Saturday, January 18, 2014

Beautiful Darkness | Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

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.

Non-Spoiler Review

This book is a sequel to Beautiful Creatures (which I've already reviewed) and as the Ethan delves deeper into the Caster world, he learns more about his family and how intertwined it really is with the Caste world. After Lena's birthday both Ethan and Lena are trying to return to their normal lives. As the school year winds down, Ethan notices Lena pulling away slowly, hanging out with Ridley and dressing more like her, as if she were Dark. As the seventeenth moon approaches, Ethan must stop  Lena from making the one decision that could destroy herself. 

Spoiler-Filled Review/ My Opinion

Things I Liked

Liv. Need I say anymore? She was the perfect character. She was smart, funny, pretty and british. Throughout most of the book I preferred her to Lena, not to say I didn't like Lena. She was likable and wasn't as indecisive. Her character development throughout the book was really great, and I really really really hope we see more of her in the next books. She definitely needs some compensation for everything she's sacrificed for the sake of the Caster world.  

Link also went through some fantastic character development throughout the book. He went from having an extremely minor role in the first book to playing a somewhat important role in the major bulk of the action throughout the book. I think his most important role was to keep Ridley grounded. He was one of the major reasons Ridley wasn't completely Dark. And the fact that he's turning into a supernatural creature makes me think he's going to have an even bigger role as the series progresses. 

I am really excited to see how Ridley develops throughout the rest of the series as a Mortal. From Ethan's point of view we only see her as the Siren whose trying to ruin Lena's life and in this book, I think she really changes her image of herself. We see that the Darkness hasn't completely taken her over in those brief moments with Link and Lena where we see a small amount of vulnerability come through. I'm really curious how this transformation plays itself out. 

Things I Disliked

The way I felt about Ethan and Lena in this book is a sharp contrast to how I felt about them in the first book. Their relationship was really rocky in this book and there were too many other people in between their relationship. Lena particularly irritated me in the first two-thirds of this book. She was being moody and extremely hypocritical. I get it. She's going through a difficult time but regardless of what's happened, no one has the right to be as hypocritical as she was. She ran away from Ethan with some guy on a motorcycle and then was furious at Ethan for interacting with Liv. It's such a double standard and I found it completely unfound and unnecessary. 

The entire love scene with Lila and Macon somewhat rubbed me the wrong way. I don't know if it was just me, but it seemed like a Harry Potter was pulled on us. Lila Evers Wate and Lily Evans Potter. There's no way that's a coincidence, just putting it out there. I predicted the whole relationship before it was revealed, and I just...don't like it. 

Why has Lena not claimed herself yet?! At this point, I feel like the series is being prolonged unnecessarily. Eighteenth moon? Is that really necessary? At this point Ridley's a mortal, Uncle Macon is no longer dark. What is she waiting for?! If she just Claimed herself for the Light they could be done with this trouble. 

Personally I thought this was really just a filler book, filled with new information. My expectations for this book were somewhat high and I really hope the series picks up from this book.