Book Review: Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures
(Caster Chronicles #1)
Published By: Little, Brown & Company
Publication Date:  December 1st, 2009
Page Count: 563
Source:  Book Purchased by Reviewer
  Audience:  Young Adult - Fantasy
In light of the movie and the final book in the series coming up, I thought it would be nice to revisit the first book in the Caster Chronicles.  
Beautiful Creatures was an amazing introduction to a promising series and a refreshing change from most novels because this story was told from a male's perspective...16 year old Ethan Wate. I found it so intriguing getting into his mind...a guy that we really come to love and understand where he's coming from. I loved Ethan's voice...he's passionate about all that he does...with a sense of being a bit traditional, while still being smart and "cool". Another thing that defines Ethan is his love for his mother who died in an accident a year earlier. His loss is profound. While he seems to have an excellent support system, he is mourning her loss more privately...especially because his father, since the death of his mother, has literally locked himself up in his study.

Lena Duchannes is the girl that literally appears from Ethan's dreams. Lena is a new student at his school, and before having physically met her, he has dreamed about her -- a recurring dream where he can't seem to save her, and he has no idea why he's dreaming this. Lena is "different" from the other girls in Gatlin, South Carolina (in dress and personality)...something that this town has a very hard time dealing with out of their own ignorance for anything new. What I loved about Lena is that while she longs to fit in at school, she refuses to give up on her own identity. Of course, this is one of the characteristics that Ethan loves about her.

Ethan soon discovers that Lena is also a Caster (sort of like a witch). With Casters, there are "light" (good) Casters and "dark" (evil) Casters. Lena is approaching her 16th birthday...which is an important milestone because the light or dark will claim her to their side...a curse befelled on her family over a 150 years earlier. The story is about their journey to this inevitable occasion.

Ethan & Lena's relationship evolves slowly...which makes it more believable. Even though there was an instant supernatural connection (as they soon realize that they "share" these dreams)...their feelings for each other grow over time. But once they realize their feelings for each other...they are literally a force to be reckoned with.

Both Ethan and Lena are surrounded by a cast of colourful cast of characters. Macon is Lena's eccentric uncle who is known to the town folk as a recluse. Unbeknownst to them, he is also a supernatural creature that should terrify them. He and Lena's extended family are very protective of her and will do what they can from preventing her being claimed dark.

Amma is a rich character in this story...she is sort of like Ethan's step-grandmother and the family's housekeeper/caretaker. She has taken care of Ethan's family since he could remember. She's also known to be a bit superstitious and dabbles in voodoo.

I also adored Ethan's best friend Link...he's completely lovable while providing the story's comic relief.

Other memorable characters included Marian, the librarian and his mother's best friend; and Ridley, Lena's "dark" cousin with a bit of a conscience.

Beautiful Creatures was basically had me sneaking in any reading time I could find. The authors' descriptive writing pulled me right in and didn't let go. The story is full of strong messages of tolerance and ignorance, as well as the fact that there are always consequences for keeping secrets and that true love is a powerful force. The conclusion of this book was perfect, in my opinion. Several questions were answered, while there were some threads left dangling for the sequel, and I'm very anxious to get to it!!


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.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.




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