Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Genre: paranormal romance, southern gothic
Published: December 1, 2009
Publisher: Little Brown
Rating: 5/5 Stars
"There were no surprises in Gatlin County. At least, that's what I thought.Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.There was a girl.And in the end, there was a grave.
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." - Goodreads
The Setting: The town of Gatlin is really something else. It's full of history, charming and quaint but also unforgiving and exclusive. This all leads to an incredibly dynamic setting for Beautiful Creatures. Gatlin has all the makings for the perfect setting for a Southern Gothic novel: moss-covered cemeteries, winding country roads, rows and rows of ancient trees and a crumbling plantation on the hill. But it isn't just Gatlin that entrances the reader, there's also the ever-changing Ravenwood: the oldest house in town and home to the town recluse, Greenbriar: the burnt-out rubble of what used to be Ravenwood's neighbor before General Sherman got to it and of course a secret, enchanted library that is literally underground. Color me spooked, I love it!
The characters: Part of what makes Gatlin such and awesome locale is the local population. There are so many wonderful characters, both good and bad, and they make this book something special. First there are our two main characters and lovebirds Ethan and Lena, they are so real. They are brave, but not fearless, intelligent, but not unreachable and completely in love with each other (which, lets face it, is pretty much irresistable). Then there is Amma, she is like Ethan's adopted grandma. She can bake like nobody's business, keep a teenage boy reined in and still find time to make voodoo dolls. I want her to adopt me. And there should be a totally different book just about Amma and Lena's Uncle Macon Ravenwood, the town shut-in who happens to look like a movie star. Their relationship is so antagonistic and funny that I really found myself wishing there was more of it in the book. I need to know their history together. Ravenwood is a true Southern gentleman who holds none of the prejudices of his fellow Gatlin-ites. He is fiercely protective of Lena and is an all-around entertaining old excentric. Finally there is Ridley, she is Lena's cousin and ex best friend who went "dark" on her 16th birthday. Her character holds a complexity that isn't truly showcased until the end of the book. She is evil, of course, and she appears to like being that way but you get the feeling that maybe there is something else going on there that keeps you wanting more. Plus she's just tons of fun.
The message: The best part of the story, though, has to be the message. I'm a big believer in creating your own destiny with what you are given. Lena has to face the possibility that her free will might be taken away and that she will not be able to control her own fate. This sends her on a quest to take back the reins become the author of her own destiny.
The cover: I mean, seriously, could it get any spookier or more ominous? I probably wouldn't have taken so long to read the book if I hadn't kept staring at the cover all the time.
Nothing, seriously. I really couldn't think of anything in this book that I didn't enjoy. If I had to choose, maybe Marian Ashcroft would be a little annoying in person (who speaks in quotes that much?) but she had her role in the story and at times could be really amazing.
I loved this book! I'm so happy I finally picked it up and I can't wait for the film (release date is set for February 13th, 2013). I would recommend this to anyone who loves romance, a spooky setting and, of course, a little magic.