Wednesday, 2 February 2011
Review: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Title: Beautiful Darkness
Series: Caster Chronicles
Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Publication Date: 28 Oct 2010
Synopsis: From GoodReads
Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.
Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.
The anticipated sequel to Beautiful Creatures, although I wasn't a huge fan of Beautiful Creatures I felt drawn to reading this as sequels can sometimes turn an entire series around for me. Although there were good aspects of the story, I cant say I was completely enamoured with it. Unfortunately, for me this was kind of 'in between'.
The story picks up shortly after the dramatic ending of Beautiful Creatures however personalities and interactions have altered drastically within the time frame given. A little unsettling with the continuity, I did find it hard to reconcile the image I already had of the characters with this new portrayal. There are a number of new tangents that the plot has taken dividing the characters, I was left wondering how it would all merge back together.
Lena's actions were understandable to a degree, lost in her grief and apprehension of the future, trying to change the way she feels by changing the way she looks. As the narrative is told in first person from Ethan's point of view, we have a one dimensional perspective of events, we can only guess at Lena's thoughts and feelings via hints given. This can be quite frustrating, although it is a good parallel for the frustration that Ethan is feeling due to the barrier that Lena has created.
I did adore the Gothic imagery and particularly the use of animals as familiars - the dog and the cat having a conversation was brilliant to imagine. The use of southern colloquialisms and mannerisms added to the imagery and realism of the plot. The descriptions were totally sensory making them easy to picture.
However, some scenarios seemed incredulous at first, although as they developed they became more believable. I did remain skeptical and pessimistic throughout *I know you can hardly believe it*. There were some interesting twists and a rather unusual cliffhanger.
My favourite part of this book was Link's character development. Ironic or profound use of the name as he is the link that holds everyone together; he is totally comfortable with who he is and doesn't alter for anyone. His optimism/positivity provides a refreshing respite from the 'doom and gloom'.
The introduction of Liv provided a nice contrast to Lena in both appearance and demeanour, nevertheless I was not keen on the romantic angle pursued by both Lena and Ethan; it just did not gel in my mind at all. For two people to have such intense emotions for each other; they were able to alter them very quickly.
I am sure this will be a winner with a lot of people but unfortunately I only liked it rather than loving it.