave – until a mysterious girl enters first Ethan’s dreams, and then his life. He is drawn to her and their fates become intertwined.

Lena Duchannes is no ordinary girl. For starters, she lives with her strange uncle and drives a hearse. Then we discover she carries a curse that has haunted her family for years, one that will claim her on the sixteenth moon of her sixteenth year. Together, she and Ethan uncover the family mysteries and fall for each other.

To reveal much more would be to spoil the novel and the surprises and twists in store.

Beautiful Creatures introduces us to a new world in the fantasy genre; a universe of gothic darkness, immortality, mysterious powers, secret family histories, curses and the ultimate supremacy of love. And, thank goodness, no damsel in distress; instead opting for a girl with power, strength and a sense of self.

There is a classic dose of good versus evil in this story, with messages about the danger of a closed mind, judgements and bigotry and the importance of love and hope… all against the background of a charming Southern country town.

But it’s the characters that really set this book apart; they are all intriguing, strong personalities with their own quirks, idiosyncrasies, charm and, of course teen angst. Garcia and Stohl have worked to create a set of characters we can relate to, and even those with a minor role in the story are three-dimensional.

Despite all of this, I felt there was something missing from the book. I wasn’t hooked, I was not itching to turn every page to reveal more secrets and I did not enter the world of Ethan and Lena completely. Why? It moved a little slowly and perhaps part of that was the detail of characters; in this, we see one of the books strengths also become its greatest weakness.

But never fear; those who love fantasy, romance and an enthralling mystery will love this book and eagerly await the next instalment in the series.

This book is available online

Authors’ website