Monday, November 1, 2010

Book Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Title: Beautiful Creatures
Author: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: March 2010
Length: 576 pages
Genre: YA, fantasy, paranormal romance

5/5 ***** Magical, magnificent and bewitchingly seductive. Don't let the angriest storm in this world stop you from getting your hands on Beautiful Creatures

~ The Authors ~

Writing has gotten Margaret Stohl in and out of trouble since she was 15 (back then, mostly just in trouble.) For 10 years, she designed &/or wrote for lots of video games, one of which was nominated for “Most Innovative Game Design,” but she lost to a rapping onion. If you know games you get why her two bad beagles are named Zelda and Kirby.

School: She spent more years in it than a person ever should, because let’s face it, reading books is so much better than having a job. She fell in love with American literature at Amherst and Yale, earned an MA in English from Stanford, and studied creative writing under the late great poet George MacBeth at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. She taught Intro to Film as a TA at Yale and Romantic Poetry as a TA at Stanford. Don’t tell the people at Yale but sometimes she taught the section before she’d seen the movie it was about... 

She lives in Santa Monica, CA, with her family, most of whom were enslaved into working with her in one form or another on her forthcoming YA book for Little, Brown. She’s not kidding; when her daughters wanted to go to school she said “Why are you so selfish? Get back in there and edit,” and by said she means yelled and maybe threw things, it’s all a haze. She has a writing partner named Kami and she is why they ever get anything done. (Well, K and the daughter-slaves...) 

And so they wrote a book this year, and it’s going to come out in lots and lots of countries in a few months. And she is really, really hoping there is no hot title about a rapping onion coming out at the same time.
Author profile by Goodreads

Kami Garcia grew up outside of Washington DC, but it always felt like she had one foot in the South. By the time she was thirteen, her family moved in with her grandmother and great-grandmother, and they had four generations of women living under the same roof - two born and bred in North Carolina. She grew up drinking sweet tea, eating vegetables cooked with a little bacon grease, and biscuits made from scratch.

She wasn’t exactly like either of them. She wore a lot of black, a lot of rings, and spent hours writing in her journals. By the time she graduated high school, she had probably filled a hundred of them and gotten her friends more than a few dates with her poems. That was the beginning of writing for her.

She has an MA in education, and taught in the DC area until she moved to Los Angeles ten years ago. In addition to writing YA fiction, she is a Reading Specialist and continues to teach and lead book groups for children and teens, part-time. She has learned more from her students than she ever learned in school. She still lives in LA, with her husband, son, and daughter.

Random Stuff: She’s very superstitious and has lots of charms. She loves disaster movies. And she could easily live on pizza and Diet Coke.

Author profile by Goodreads

For futher information check out:

~ The Novel ~

Beautiful Creatures was released in December 2009 and is the first novel in the Caster Chronicles series which is a planned quartet. Beautiful Darkness, the sequel, was released in October 2010.

~ The Story ~

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.

Summary by Goodreads

 ~ The Review ~

At first I wasn’t that thrilled to pick up Beautiful Creatures, because I thought about this novel as another small town story about a boy and a girl who can’t be together, involving the same elements of love, same elements of danger as in so many other novels. Right now I have to reverse my thoughts and sayings about this novel.

My love for Beautiful Creatures, started just with the perspective it’s told from, the male protagonists POV, Ethan Wate. As many YA novels are told from a female POV I was a bit concerned  I couldn’t warm to Ethan. Well, I could warm to him, even more, I had to experience that a story told from Ethan’s perspective can get very hot sometimes. I love how Kami and Margaret gave him personality, feelings and the gift to share them with the persons he loves.

The way Ethan and Lena fall in love is unusual, they both have a special connection and when they first meet, both immediately know, they’ve known each other for more than a second then. Lena tries to hide from Ethan’s attention, is afraid of letting him in, scaring him away. But Ethan is determined to find a way to Lena even if it means offending the rest of small town Gatlin. They both are unique characters, together they became one of my favourite literary couples.

Beautiful Creatures stands out due to a, for some people cosy, for Ethan terribly boring and lonely, setting turning into a mysterious and miraculous place. Beautiful Creatures is about a young love between mortal and super-“natural” interlaced with the story of ancient Civil War and a curse that has not only affected their powers but true identity and feelings since then. This novel holds the very innovative idea of combining history with the story of a paranormal romance.

The writing style and language of Beautiful Creatures is rich and absorbing, very surprising when you think of it as a novel written by four hands (make it some more, counting in the daughter- slaves).

While reading the brilliant ending of Beautiful Creatures, I had to get up in the middle of the night and turn the computer on again to order its sequel. The end was a spectacle of unexpected events and great feelings.  
Although this novel has no major cliff hanger at the end, there are many questions unanswered. It’s the looming storm only a few more days away which makes me  want to read the sequel immediately.

There are so many great characters living in small Gatlin, everyone different but still important for the storyline,  the city could burst just because of its enormously diverse character collection. 

So the roles are defined. Initiator of the gloomy curse: Civil War ancestor. Young cursed lovers: Ethan Wate and Lena Duchannes. The malice enemy: you’ll be surprised! And last but not least, the satisfied but still hungry reader: You!

Beautiful Creatures made be feel like a cast myself: being released into an universe of numerous magical possibilities but everytime riveted by the spellbinding words of two powerful casters. 

~ We love this book because… ~

1) we’ve found a new favourite love couple in Ethan and Lena
2) we love stories involving big families and the conflicts they bring
3) we can’t resist to put lemon and rosemary in every dish we cook, just for the lovely smell and a little smile
4) of a fantastic, enchanting, eloquent, funny and sensitive narrator
5) we check our iPods several times a day hoping to find a little catchy tune on it

~ The Verdict ~

Beautiful Creatures is a must-read for fans of paranormal romance that place a high value on an exciting storyline, unique characters and the potential for many unforeseen events.
You are totally spellbound by this book and believe it’s a cast? No, it’s just the magic of an amazing new YA novel!


  1. Glad you liked it! I'm reading Beautiful Creatures right now, and it's just as good. :)

  2. I love BC and BD! One of my favorites of the year! Thx for entering in my BD contest!

    New follower....

    Jen @ I Read Banned Books.

  3. I have Beautiful Creatures sitting on my shelf, just itching to be read... I haven't got around to it yet, but soon! Great review :)

  4. I agree! Great review.
    I'm currently reading Beautiful Darkness.
    Lets hope it is as good as this one! :D

  5. I've seen this book around, and I've definitely been thinking about reading it. This review is putting a little more weight towards yes.

  6. Great review. I enjoyed this one the first time around. After reading the sequel to it, I have a new appreciation for it. I really am liking this series more and more.

  7. Wow! I can't wait to read this one after reading your review! :)

  8. I remember when I bought this book it was the cover that drew me in.