Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Behind the Times Review: Beautiful Creatures

We've all seen the trailer for Beautiful Creatures, the highly stylized magical teen drama that attempts to cash in the (ever confusing) cash cow that is Twilight. The first time I saw it, it awoke in me the 14-year-old girl who loved reading the same campy-sounding stories about love conquering all*. However, the same 14-year-old girl refused to see the movie because We Hadn't Read the Book and this has always been an important life motto.

However, 14-year-old me forgets that current me is an organized as a Wal-Mart during restock and current me just never got around to reading the book. Or even adding to Goodreads to read later. Until today, when it popped up on my library's list of new eBooks available. I snatched it up and away we went.

Seeing the trailer gave me a fairly good set up for the book - Mysterious girl has super powers and is racing against the clock not be claimed by the Dark, which is represented by some tall chick with sexy sunglasses and a nice ass, and also someone who looks like she mugged Dolores Umbridge. There's also a big tornado. SPOILERS: the tornado isn't featured in the book, one of the many changes from the trailer.

Courtesy of Goodreads, here's an actual summary:

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

Goodreads Score: 3.79

I have to agree with the general Goodreads user base on this one: the book is a fun read with a lot of great imagery and some great ideas about dealing with Fate BUT the characters themselves are mostly shallow and, in some cases, almost caricatures of stereotypes (I'm looking at you, Amma).

My two favorite characters fill in the background - Link and Ridley. Link proves, time and again, that his friendship with Ethan is more important keeping his place in the in crowd. He treats Lena as a good friend would treat his best friend's girlfriend and not like a pariah.

Ridley shows that she isn't a caricature of the evil controlling seductress and she's probably the only reason I want to read the rest of the series. I want to see how more of Ridley. To me, Ethan and Lena's story ends when they're alive and in love at the end of the book - but Ridley disappears, leaving behind the mystery of why she changed her mind and didn't kill Lena's dad.

I'm currently 12 out of 14 in line for the eBook of Beautiful Darkness and I think I'm okay waiting.

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