4th February 2010, Puffin
568 pages, Paperback
Young Adult, Paranomal
Tissues: 2 (see note for why it would have been more)
Yunaleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥
Note: I would have needed more tissues at the end...if I hadn't peeked at the last pages a few chapters into the book. It's a bad habit - I like to make sure the characters I like the best survive. If they don't, I still finish the book.
Summary by Penguin
Beautiful Creatures is one of many books which I'm seeing pop up all over the internet, so naturally I said yes please to a copy.
Initially I didn't warm to the book. The first few chapters are okay, but there wasn't much that held my interest. It built up a background of Ethan and where he lives, which is always important to the story. I did smile at Ethan's narration - it made the background information come to life. Yet I didn't become hooked on that. Ethan seemed a typical teen male to me. I kept on reading because I was sure the exciting part would come around any moment. I started to warm to Ethan a lot more, finding traits in his character similar to my own. Yes, there was some mystery surrounding Lena, but nothing that had me thinking 'wow'. The other characters - especially Ethan's Aunts had me giggling away at their vibrant personalities.
Then the book turned a corner and I hated putting it down (Unfortunately I had to read this over 3 days, rather than all in one go). It became the book that I thought about in free moments at work and while I carried out on other tasks, urging myself to get them done for the reward of Beautiful Creatures.
When Ethan finally becomes entangled in Lena's life, wow and awesome came to my mind. Ethan puts a lot on the line to stay Lena's friend. At one point the entire school body and town turn against him because of Lena. But Ethan discovers a deep bond with Lena. He can't help but try and protect her, despite her cautions about getting too close. I think dreaming about a person who suddenly then appears in real life would make a person curious. As does having their lives connected with the past
Lena isn't normal, but Ethan doesn't care. Through sharing terrifying dreams, communicating via telepathy Ethan and Lena share the same hope for the future. To help her survive her 16th birthday. For then the powers which are beginning to develop inside Lena will require her to choose whether to be good or evil.
Surely such a choice is easy to make? Ah but what if you can't choose - something else chooses for you? Lena's mysterious uncle Macon who never leaves the house (a house which holds its own mystery) holds the truth about Lena locked away in his heart. Ethan even sees him meeting his guardian, Amma. Amma is obsessed with charms, and protection. Yet can her love protect Ethan from Lena's seemingly doomed fate? Why is she so against Ethan getting close to Lena?
Things to expect from Beautiful Creatures; an overly intelligent dog, a house which changes form, lollipops (which I will never look at again in the same way), a new class of magical terms, friendships tested, freaky weather, libraries, lemons and rosemary.
My rating of the book lowered because of the slower pacing at the beginning of the book, and also one of the conclusions at the end. The outcome of the school's attitude towards Lena felt too easily achieved - for me I didn't find it plausible. It happened too quickly for my liking.
Apart from that, I highly recommend Beautiful Creatures and look forward to the sequel, Beautiful Darkness.
Be sure to check out Beautiful Creatures website which has all the info on the series and the authors.
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