Posts tagged ‘margaretstohl’

July 17th, 2010

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!

May 12th, 2010

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Beautiful Creatures

Author(s): Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia

Published: December 1st, 2009 by Little, Brown

Number of Pages: 563

Rating: 4/5

Quote:

Sixteen moons, sixteen years

Sixteen of your deepest fears

Sixteen times you dreamed my tears

Falling, Falling through the years . . .

Review:

This is another book that I had heard so much about before buying it. I entered a multitude of giveaways, but finally succumbed to my excitement and just purchased it on my own (by the way, I also have a ridiculous reason for loving this book: it’s the perfect thickness. I looked at it and thought, Boy, I want to hold that. Lovely). I am pleased to say that it lived up to my expectations.

Beautiful Creatures is a very promising beginning to what is bound to be an extremely popular series, Caster Chronicles. I read this book in approximately two days, and I absolutely inhaled it.

Written from the point of view of Ethan, a teenage boy who is incredibly relatable and likable, the book reels you in immediately with a strong voice that is remarkably easy to sympathize with. I’m always happy to find characters that I can ultimately respect because it’s far easier to root for them. Ethan is the sort of kid I’d like to meet in real life, the sort of kid I would feel added something to my life with their friendship instead of being detrimental.

He lives in the middle of Nowhere-ville in a town where nearly everyone has roots stretching back generations, all the way through the Civil War. It’s immediately evident that nothing much happens in this town. New kids at school are a rarity and often find trouble fitting in.

So it’s not too surprising that the new girl, niece of a man known to be an introvert and pretty darned close to crazy, isn’t quite welcome at Jackson High School. The facts that she dresses like a psycho and wears a necklace strung with junk, draws odd pictures in her notebooks, and seems to have the ability to shatter entire windows ensure that she has no chance of fitting in. Ever.

As a kid who’s excepted and even considered popular, it’s social suicide for Ethan to even hand Lena a pencil. The world seems to be in utter disarray when Ethan finds that he’s inexplicably connected to Lena through dreams with origins that are equally inexplicable. Slowly and not-so-surely, Ethan is drawn into the world of witchcraft, Lena’s world, and fascinated by Lena herself.

This is the first “witch book” I’ve ever read (not counting Harry Potter, because that goes without saying), and I was pleasantly surprised. The witchcraft element is expertly woven into the book, and you discover new facets of that world at a sure pace. You’re only sufficiently overwhelmed, if that makes sense. You’re only astonished enough to be entirely intrigued and anxious to read further.

The plot moved more quickly through the last two thirds of the book, but I felt like it was a genuine page-turner. Every page of the whopping 563 kept the plotline moving along and me squirming toward the edge of my seat.

I loved the characters in this novel. Link was especially wonderful as the best friend/side-kick. Lena was beautifully created, wholly interesting and lovable. And, of course, you have Old Man Ravenwood. He reminds Ethan of Atticus Finch, so I was bound to love him.

The historic, Civil War element beautifully added a unique factor to this novel. I was impressed by the smoothness of the read and consistency of the voice, considering the book was written by two women. This novel was well-written, but it’s the story that stands out as original and incredibly entertaining. This book has and will continue to sweep the nation. I recommend this book to everyone who has found themselves in love with the YA genre, which, despite my earlier assertions to the impossibility of such a thing, has happened to me.

Beautiful Creatures is a magical, unique, and utterly intriguing novel. A remarkably original world of witchery and an irresistible collection of characters make this book a winner.