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Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia
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Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
Beautiful Creatures was the popular beginning of a YA series by collaborative authors, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. That book was turned into a movie which did not explode at the box office in the way producers had it would, following the lead of Harry Potter, Twilight and the Hunger Games. They changed the plot a little, in ways which won't entirely damage possibility of a sequel movie - if they get the go-ahead - but they do make continuing to film the Caster Chronicles difficult.

If you've read the first book, you won't be surprised that all the damage from the fight with Serafine has to be dealt with, and a large portion of Beautiful Darkness does just that. If you haven't read Beautiful Creatures yet, you might want to skip to the next paragraph. Ethan lives, but without the full details of his escape, unlike the readers, who know about Lena's trade, unknowingly giving Macon's life to save Ethan's. She blames herself for it, and while the whole Duchannes clan watches Lena procrastinate on her claiming further, she becomes convinced that she claimed herself when she sacrificed Macon. This is the main drama of Beautiful Darkness and preoccupies our moody teenagers for the entire book.

Lena, unable to forgive herself, pulls away from Ethan, unwilling to be reminded everyday of what she has done, and afraid she will hurt Ethan again. To up the ante, a nice caster boy shows up, with all the strength of an Incubus, but none of the weaknesses. Marianne, who is unsurprisingly absent, since her role as Keeper forces her neutrality, has a protégé who offers Ethan the same distraction that John offers Lena. Tell-tale twitches and over-stated side-long glances aside, we have no idea what John and the siren Ridley are bringing with them. But this time it's not just Serafine with her eyes on Lena and Ethan, someone bigger and badder is backing her now, and someone whom everyone is afraid of.

It was hard to get through all the emotional baggage that this book carries with it from the previous one, and I'm not the first one to say a serious slim-down of these novels would most likely have meant books that really pack a punch. But the story is interesting none-the-less for the same reasons, suffering from book-in-the-middle syndrome, but if you can fly through this 500 page book, you will enjoy it. I often got bogged down with all the brow-rumpling I was doing, but once I relaxed and let my inner critic doze through it, the interaction and angst got downright exciting.

Anyone who was paying close attention to Ridley, and not skimming too much, noticed that she isn't not as Dark as she is said to be. Especially toward the end when she's saying bye to her toy, we suddenly see she isn't as invulnerable as she claims. That continues when Link tags along with Ethan on his quest across the underground Caster world, Ridley's nervous ticks, frowns and sad eyes make us keenly aware of what should have been more subtle. Ridley doesn't shine as a character, but we are very sympathetic for her because she's a girl, and she's given a bad hand. Since most of those reading the Chronicles are girls, Ridley is the character we get emotionally intimate with, not only because her Cousin is absent for the majority of this book as well.

Amma also kicks it up a notch with her spiritual intervention, and the ancestors get downright bad-ass toward the end, using their strengths to help Ethan protect Lena from her claiming. The historical snapshots as well are much less tedious than those we saw about Genevieve in the last book. And since it's a book, the glimpses we get are much more tantalizing, making some plot-twists really fascinating.

As for the new characters in this one, John and Olivia "Liv" Durand. John is so suspicious that he's boring, and works better on the page when he's merely alluded to. Liv on the other hand, has cool gadgets, and a handy role in the story. She's a Keeper-in-training, filled to the brim with caster knowledge, and like her Giles-like role-model, is forbidden from interfering She is, thankfully, insatiably curious, and tags along with Ethan and Link to 'observe'.

Beautiful Darkness is not the strong sequel that Beautiful Creatures needed, and it sits, like Liv does, on the edge of passive and adventurous. Middle books in a trilogy or quartet are hard. There's often a formulaic need to have your heroes running across Middle Earth for the majority of the book. In middle books, your going from first book to last book, without much to do, unless you skimp on the fluff, which none of the Caster Chronicles do. This installment reassures me that the serious is mild, yet refreshing. A dude in distress who can barely handle himself, but doesn't mope, weep or brood. He gets angry, but also gets on his feet and faces the dangers of being in love with a Caster girl, no matter what. I just wished he had been a little more demanding of all the people who wanted to shut him out, and I wish Lena had felt less contrived. If you find yourself flipping slowly, listlessly in the first 200 pages, stick with it, skim if you want, but push through. Because if you are really interested in learning how all these freaking moons that Lena has to deal with are resolved, the latter half really is the more interesting part of the book. Here's to hoping the sequel throws some serious surprises at us.

503pp. Little, Brown & Company. 10th Oct. 2010.
  knotbox | Dec 1, 2014 |
The Characters

Ethan, Lena, Link, Riddly, Marion, Liv, and a host of others. They go through a lot in this book. A lot a lot. Lena’s guilt, Ethan learns so much, Riddly and an un0named party go through huge transformations. The gang really goes through the ringer. In the end they are all different but okay, I think. I suppose time will tell.

The Story

Like I said about a lot happens in this book. I won’t even try to sum it all up. I’ll just say that I was interested, intrigued and surprised throughout my time in Gatlin. Things are very complicated and I think they will get more so in the near future. I think Ethan and Lena will handle it well as long as they stick together.

The Random Thoughts

This is difficult to write as the problem I have with audiobooks is that I’m often listening to them while driving so I can’t make notes or reread anything and I’m totally dependent on my terrible memory. :-(

I’m left with the impression that Riddly is still up to no good.

4 Stars ( )
  bookjunkie57 | Oct 14, 2014 |
This is the second book in the caster chronicles so if you haven't seen my Beautiful Creatures review or have not read the book than please do so before you read the rest of this post.

About a two weeks a go I posted a review for the first book in this series.

My problems I had in that book was the lag in the story line and the character Lena.

In this one I felt that there wasn't really any lag and even the over load of information from the first book was necessary for the plot line of this book and this series. A lot of the mysteries from the first book are solved as well as a whole bunch of new problems are brought out and new questions enter the story.

On to Lena. Hmm for Lena I really am indifferent I really don't love her or hate her. One second she does something stupid the next I feel for her. All and all I guess I have a love-hate relationship for her. Ethan on the other hand I really LOVE I love that his character is evolving and growing. While Lena kinda feels flat to me.

My favorite character for this book is Liv (just because I don't want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn't read the second book yet) Liv is a new character in the second book who becomes really important to the plot line. She is British and studying to be a Keeper. What book isn't awesome with a little British humor?

I really liked this book and plan to continue the series soon. I have the third book and will read it sometime soon. I hope the third book is just as awesome as this one if not even better.

My Rating 4.5/5
Lena is what made this book not 5 stars for me ( )
  AryaDragon | Aug 26, 2014 |
Mixed feelings about this book. I like the development it took, especially with a lot of the supporting characters, such as Link, Ridley, Macon, and the "Sisters". Even the cat, Lucielle, surprised me in the most pleasant way. Detail in story telling was amazing. Very well done with good driving emotion with humor to flush it out.

However, I was angry almost the entire book through. With the focus on a decision Lena has to make, I was mentally screaming at her each time the plight was mentioned as it was a decision I felt I could have made in an instant in the previous book, all heartbreak accounted for. And, after the Claiming event in this decision, it felt worse in that the matter was still unresolved. That could have been handled better, I think. The antagonists already create drive for the third book, so for Lena to continually straddle the fence between Dark and Light seems a bit overkill. While I identified with Lena during Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness just seemed to making her self-pitying, self-loathing and that is just something I hate above all in anyone, fiction or real. ( )
  MoonSpider | Aug 21, 2014 |
A pathetic moping hero,a stupid,arrogant,tantrum throwing heroine and never ending series of magical tunnels.....That's what all this book is about.

This book is irritating and stretchy.I just don't understand why the authors wasted so many pages on either Ethan moping around or Lena throwing tantrums.The story just went in circles never reaching the main plot.All these pages are completely unnecessary.It could have easily ended in half the pages of its actual length.
Only substantial things that happened in this book were in the last 100 pages.One could easily skipped some middle parts of the book and still would understand everything.

And this Lena and her coming moon and her choosing side is really getting on my nerves.Why can't she just choose one side and get it over with?What is so hard about it?Just say light or dark and finish the damn claiming already.But no,she had to say something weird to keep the story going.If they are going to do another coming moon and another claiming in the next book,I will have to throw the book away.

The only good thing about the book is my favorite character Macon is back.And the most interesting character in the book is the "Cat".I just hate to give any book 1 star and that's the only reason I gave it two stars. ( )
  sreeparna | Jul 27, 2014 |
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Kami Garciaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stohl, Margaretmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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I used to think our town, buried in the South Carolina backwoods, stuck in the muddy bottom of the Santee River Valley, was the middle of nowhere.
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One night in the rain, Ethan Wate opened his eyes and fell in love with Lena Duchannes. His life would never be the same. Lena is a Caster and her family is locked in a supernatural civil war: full of darkness and demons. On her sixteenth birthday Lena made a terrifying choice, which now haunts her day and night. And as her seventeenth birthday approaches Lena and Ethan face even greater danger. A Caster and a Mortal can never truly be together. Every kiss is a curse. Ethan’s next heartbeat could be his last. It is their curse now . .
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In a small southern town with a secret world hidden in plain sight, sixteen-year-old Lena, who possesses supernatural powers and faces a life-altering decision, draws away from her true love, Ethan, a mortal with frightening visions.

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