Today I am reviewing a book I recently finished. A while back I was on the hunt for some easy-reading material that had a darker theme and didn't cost much. What I plucked off the shelves of my local Wal-mart was this little YA gem:
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl is the story of Ethan Wate, a typical high school boy living in the deep south of the USA, dealing with basketball team issues, slutty girlfriend issues, and all the lame Civil War hoopla that goes on every year. Because you know, the south think they really did secretly win the war and all that....Adding to that, he's been having some really strange dreams about this girl....
Enter Lena Ravenwood, the new girl in town and niece of the creepy shut-in who lives in the spooky Ravenwood Manor. She blows this little southern town away with her arrival, literally. See, Lena's secret is that she's a Caster, a fancier word for witch, mage, magician, etc. She's descended from a whole line of Casters.
It would seem that Ethan and Lena are made for each other. They go through a lot of high school trials together, they fight against the town the wants to run Lena out together, and face some of the darkest magic known to man together. It's a story of cursed love and eternal love....blah blah blah.
Basically, this story follows the formula that most supernatural teen romances follow. Boy meets Girl. Girl has...issues. Boy helps Girl with issues. Girls wants to push Boy away for his own safety. Boy doesn't listen. Tragedy ensues.
To be honest, it was kind of hard to get through the beginning of this book. All the characters, except for Ethan and his cool Voodoo grandma, were very two-dimensional and predictable. It seems the two authors drew on every basic high school stereotype they could think of that related to American high schools. You know, the cheerleaders were super bubbly and ditzy, but would stab anyone they didn't like in the back. The jocks were typically dumb, rough-housing type of guys.
I even thought Lena herself was a bit of a stereotype. She's described as being a mix between nouveau punk and mallgoth. She writes depressing and bad poetry in a notebook she always carries with her and no matter what always dons a pair of scuffed up Converse shoes.
Luckily, as we get deeper into the book, the plot(s) unfurl and the whole situation becomes a LOT more interesting. It was an interesting take on magic and the idea of Casting, and the evil characters were actually a lot more interesting and fun than the heroes and good guys.
Would I recommend this book to anyone over the age of 18? Probably not, since I think it's aimed for the youngin's and harder to relate to if you're older than that. Still, if you want to some light reading during your spare time, it's not bad. It got me through numerous sessions of plasma donation. ^_^