Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

4/5 Stars
Published by Little, Brown Company
Publication Date: December 1, 2009

Synopsis: Sixteen year old Ethan Wate, who lives in small Gatlin, South Carolina, has been counting down the days and hours until he can finally leave. Ethan lives at home with his recluse father and his heavily superstitious house keeper Amma. Worst part of all is that Ethan is being haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. Nothing ever really happens in Gatlin, it has been the same regime ever since he could remember. The same friends, the same teachers, the same families and their carbon-copy descendants all with the same mindset. However, all of that changes when Lena Duchannes moves into the towns most infamous and oldest plantation. She is strange and unlike anyone in town, and is struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted the family for generations. Ethan is immediately drawn to her and determined to uncover the truth between their strange connection. In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

What really drew me in to reading this story was the cover art. I found it to be an eye catcher with the dark background and the bright text. Plus, the praise at the back of the book made me more eager to devour it. "A hauntingly delicious dark fantasy" - Cassandra Clare (who happens to be one of my absolute FAVORITE authors) 

At the beginning of the book, I found the slow pace to be refreshing. They gave time to establish the town and the characters in it, developing this lovely setting. To me, the slow pace made it an even more interesting read. The development of this world was absolutely magnificent and I truly enjoyed how the plot was unraveled. 

What I found really invigorating was that it was told from the point of view of a guy! There aren't many YA novels out there that are told from the perspective of the male lead. Ethan Wate is a strong willed character, but very lovable. He gives up his routine life and changes it up a bit when Lena (who I adore) moves to town. He throws away his normal group of friends, he defies his guardian, and his ever-changing outlook on small Gatlin, South Carolina intensifies. Ethan is definitely one of my favorite male characters in a novel.

Along with this male lead comes another strong female role. Lena Duchannes spends her entire time in Gatlin fighting for herself. There are times where she finds the girls at Jackson High School to be rude and unruly, but is able to contain herself and not bend to their expectations. I truly felt a connection to Lena merely because despite being viewed as an outcast, she was still able to trot through everyday with hope. I feel as though this occurs as a problem in everyone's lives at some point. 

The narrative was absolutely brilliant. It was written exceptionally well with very good detail and had me craving more. There were some scenes where I just could not believe what I was reading and scenes where I wanted to hold these characters close and never let them go. This book did open up a lot of different twists and turns; I certainly was not expecting it to end like it did.

The single problem I had with this book was that it was very long and I feel that the rest of the series may drag on. However I have hope that these two authors will be able to pull it off. 

In all I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story of Ethan and Lena and cannot wait to start Beautiful Darkness!

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