BEAUTIFUL CREATURES seems poised to be the next big thing in YA literature. It's got all the right elements: eclectic characters, villains, magic, and true love. It's almost 600 pages long, but you'll be unable to put it down, even during the slower and more confusing moments.
The story of Ethan and Lena is primarily a romance, one that will appeal to YA romance buffs who appreciate Stephenie Meyer's Twilight and Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver. This means that at times their romance can feel a little unbelievable in its intensity and all-encompassing-ness. However, that the story is told from Ethan's point of view makes it wonderfully sweet, a romance to swoon over. Ethan is an accessible protagonist whose complex feelings of alienation, desire for hometown escape, and doomed love for an unaccepted girl makes him heartachingly real and desirable in readers' eyes. Ethan Wate will make all bad YA boys ashamed of their rebelliousness, and that's saying something.
One might mistakenly expect that a 600-page YA book would be tedious and slow-moving, but BEAUTIFUL CREATURES just might prove that long YA books are the best kind. The story moves along at a delicious and deliberate pace, slowly building atmosphere and making you beg to have your growing list of questions answered.
Overall, you won't regret reading BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, no matter what kind of reader you are. From the paranormal aspect, to the romance, to the rich Southern atmosphere, this book will be sure to draw you in. Don't miss out on the book that is worthy of all the hype it's getting!
This book was so dreadful! It poorly written, the plot meandered vaguely without ever gathering steam, there were multiple elements introduced in the beginning in a confusing mishmash or foreboding that were left hanging without ever being referred to again, the emotions were bland, and the teen angst insipid. Although the authors seemed to attempt to include a social commentary about the sometimes insular, bigoted attitudes of the deep south, they did so without including the complex, nuanced human emotions which might have really brought that world to life. But worst of all was the authors' use of that puritanical American trope so beloved in the Twilight series that, "[Pre-marital]Sex Will Kill You!" - I mean a story about a teen couple that can't get physical because it will incinerate one of them? Everything that's wrong with America's attitudes towards responsible sexual behaviors right there.
I realize this book is old news...and the series is already 4 books long. But can I just say YAWN?!? B-O-R-I-N-G!
I tried so hard to like this book & get invested in the characters...and I've read some really awesome YA series...and this book is NOT it.
You want a fantastic YA paranormal series? Check out Rachel Vincent's "Soul Screamers" series. Want a really honest, gritty love story that makes you want to read it over & over again? Try Katie McGarry's "Pushing The Limits." You want a sweet romance with a please-let-this-work-out-for-them-ending? Pick up Karen Ann Hopkin's "Temptation."
You want to get carpal tunnel holding a 600 page book that makes reading the Bible seem like a fast page-blasting read? Check out "Beautiful Creatures."
Other reviewers had said this book took time to get rolling. So after 200+ pages I felt I had given it all I could give...and I started skimming. By the end I realized that the FINAL chapter was just a re-cap of all the stuff happening in the VERY BEGINNING of the book. What-ev-er.
I should've spent my time cleaning the house. Doing laundry. Filtering the cat box. Anything would've been more useful than reading this...........
I got an ARC of this book through the Amazon Vine program. This was an interesting book and I am still struggling a bit about how I feel about it. Parts of it were great and parts were very deliberate and boring. This is a massive book; over 600 pages and it was an interesting story. It seems to me like the ending is left somewhat open for a sequel; although I wasn't able to find any information on whether or not there is going to be one.
Ethan Wate has been dreaming about a girl. In the dream he is always trying to hold on to her in a raging storm, but she always manages to slip away. This is the biggest event of his life right now given that he lives in the boring typical southern small town of Gatlin. Then one day a new girl shows up at school, Lena Duchannes. As a new girl she gets a lot of flack from the other kids, on top of that she is the niece of the town recluse who lives in the supposedly haunted estate of Ravenwood, which doesn't help her popularity with the kids any. When Ethan first sees her he realizes that she is the girl he's been seeing in his dreams. Ethan finds out that Lena is more different than he could ever have imagined. Lena is part of something big and, as her sixteenth birthday approaches, Lena will face the biggest challenge of her life. Lena will find out if the dark or light in her soul will prevail and the results will change who Lena is forever.
There were some things I liked about this book. The whole book has a very mysterious and urgent aura that hangs on every word. This book is as much a mystery as anything else. The characters are very well done. You are really pulling for Ethan and Lena throughout the book. The supporting characters are also very well developed; for example Amma and Ravenwood both have intricate and interesting pasts. You can tell a lot of work went into making this book as historically accurate as possible. There are a ton of interesting facts about Gatlin and they are all well-woven into the plot to give the story a lot of believability.
There were also some things that I didn't like about the book. The first 200 pages were very slow moving; they did build some tension into the plot but I had some trouble getting through them because I thought it got kind of boring. I also thought during this first part of the book that the foreshadowing was just overdone; I understood that Lena and Ethan had a connection very quickly and I was confused as to why this was drawn out so much. Then for the next hundred pages the action was non-stop and the story absolutely griping. Then after that there were another 200 pages of nothing much happening and boredom. Then again the last 100 pages were non-stop action and the plot was developed so quickly that it was hard to stop reading. I personally thought that the book could have been paced a bit better; then I wouldn't have had to struggle to stay interested for the majority of the book.
I also groaned a little bit when I realized that this book was yet another teen book channeling the whole "Twilight" premise of boy and girl can't be together because one of them isn't exactly human, but yet they will struggle to find a way.
Overall this book gets 3.5 stars from me. I liked the writing style, the magic, the detailed history and the mystery. I didn't like the erratic pacing and the overlying story of yet another pair of star-crossed lovers. By the end of the book, I was mostly glad that it was finished. I wasn't struck with a yearning to find out more about these characters. To be completely honest if there is another book in this series I probably won't read it...especially if it take over 600 pages to deliver a 300 page story.
Reviewed by Karin Librarian for TeensReadToo.com
Ethan Wate lives at the epicenter of nowhere in Gatlin, South Carolina. Only two kinds of people live in Gatlin, "the stupid and the stuck," and Ethan doesn't consider himself in either of those categories.
He isn't sure what he wants to do with the rest of his life, but he knows he wants out of town. It doesn't matter to him what college he goes to as long as it is 1,000 miles away from Gatlin. As summer comes to an end, Ethan prepares himself for another typical school year.
Only one thing out of the ordinary has been happening over the last several months - a recurring dream that leaves Ethan gasping for breath, soaking wet from sweat, and questioning his sanity. Always the same, a girl calling his name for help. The girl slipping through his fingers and tumbling down to the ground. A great sense of loss and the lingering scent of lemons and rosemary.
When Lena Duchannes moves into Gatlin's oldest and most infamous plantation, she causes quite a stir in town. She causes a stir in Ethan, as well. When he sees her and realizes she is the girl from his dreams, he is drawn to her both out of need and curiosity.
Mystery surrounds Lena as she attempts to make a place for herself in the community while also maintaining her individuality. Ethan's eyes are opened to a complicated world of danger and magic as he attempts to figure out his role in Lena's complicated world.
BEAUTIFUL CREATURES is a masterfully written tale that weaves together a story of love, the importance of family loyalty, and the difficulties of choosing between good and evil. Garcia and Stohl create a world where readers can lose themselves and be content.
Readers will beg for a sequel when they reach the last page.