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.
This book takes place in the Southern county of Gatlin, a small county in which everyone knows everyone and everything. For a majority of the people, Gatlin is a self-sufficient town and people tend to stay there throughout their life. Not Ethan Wate. Ethan is counting down the days until he can escape the town and all of its people. That is, until Lena Duchannes moves in. She is the niece of the feared Macon Ravenwood, a reserved man who has never been seen outside of his home. Ethan feels a connection with Lena and is drawn to her, regardless of the number of times she's attempted to push him away. With Lena, Ethan realizes that the town he's known his whole life isn't exactly what it seems to be. He learns of a hidden world filled with creatures of different powers. A world that his family is already inexplicably tied into. Generally as a Caster (parallel to a witch), on the sixteenth birthday a choice must be made: either to go Dark or Light, be good or evil. For most, this is a choice. However, for Lena it is decided for her, and everything happening leads up to the moment she will be claimed.
I thought this book was really good and recommend it for anyone who enjoys fantasy.
Spoiler-Filled Review/ My Opinion
Cover: Most times the cover usually doesn't have an affect on me, but I just want to point out how well-made this cover is. The simplicity of it really appeals to me. The colors go well together and give a sense of mystery and fantasy.
I honestly really loved this book. I felt like it was really cohesive, there were little things I had problems with, but overall I thought this was both a fun and interesting read.
Things I Liked.
One thing I really enjoyed in this book was Ethan and Lena's relationship and how it progressed and developed throughout the book. It was completely awkward and just as how a teenage relationship should be. But their chemistry is impeccable. Unlike most couples, they have the ability to work together without getting too caught up in each other. One thing about it that really hit me hard was how it was so hard for Ethan to say that he was in love with her. For me, this makes the emotion all the more real. The word 'love' isn't thrown around in the book and I really appreciate that.
Another thing I really liked was Link's character. He was witty and funny and served as a great foil to his mother. His loyalty to Ethan was astounding and I just loved his character and personality.
Generally I thought that the entire plot was so well written. I loved how scenes with Genevieve's locket were interspersed at such appropriate times and how it traced back to both Ethan and Lena. In addition I loved how everyone who was considered 'normal' in Ethan's eyes was a part of this secret world: Marion, Amma, his own mother. Speaking of his mother, I think she had such an important role for someone whose never actually in the book. She's the reason Ethan was able to separate himself from the superficial world of Gatlin. She gave both Ethan and Lena hope for continuing to look for an answer.
Things I Disliked
The one thing that really bothered me in this book was the ending. Maybe it's because I haven't read the rest of the series and it'll probably be explained, but what I didn't understand is why Lena didn't claim herself. At first I understood, if she goes Light, all the Dark casters die, which also meant Uncle Macon. But at the end, Macon had died in the place of Ethan, so rather than putting it off, she could have just gone Light and ended it all then. I understood the whole principle of it: that no one is singularly Light or Dark, but a mixture of both, but in terms of the book, it just seemed easier that she make a decision rather than put it off until next year. That's what I call procrastination.