BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pub. Date: October 2010
(Also Available in Electronic and Audio Formats)
Age Group: Young Adult +
Review: BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl is lyrical, edgy and haunting. The first book in the Caster Chronicles series, BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, was one of my favorite books — if not the favorite — since I began blogging. If you haven’t read BEAUTIFUL CREATURES you may not want to read my review as it contains spoilers for it.
BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS is an unexpected and delightful read, but I have to be honest. I had trouble getting into the book. The beginning is extremely slow-paced which I liked in the first book because as an audience we are learning about the world Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl created. However, with BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS, I became bored when not much happened right off bat.
SPOILER WARNING: Ethan Wate, the protagonist of the book series, is trying to figure out how to help Lena, his girlfriend, because at the end of BEAUTIFUL CREATURES Lena, a Caster (aka witch) is forced to make the choice of becoming Light or Dark. All along, she thought the choice would be made for her on her sixteenth birthday. However, because of the curse hanging over her head from hundreds of years ago, and the power of the Book of Moons (the Caster Grimoire), she actually goes Light and Dark. Plus, she has to make another ultimate decision — save Ethan from death or her beloved Uncle Mason, who has been like a father to Lena. Because she loves Ethan, she decides to save him. Now, Lena must deal with her decision and the fact that she doesn’t feel she belongs in the Caster World either…
Lena is definitely more sullen than usual in BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS. She’s, also, starting to go Dark which I really enjoyed.END SPOILER
Throughout BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS, Ethan is afraid of losing Lena and she starts pulling away from him. For the entire first half of the book, Ethan is sulky and obsessive over Lena which began to get on my nerves. It wasn’t until I read about 200 pages that the book became exciting, unexpected and thrilling.
BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS is a super cool book, if you can make it through Ethan’s heavy teen angst. Sometimes I wanted to reach through the book and shake Ethan. But then I found there’s a reason for his deep seated feelings. And Ethan becomes more torn by his feelings after a new girl in town shows up who gains his interest.
There’s some interesting new characters in BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS — Liv, a Brit, who works at the library with Marian Ashcroft, Ethan’s confidant and John Breed, a Dark Caster, who wants to steal Lena away from Ethan.
The best part of the book is when Ethan, with some friends in tow, enters the alternate reality of the Caster World. As readers you step into it, too. It’s awesome, imaginative and I want to go there! But I’m sure Amma, Ethan’s housekeeper and a surrogate mother, would probably give me her stinkeye. The Caster World is dangerous.
I was a little disappointed there isn’t much time spent in Gatlin. The town and its residents have so much character. I hope both will be revisited in the third book because there’s more than meets the eye in Gatlin. I liked the spooky, Southern Gothic feel of BEAUTIFUL CREATURES and in some ways it felt like this element disappeared in BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS.
The ending takes a surprising turn that had me saying, “Yeah! I’m glad I made it through 500 plus pages!” And of course, the ending leaves us with a huge cliffhanger. Unfortunately, the third book will not be released until 2012. Ugh! However, there are still some things that aren’t clear and I do have some lingering questions. I’m hoping Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia set it up this way.
I’m giving BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS 4.5 “Relaxing with a Good Book” retro pictures for being a cool sequel.
Leave a Comment