Friday, January 21, 2011

Book Review: The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Since this summer, I have been hearing tons and tons of hype about the two books in the Caster Chronicles Series - Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. This winter, I was finally able to lay my hands on these two novels, and got to reading them straightaway.


Beautiful Creatures (Book 1)
The book introduces you to the protagonist, Ethan Wate, who has lived in Gaitlin, North Carolina for all this life and is itching to get out. Then he meets the strange new girl at school, Lena Duchannes, niece of the town shut-in, Macon Ravenwood. In one strange meeting, they both come to realize that they have been dreaming about each other since long before they met. Lena shies away, but Ethan wants to know what is going on, and why they have this connection.
From here everything spirals out - an uneasy friendship, a whirlwind romance, a curse, some totally cool supernatural relatives, an underground library, a moody mansion, and one really, REALLY evil mom.
I quite enjoyed reading this novel. The writing was very rich and detailed, and described everything from the townsfolk, to the mouthwatering Southern food to the Caster mythology in great detail. The characters seemed pretty well developed. I loved watching Lena and Ethan's friendship develop into a romantic relationship - it was paced well and quite realistic. I burned through the whole book in about two days, leaving time for eating and showering, because I was itching to finish and it and solve the mystery. As a gothic mystery, it worked really well for me and I really enjoyed the read.

Beautiful Darkness (Book 2)
Most unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the second book. It picked up right where the first one left off, BUT there was so.much.angst.! It seems that as Lena pulled away, Ethan let her, instead of going after her (on multiple occasions). The first half of the book dragged, and nothing much happened except for more.angst. The moment the pace picked up however, I really got into the book and burned through it in one day, again waiting to find out conclusion. BUT again,  not that much actually happens in this novel's conclusion, since it is set up as a cliffhanger for a third (perhaps final?) volume.

Overall, I would give the books about 6.5 or 7 out of 10. My favorite characters in the series have definitely got to be Amma (she is so badass) and Ridley (evil, but a lot of fun to read!).

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