Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Caster Chronicles #1
YA Gothic Fiction/Paranormal Romance, Published 2009
Challenges: RIP V, 2010 YA, Series IV
Read Oct 2010, 563 pages
First sentence: There are only two kinds of people in our town.
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.
This book had me at haunted plantation and overgrown gardens. I had seen this book around the blogosphere, but didn’t really read what it was about until I saw it in my local bookstore. I knew then that I had to have it.
Set in a deeply rooted southern town that still reenacts the War Between the States, there are still remnants of the beautiful plantation homes and it seems everyone in town is holding on to century-old secrets. This story is told through a unique storyteller, Ethan. It’s the beginning of his sophomore year. The dream he has the night before his first day back changes everything. He soon comes to realize that he and the new girl have a shared link – that they can talk to each other through some sort of telepathy. To top it all off, Lena is the niece of the town’s “Boo Radley.” There are many references to To Kill a Mockingbird when it comes to Lena’s uncle, Macon. Their family secret is that they are Casters, as in spell casters, and it is determined on your sixteenth birthday whether you will turn good or evil and Lena has moved in with her uncle until this has been decided.
My favorite story arc within this story was Ethan and Lena discovering Genevieve and Ethan’s names sake, Ethan Carter Wate and I hope we learn more about them in the sequel. I also really enjoyed the character of Ethan’s grandmother, Amma. She is the only one that tries to rein Ethan in, and yet she hold a few secrets as well. Another favorite character was Marian the Librarian.
Overall, I really enjoyed this haunting gothic tale and look forward to see what happens with Lena and Ethan in the sequel, Beautiful Darkness.
There was a curse. There was a girl. And in the end, there was a grave. I never even saw it coming. (p. 3)