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Beautiful Creatures. by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (edition 2010)

by Kami Garcia

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Member:tina1969
Title:Beautiful Creatures. by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Authors:Kami Garcia
Info:Penguin Books (2010), Paperback, 576 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***1/2
Tags:None

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Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia

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Check out my other listens at Eargasms Audiobook Reviews

A really interesting series. The pace moved along nicely and the characters were engaging. It had it's mopey teen moments but over all a really entertaining book. I can not wait for more of this series.

I love the supporting characters more than the leads! Lena and Ethan are interesting but Link and Ridley are awesome!! They had me rolling! Two of my favorites through the series, almost wish it were about them instead.

The concept is really intriguing and I love all the flashbacks. The past story helps to define the present events. The past story was a bit more interesting than the present at times.

The reasons castors and humans can not be together was never clearly explained to my satisfaction. And it felt like Ethan should be an exception. I could have used more detail on this whole account.

The narrative was really great and unique as the POV is Ethan. Usually these books are told by a girl. His thoughts are really intriguing.

I listened to the audiobooks narrated by Kevin T. Collins. He does a great job keeping the story moving, terrific pace. His voices were interesting and consistent. I enjoyed his energy throughout the read. The only thing that was strange was the singing and background noise. I found it very distracting and not pleasant. It was more jarring and took me out of the story.

I am definitely hooked!

Cover Art - Simple but effective. Love that font, it is so distinctive. ( )
  grapeapril75 | Oct 18, 2014 |
I see Beautiful Creatures as Adult Literary Fiction meets Young Adult with a heavy dose of Paranormal Romance.

The story is told from a male perspective (unusual for this genre) in first person by Ethan Lawson Wate who is stuck in a small southern town in the middle of nowhere, where no one moves in and no one moves out. You’re born there, live there and die there. Ethan wants to be different, he wants to get out and see the world, he’s tired of the small-town attitudes of his school friends and neighbours. He’s been having nightmares about holding onto an unknown girl he’s in love while she dangles in the air until he drops her, nightmares in which he wakes up soaked from the rain in his dream, and is haunted by a mysterious song called Sixteen Moons.

Everything in the town is the same until Lena Duchannes moves in with her reclusive uncle, Macon Ravenwood the town’s bogeyman. Everyone tars her with the same brush automatically believing she’s as “crazy” as her uncle, everyone but Ethan. He recognises her from the nightmares and sees something different in her. She’s a symbol of everything he wants: she’s travelled, she’s well-educated, well-read and she doesn’t think like the rest of the town, and when Ethan becomes her friend the town turns on them both. Ethan adores her until she reveals she’s a Caster, a magic-user who will be Claimed either by the Dark (evil) or the Light (good) on her 16th birthday but she belives she will go Dark. They form an unusually strong bond especially since he's only a Mortal and together they try to find out more about the Claiming to see if they can stop it but both Macon and Ethan’s housekeeper (or second mother), Amma stand in their way.

This is very slow-building, so slow in fact that it took me over two weeks to finish. Only bull-headed determination got me to the end. A lot of background on the town and its characters was given but there were parts that just didn’t interest me, like detail on the all-important war and the repetition of certain facts that got tiresome after a while as did Lena's behaviour, constantly pushing Ethan away "for his own good" when it was clear he wasn't going anywhere and all she was doing was hurting them both. I had to skim a few times.

Macon Ravenwood was my favourite character, I wanted to read more about him and his life. I also wanted more on Genevieve and her life after the visions, how much did she change after she made the failed bargain? How Dark did she become? I wondered if there was something special about Boo Radley the wolf-dog other than being Macon’s eyes, was his relationship with Macon symbiotic? It seemed like it. I think something more could have been made of Ethan’s father, I don’t know what exactly but there wasn’t enough interaction with Ethan especially after the suicide incident.

Ethan struck me as very feminine and extremely mature until quite late in the book when he found it difficult to say the words "girlfriend" and "I love you". I waited for his thoughts to turn sexual, like every hormonal teenager but it didn't happen. His unusual bond with Lena wasn’t really explained, even though there was a comparison to Ethan Carter Wate (Ethan’s great, great uncle) and Genevieve’s relationship, it wasn’t clear on what made Ethan able to feel and communicate (via mind-speak) with Lena so easily. There was a suggestion he was a Caster and then doors were opening of their own accord for him which was later explained away as his mother’s spirit helping him. Lena’s father is practically glossed over, we only know that he was murdered by her mother. I didn’t fully understand the extent to which Mrs Lincoln was possessed by Serafine, she said she wasn’t always possessing her so I was curious to know how much of Mrs Lincoln’s behaviour was due to Serafine and how much was her own nasty personality.

The ending was lack-lustre, rushed, not well-thought out, hodge-podge. Lena gets rid of the enemies quickly and easily, a flash of lightning was all it took. Lena isn’t claimed and doesn’t claim herself, she doesn’t make a choice instead a wishy-washy explanation was given – suddenly there is no moon and Lena, being a powerful Natural temporarily got rid of the moon so she wouldn’t have to choose (when did she have the time to do that?) until of course there is another verse of the song but instead of Sixteen Moons it’s Seventeen Moons. I’m guessing this means her choice has been put off until her 17th birthday. Ugh. I’m not sure if this is right because Ethan notices Lena’s eyes have changed colour, one has remained green and the other is now gold like those of Dark Casters. Shouldn't both of her eyes be gold like Genevieve's?

One thing that wasn’t addressed was the fact that Ethan and Lena could never be together physically, it was stated and then after the drama of the climax it wasn’t discussed by Lena and Ethan. I would think they’d be thinking about that as well as Macon. I can’t see them staying together, especially since Lena hasn’t admitted to killing the Dark Casters or even bringing Ethan back to life – which is another thing I’m not clear on. Is he truly alive? Why was his life traded for Macon’s specifically. I just don’t understand.

I know this review is quite negative but I do believe the small-town mentality was well-drawn. As a child I lived in a small English village in the country, my mother was the only black person and I was mixed race. We both felt like outsiders and the rumour-mill got so bad, led by the stay-at-home mums, that my mother sent me away while she packed our things and moved us out, back to the city. She didn't want me to be affected by their behaviour. Lena and Ethan were pretty strong not to crumble under that collective pressure.

I really wanted this story to finish in this book. I made an extraordinary effort to finish it due to the hype, some great lines and a few intriguing scenes, I deserved to be rewarded with a good ending. This book isn’t as concise as it could have been or as clear, I believe a concerted effort was made to make the town and the many characters realistic but the ending wasn’t right. The need for a sequel seemed to outweigh the need to end the book properly. ( )
  Cynical_Ames | Sep 23, 2014 |
I could hear the voice change of the authors,which was super annoying. The southern author obviously knew her stuff and was completely enjoyable to read. The rest of the book was pretty horrendous,I'm surprised I finished it. ( )
  abigail33 | Sep 19, 2014 |
This book suffers from a severe lack of worldbuilding. We are supposed to understand that if Lena goes Dark, this will be a Bad Thing. But the main consequences of going Dark seem incredibly low stakes.

**SPOILER** At the very end we see a few consequences when Lena's
mother finally shows up, and she's the one pulling the strings and seems to be the only one of the Dark Casters who is actively malicious. Larkin and Ridley seem to be along for the ride.

So who cares if you go Dark? Do Dark Casters have some sort of organization where they work to their nefarious purposes? Do they even have nefarious purposes, or do they just sit around in their homes "being evil" all day? The book does not give the reader a complete enough view of the world outside of Ravenwood for going Dark vs. going Light to have any meaning. We are supposed to simply understand that one is bad and one is good based on the wording. Maybe this gets explored further in sequels, but this first installment so thoroughly failed to convince me to care, that I don't think I'll stick around to find out.

The book wasn't all bad, I guess. Just fluffy and predictable. I buy the town turning against Lena because she's different. While not totally convincing, the interactions between Ethan and Lena are certainly not the worst YA-fiction romantic interactions I've read. It was fine, bland, mushy. But inexcusably long for how small a picture we get of this universe. This book expects that I will be immediately invested in Lena's struggles without explaination, and does not earn my trust or enthusiasm.
(Review also posted on Goodreads) ( )
  junerain | Aug 27, 2014 |
"Mortals. I envy you. You think you can change things. Stop the Universe. Undo what was done long before you came along. You are such beautiful creatures."

I adore that line usually I don't keep track of any quotes but that was just great I had to write it down!

This book is told through our male protagonist Ethan Wate, which was refreshing since most YA books are told in a female's perspective. You don't really have a great comprehension of his character since the story mainly revolves around Lena.

Ethan lives in a boring southern town of Gatlin, where nothing changes and the Civil War is called the war of aggression. Nothing of note happens and there aren't really any secrets but really nothing can be farther from the truth. This town is hopping with secrets. Ethan doesn't come to realize until a new girl, Lena, comes to town. This is when the story really begins.....

This book has mystery,southern culture,magic(a new take I haven't seen before), and a OK relationship. I do give Kudos to the authors though if I hadn't read that it was by two authors I wouldn't of even noticed.The writing is pretty good and the story is pretty interesting and different. Reading the book is pretty daunting because of it large size(over 500 pages) and has a lot of back story, and at times made me want to take breaks from it because of that. My favorite character was Uncle Macon(Lena's uncle who raised her).

The atmosphere for this book was amazing and I loved the characters and felt strong emotions for all of the both the good and the bad characters. Something not very prominent in YA fiction is family . The parents and family are usually not important and sometimes not mentioned at all kinda like in Charlie Brown when you never see an adult and all the say say is "wah wa wah wa" . Beautiful Creatures had lots of family involvement which I loved.

Did I like the book? Why yes I did in fact I checked out the next two from my library as soon as I got the chance.

My rating 4/5
Just for the parts where it dragged on! ( )
  AryaDragon | Aug 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 322 (next | show all)
The intensity of Ethan and Lena's need to be together is palpable, the detailed descriptions create a vivid, authentic world, and the allure of this story is the power of love. The satisfying conclusion is sure to lead directly into a sequel. Give this to fans of Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" (Little, Brown, 2005) or HBO's "True Blood" series and they will devour all 600-plus pages of this teen Gothic romance.
 
The 600-plus pages could have been cut to make a tighter, better story. Despite the bulk, there’s plenty teens will like: romance, magic, hauntings, and the promise of more to come.
added by khuggard | editBooklist, Ilene Cooper
 

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kami Garciaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stohl, Margaretmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Caplan, DavidDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clark, RobertCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Collins, Kevin T.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.


Martin Luther King Jr.
Dedication
For
Nick & Stella
Emma, May & Kate
and
all our casters & outcasters, everywhere.
There are more of us than you think.
First words
There were only two kinds of people in our town. "The stupid and the stuck," my father had affectionately classified our neighbors.
Quotations
Sixteen moons, sixteen years                                 Sixteen of your deepest fears                                 Sixteen times you dreamed my tears                       Falling, falling through the years...
Sanguis sanguinis mei, tutela tua est.                     Sanguis sanguinis mei, tutela tua est.                     Sanguis sanguinis mei, tutela tua est.                     Sanguis sanguinis mei, tutela tua est.
Sanguis sanguinis mei, tutela tua est!                     Sanguis sanguinis mei, tutela tua est!                     Sanguis sanguinis mei, tutela tua est!                     Blood of my blood, protection is thine!
Cruor pectoris mei, tutela tua est!                           Blood of my heart, protection is thine!
CRUOR PECTORIS MEI, TUTELA TUA EST.                VITA VITAE MEAE, CORRIPIENS TUAM, CORRIPIENS MEAM.                                                                 CORPUS CORPORIS MEI, MEDULLA MENSQUE, ANIMA ANIMAE MEAE, ANIMAM NOSTRAM CONECTE.                                                            CRUOR PECTORIS MEI, LUNA MEA, AESTUS MEUS.   CROUR PECTORIS MEI. FATUM MEUM, MEA SALUS.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
This book is told in a boy, Ethan Wate's, POV. He lives in a town, Gatlin, where nothing happens and nobody is different.
Ethan has been having these dreams about losing a girl who he thinks he is falling in love with. Which is crazy because he only knows her through a dream and she is probably not even real. Then suddenly a girl who is the town shut-in's niece moves to Gatlin and dares to be different. Her and Ethan seem to have an odd connection. This book is amazing and filled with adventure, suspense, and romance. It also has a lot of references to the book To Kill a Mockingbird.  
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0316042676, Hardcover)

Ethan Wate is struggling to hide his apathy for his high school "in" crowd in small town Gatlin, South Carolina, until he meets the determinedly "out" Lena Duchannes, the girl of his dreams (literally--she has been in his nightmares for months). What follows is a smart, modern fantasy--a tale of star-crossed lovers and a dark, dangerous secret. Beautiful Creatures is a delicious southern Gothic that charms you from the first page, drawing you into a dark world of magic and mystery until you emerge gasping and blinking, wondering what happened to the last few hours (and how many more you're willing to give up). To tell too much of the plot would spoil the thrill of discovery, and believe me, you will want to uncover the secrets of this richly imagined dark fantasy on your own. --Daphne Durham

Amazon Exclusive Interview with Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Authors of Beautiful Creatures

What does your writing process look like? Is it tough to write a book together? Did you ever have any knock-down drag-out fights over a plot point or character trait?

Margie: The best way to describe our writing process is like a running stitch. We don't write separate chapters, or characters. We pass the draft back and forth constantly, and we actually write over each other's work, until we get to the point where we truly don't know who has written what.

Kami: By the end of the book, we don't even know. The classic example is when I said, "Marg, I really hate that line. It has to go." And she said, "Cut it. You wrote it."

Margie: I think we were friends for so long before we were writing partners that there was an unusual amount of trust from the start.

Kami: It's about respect. And it helps that we can't remember when who wrote the bad line.

Margie: We save our big fights for the important things, like the lack of ice in my house or how cold our office is. And why none of my YouTube videos are as popular as the one of Kami's three-fingered typing…okay, that one is understandable, given the page count for "Beautiful Creatures."

Kami: What can I say? I was saving the other seven fingers for the sequel.

What kinds of books do you like to read?

Kami: I read almost exclusively Young Adult fiction, with some Middle Grade fiction thrown in for good measure. As a Reading Specialist, I work with children and teens in grades K-12, so basically I read what they read.

Margie: When I write it comes from the same place as when I read: wanting to hang out with fictional characters in fictional worlds. I identify more as a reader than a writer; I just have to write it first so I can read it.

What books/authors have inspired you?

Kami: "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, "A Good Man is Hard to Find & Other Stories" by Flannery O'Connor, "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury and "The Witching Hour" by Anne Rice. I also love Pablo Neruda.

Margie: I think Harper Lee is the greatest writer alive today. Eudora Welty is my other Southern writer kindred; I was obsessed with her in grad school. Susan Cooper and Diana Wynne Jones made me love fantasy, and my favorite poets are Emily Dickinson (at Amherst College, I even lived on her street) and Stevie Smith.

Did you set out to write fiction for young adults? Why?

Kami: We actually wrote "Beautiful Creatures" on a dare from some of the teen readers in our lives.

Margie: Not so much readers as bosses.

Kami: Looking back, we wrote it sort of like the serialized fiction of Charles Dickens, turning in pages to our teen readers every week.

Margie: And by week she means day.

Kami: When we were getting texts in the middle of the night from teens demanding more pages, we knew we had to finish.

Margie: As it says in our acknowledgements, their asking what happened next changed what happened next. Teens are so authentic. That's probably why we love YA. Even when it's fantasy, it's the emotional truth.

A lot of us voracious readers like to cast a book after reading it. Did you guys have a shared view of who your characters are? Did each of you take a different character to develop, or did you share every aspect?

Kami: We've never cast our characters, but we definitely know what they look like. Sometimes we see actors in magazines and say, "Lena just wore that!"

Margie: We create all our characters together, but after a point they became as real as any of the other people we know. We forget they're not.

Kami: I never thought of it like that. I guess we do spend all our time talking about imaginary people. Margie: So long as it's not to them…

Did you always plan to start the book with Ethan's story? Why?

Kami: We knew before we started that we wanted to write from a boy's point of view. Margie and I both have brothers—-six, between us-—so it wasn't a stretch. It's an interesting experience to fall in love with the guy telling the story rather than the guy the story is about.

Margie: We do kind of love Ethan, so we wanted there to be more to him than just the boy from boy meets girl.

Kami: He's the guy who stands by you at all costs and accepts you for who you are, even if you aren't quite sure who that is.

What is on your nightstand now?

Kami: I have a huge stack, but here are ones at the top: "Mama Dip's Kitchen," a cookbook by Mildred Council, "The Demon's Lexicon" by Sarah Rees Brennan, "Shadowed Summer" by Saundra Mitchell, "Rampant" by Diana Peterfreund, and an Advanced Reader Copy of "Sisters Red" by Jackson Pearce.

Margie: I have Robin McKinley's "Beauty," Maggie Stiefvater's "Ballad," Kristen Cashore's "Fire," Libba Bray's "Going Bovine," and "Everything Is Fine" by AnnDee Ellis. And now I'm mad because I know a) Kami stole my "Rampant" and b) didn't tell me she has "Sisters Red"!

What is your idea of comfort reading?

Kami: If given the choice, I'll always reach for a paranormal romance or an urban fantasy. I also re-read my favorite books over and over.

Margie: It's all comfort reading to me. I sleep with books in my bed. Like a dog, only without the shedding and the smelling.

Have you written the next book already? What's next for Lena and Ethan?

Margie: We are revising the next book now. I don't want to give too much away, but summer in Gatlin isn't always a vacation.

Kami: I would describe book two as intense and emotional. For Ethan and Lena, the stakes are even higher.

Margie: That's true. Book two involves true love, broken hearts, the Seventeenth Moon, and cream-of-grief casseroles…

Kami: Gatlin at it's finest!

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:00 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

In a small South Carolina town, where it seems little has changed since the Civil War, sixteen-year-old Ethan is powerfully drawn to Lena, a new classmate with whom he shares a psychic connection and whose family hides a dark secret that may be revealed on her sixteenth birthday.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141326085, 0141346140

 

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