Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Beautiful Darkness

Author(s): Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia

Published: October 12th, 2010

Number of Pages: 512

Rating: 4/5

Review Sent to Little Brown*:

Thrilling, adventurous, and altogether entertaining, Beautiful Darkness is an astounding addition to the Caster Chronicles Series. Although I was unsure whether or not Beautiful Darkness had what it took to compete with book one in the series, my worries were put at rest by the end of the novel. The characters we fell in love with in Beautiful Creatures, and some incredible new faces, make this book not only interesting, but fun. And the absolutely epic ending doesn’t hurt a bit. The honest truth? Beautiful Darkness is one shocking and intoxicating read.

Synopsis:

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.

Sometimes life-ending.

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. [From Goodreads]

Review:

First of all, I have to say thanks for the millionth time to both Miranda (for grabbing me this ARC at ALA) and Little Brown (because they were going to send it to me anyway)! I was beyond thrilled to get my booksnobbish hands on this book!

In Beautiful Creatures (review), we were dunked head-first into the world of Casters. In Beautiful Darkness, we’re drowned. It’s incredible. (And, uh, that metaphor was creepier than I intended. Sorry. I seriously doubt the authors are homicidal.)

For the first two hundred pages or so, I thought the plot was moving slowly. As Lena pulled away from Ethan – and not simply away, but in the wrong direction, I became more and more irritated with her. I was glad that Ethan had ways of amusing himself without her, but his justified confusion, sadness, and, occasionally, anger was painful to read. Originally, I was disappointed that Kami and Margaret where going in the direction they were. So often in sequels with a romantic focus, the plotline is completely overshadowed by some dilemma that is pulling the couple apart. After all the happily-ever-after-the-lovebirds-are-together-at-last of the first book/movie, the writers seem to always take this way of creating tension. As the plot moved forward, however, and particularly in the latter half of the book, the love story, though still a focal point, was less overpowering.

One of the other things I noticed that isn’t entirely positive (as most of this review will be, trust me) was Ethan’s voice lapsing into something that didn’t quite resemble the thoughts of a sixteen-year-old boy (in my opinion). The dialogue was always spot-on and incredibly entertaining, but when Ethan described certain elements of his surroundings, or even his feelings, the word choice was too poetic. Something I would think, but I can’t imagine my dad or brother thinking. They’re not stupid. They’re just male. However, though I noticed it, the poetic words were beautiful and nicely placed. The writing was great. Just a bit off, in my opinion. Again, I only noticed this occasionally, and even that might have had to do with the fact that I’m trying to keep the voice in my WIP compliant with what I believe a seventeen-year-old boy’s would be.

Now that I’ve gotten through my few peeves with the book, I can proceed to tell you how much fun this book is! You know how The Dark Knight is an incredible movie, but Batman Begins is the more enjoyable of the two? It’s because Batman Begins is fun. It’s a wholly enjoyable experience. Beautiful Darkness is that sort of book. I was amazed by the adventure aspects, mostly in the second half of the book. I was completely engrossed in the story, and the entire thing was simply mind-boggling. I absolutely love it. It reminded me of reading the Harry Potter books for the first time. Every HP ending was so gripping and wonderfully written, and I felt the way I felt then while following Ethan through the tunnels. I admire Kami and Margaret so much for their ability to construct such a fabulous ending. The adventure and ending of this book are top-notch. And, as with Beautiful Creatures, they end with a cliffhanger. Like a TV show you’re hypnotized by and then the screen goes black. It takes you a minute to focus on the dreaded words: To Be Continued…

The characters in this book are tons of fun to hang out with, too. The more people in the scene, the better. Link was back and more lovable than ever, and… uh, other characters rocked too. (I have never had so much trouble holding the spoilers back! I feel like I need to spit it all out. I need a minute to compose myself and zip my blabbing mouth shut…) Okay! Anyway, the characters make this book what it is. Every single one of them is so multifaceted. I cannot wait to see more of them in the next book, and, quite honestly, I’m probably going to have random daydreams about them until book three is released.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t think I would like Beautiful Darkness as much as the first book in the series, but once the story took a turn about mid-way through the book, I was hooked. And, in the end, I enjoyed this book more.

You guys, prepare to be shocked. Hold onto your socks.

Psst! Read Reading Teen’s Review! (And then follow the blog!)

*Thanks!

2 Commentsto “Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl; Review”

  1. I thought BC was pretty slow (and agree with your thoughts on Ethan's voice) but there's little doubt that by the time the release date comes around and the blogosphere is saturated in reviews, i won't be able to resist reading it. excellent review, as always! (and i feel really slow and amnesiac, what was the cliffhanger for book 1? sorry for such a mundane question :s )

  2. omg! cant wait 4 it to come out!

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