Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Read - Beautiful Darkness

Beautiful Darkness
by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
2010
503 pages

'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.
'

*** MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS ***

I will admit right off the bat that I took way too much time reading this and that could very well be a big part of my disappoint in this book.  I was in a reading slump for a while, was anxious to read other things for a while, even did set this aside to read another book and then came back to this.  Maybe if I'd not been so slow and distracted, things would be different.  Maybe I shouldn't even review it right now, but instead, wait and re-read it properly sometime down the road.  But whatever.  I'll just post this now with my current thoughts.

I was quite bored and disappointed with this second book in the Beautiful Creatures series.  I'd been surprised at how much I enjoyed the first one, except for the ending.  I thought this second book would be everyone finding ways to deal with the things that happened in the first, finding ways to move, and introducing some new troubles or something.  But no, it ended up being a whole lot of padding, fluff, and filler leading up to what was supposed to be this epic battle, this life altering event . . . which lasted about two sentences, and was a very lacking repeat of the disappointing ending of the first book.

Did you follow all that rambling?  lol

Main characters Ethan and Lena are growing apart in this book.  Well, Lena is growing apart.  She is distancing herself from Ethan and punishing herself for the death of her uncle in the first book.  Ethan tries to hang on, but she pulls farther and farther away.  Then he learns what's really going on.  Lena managed to avoid being Claimed on her 16th birthday but her 17th birthday is coming and there won't be a way to avoid it this time.  She's depressed and vulnerable, and someone is feeding her information about a place she can go where she won't be Claimed, where she won't be either Light or Dark, where she'll just be a Caster.  She takes off for this place, and Ethan sets out to find and save her.

Sound like it could be a good story, right?

The problem was that it took soooo long for the few real events to pan out.  This 500 page book only really needed to be 100 pages, or probably even less.  There just seemed to be a lot of events, a lot of pages worth, that didn't need to be there for what really happened in the story.  The stuff that happened at the county fair pie judging?  What did any of that need to be included for?  We already knew Lena was pulling away and hanging with dark characters.  And that's just one example.  Once I got to the last 100 or so pages, things did seem to pick up and get a bit more interesting but then the big climax was a huge letdown, and very brief,  and the story went back to bleah after that.  Not even the little twist with what happened to Link at the end could save it because it seemed rather convenient, and even cheesy.

I've read that there probably won't be a movie for this book because the ending of the first movie was changed so much and pretty much jumped to the end of the second book as far as storyline goes.  That's kind of how I felt about this book in general, like we really didn't need it, like an extra chapter or two added on to the first book could have given us all the same information.

As of right now, I have very little desire to read the third book.  I have a bunch of other books I'm anxious to read instead.  However, having said that, I am curious where the story will go from here because it seems like we've gotten some piddly crap out of the way now and can proceed to bigger things.  Maybe I'll eventually come back to this series, but for now I'm setting it aside.

Have you read this book?  This series?  What did you think?  Does it get better?

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