Title: Beautiful Creatures
Author: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Series: Caster Chronicles #1
Next Book: Beautiful Darkness
Source: Personal Purchase
Description from Goodreads:
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps, and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything….
I decided to read Beautiful Creatures shortly before the movie came out, so I bought the audio book on Audible, and then proceeded to procrastinate on it for several months. I agreed to do a buddy read of it last month, so it finally gave me an excuse to read it.
Before I get into the story itself, I want to talk a little bit about the audio book itself. First of all, I thought it was a really well-produced audio book. There is a song that is repeated several times throughout the book, and in the audio, it was an actual song, sung and with background music. Also, there were several sound effects in the background of the actual narration, like a thunderstorm, for example, and I really felt that they added to the tone of the story, especially the creepier parts. I really liked the narrator as well, though there were some parts that bugged me. Beautiful Creatures takes place in the South, so while our narrator doesn’t have an accent, many of the other characters do. When we had especially long scenes with lots of different Southern accents, it kind of grated on me. Typically I like Southern accents, but sometimes they just seemed a bit exaggerated.
I really liked the beginning of the story, though I was able to predict some of it. I really liked that a lot of the mysteries were set up very early on, and there was an underlying creepiness to it that I really enjoyed. I found Ethan to be a pretty good character, and I was able to jump into his story right away. I also really enjoyed his interesting dynamic with Lena, which started very early on.
After most of the mysteries were set up, and Lena’s big reveal came, I felt like the whole story really slowed down. I felt like some things were discovered a little too soon, while others took forever. I ended up barely listening to it for weeks because it was just dragging. I’m sure there was a reason for it, but I just felt like we got lost in the day-to-day events of Ethan and Lena’s lives, and sometimes I failed to see how they added to the story.
Once the action picked up again near the end, I really enjoyed it again, though there were bits at the end that annoyed me a little, while others greatly surprised me. I didn’t love the actual ending, though, so I’m really torn on whether or not I’m going to continue the series. While I enjoyed most of Beautiful Creatures, the ending didn’t really leave me feeling invested enough to definitely continue the series. It didn’t leave me absolutely planning on avoiding the rest of the series either, though, so I may or may not read the next book.
Overall, I thought that Beautiful Creatures had a pretty good storyline, and the audio book was a great way to listen to it, but I felt like it was a little too long and dragged in places. I would recommend it with the disclaimer that it does slow way down in the middle.