Monday, January 19, 2015

Book Reviews: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl is one of those book I put off reading for a while. I heard it was good. It apparently got a terrible movie adaptation that I never saw. And I also knew it came out in the Twilight age of paranormal romance for young adults. But, hey, witches are cool, right? And it will be interesting to see the male perspective for once.

Such high hopes had so far to fall.

I should note that before I get into this review, this is going to be a negative one. I didn't like this book and several parts of it had me scratching my head or raging. Now, all that considered, this is my opinion. I make no judgments about people who like the book or even judgments on the authors. We all have our opinion and this is mine. So let's hop in.

The Plot- Is falling in love the beginning . . . or the end?
In Ethan Wate's hometown there lies the darkest of secrets . . .
There is a girl. Slowly, she pulled the hood from her head . . . Green eyes, black hair. Lena Duchannes.
There is a curse. On the Sixteenth Moon, the Sixteenth Year, the Book will take what it's been promised. And no one can stop it.
In the end, there is a grave.
Lena and Ethan become bound together by a deep, powerful love. But Lena is cursed and on her sixteenth birthday, her fate will be decided. Ethan never even saw it coming.
(Summary according to Goodreads.)

*Note- This is the vaguest blurb I have ever read in the history of ever and it tells me almost nothing about the book. So I guess it wasn’t the best start.

Characters- There are a lot of interesting characters in this book. No really. Tons. Lena’s family is very interesting. The villain is interesting. I have a particular fondness for her uncle Macon. I also enjoyed Ridley. But this book suffers from Twilight syndrome in that it focuses on all of its least interesting characters. That being the leads, Ethan and Lena. They are so very boring and they have the cardboard chemistry. I couldn’t bring myself to care about their dilemma at all. And since this book is mostly about the characters doing nothing for four hundred pages until the plot shows up, this kind of drags the book down.

The Good Points- The writing is well done and the setting properly gothic. The historical element was intriguing. I’m not one for historical fiction, but I can hardly fault the book for my personal preference. I also enjoyed several of the background characters who didn’t get nearly enough focus. Shout out to Macon. He was my favorite and he had all the best lines.

The Bad Points- Alright, this section will take a little longer. First off: pacing. The pacing in this book is pretty lagging. It’s a lot of nothing for several pages. I am a fast reader. In addition I am not easily bored by books. But one hundred pages in, I wanted to put the book down because I could not get into it. I didn’t put it down because I take that as a sign of defeat. But this book needed to be tightened. Then maybe pacing could have upped the enjoyment factor.

This book banks a lot on the small town mindset being intriguing at all. It portrays almost everyone in town as a terrible, cartoonish villain of a person. They don’t like Lena because she’s… pale. And that’s… weird.  I mean they have other reasons later, sure, but its so shallow. And not in a complex, well written way. I am one hundred percent done with painting popular kids as the cartoonish bad guys. It’s been done. It’s old. Worse than that, this kind of characterization is always horribly judgmental toward popular people. Ironic, because we’re supposed to learn not to be judgmental in this book. And we spend so much time on this high school conflict, its unbearable.

The main characters are dull and spend most of their time talking about the ticking clock leading up to Lena’s birthday. And yet no matter how many times they mention it, the book never seems to have any tension.

Here’s the thing: I get that this was written before a lot of these things became cliché (kind of). But the book is just so predictable and bland and, for lack of a better word, soulless. I didn’t hate it with a burning passion. Far from it. It was just a disappointing, nothing kind of book to me. And so...

Final Rating: 2/5 stars.

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