Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review of Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.
Sometimes life-ending.
Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.

[Synopsis by Goodreads]

I'll start with the things I liked about Beautiful Darkness, the major thing being the premise. It's incredibly unique and so well thought-out. The world Kami and Margaret built to set the Caster world was vividly described (though some of the southernisms got on my nerves) and its non-paranormal aspects gave the town a realistic vibe.

I also loved the plot - complicated and unpredictable. The characters have destinies that you expect them to fulfill but then they find a loophole in them that you never could have expected.

I liked the writing style. It seemed to drag out, though. I'm not opposed to reading long books, but I don't like reading 503 pages when it could be 400 if you removed a few small subplots. 

I usually enjoy reading from a male perspective, but Ethan felt like a girl just with a guy's name. Though the first half of the book, I completely hated Lena, though I could almost understand where she was coming from. I was really hoping for Ethan and Liv to get together even though she's just the Paris to Ethan and Lena's Romeo and Juliet - she makes a love triangle, but you know there's no way he'd ever choose her.

I remember loving the first book in the series, but that was so long ago and I think my reading interests have changed since. I still enjoyed this book, just not as much, and give it a 3 out of 5.


P.S. I also reviewed the first book in The Caster Chronicles, Beautiful Creatures, which I'd link you to directly, except that it was the first review I ever posted and therefore sucked. Find it in my review archive if you dare.