Beautiful Darkness

Book Stats:

  • Beautiful Darkness
  • Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  • Little Brown and Company
  • Released October 12th 2010
  • Book 2 of the Caster Chronicles
  • 3.5 Stars

Summary:

After suffering a tragic loss, Lena Duchannes starts to pull away from Ethan Wate, 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.

Review:

Actually 3.5 Stars

You know, I don’t think I was planning on reading this book but I didn’t have anything else that I could check out and so I was like oh wth, let’s start it. It was better than I expected I have to say. The authors manage to take the most annoying part of second-book-syndrome, the buildup of relationship angst, and turn it into the crux of the plot and for this series it works because that also was kind of the problem in the first book.

As I said in my review of the first book, I really didn’t like how mopey Lena was. She’s the exact same emo girl in this book and it’s not doing it for me I mean can someone light her on fire or something to get her moving? Oh wait, she’s probably impervious to fire for all that we know… The good news is that the second half of the book doesn’t have any Lena in it. After slogging through the first half of the book where all that happens is a bunch of scenes that consist of Ethan trying to get it on with Lena and Lena pushing him away and being moody and slightly insane, I was pretty happy when the book took a turn for better. There’s so much more action and adventure and instead of feeling impending dread, there’s a passion there that Ethan has in this book that vastly improves its appeal

Though the characters weren’t really fleshed out as much as I would have liked, there are many reveals about people like Macon, Ethan’s mother, the sisters, Marion the librarian and more. There are also new people introduced like Liv, a keeper in training and part of a annoying, yet not useless love triangle and by that I mean that I stand by my belief that I dislike love triangles but I see that this one really digs at the central conflict between Lena and Ethan: their differing opinions on mortal/caster compatibility. I’ll leave you to guess how the triangle is resolved though it should be pretty obvious.

Now the way that the puzzle pieces unfold in this book – adding more mystery than is really resolved – and how material from the first book is blended in and explained is something that I liked. It makes me feel like there was substantial planning that went into mapping out the trajectory of the whole series, not just book by book. And things do get much bigger in this book, while Beautiful Creatures stayed inside Gatlin, Beautiful Darkness branches out all over the South and in the Caribbean even (though I may be mistaken about that, I’m not exactly sure where the finale happens). More and more supernatural characters appear; we learn a lot more about Lena’s family; and with the minimal mentions of the townsfolk of Gatlin that are not supernatural, we finally get this sense of Ethan getting to step beyond the confines of his hometown and be something special for once.

Interesting developments happen with a lot of characters like Link and Ridley, who get their own novella following this book, and by interesting I mean VERY interesting beyond their relationship with each other. But the real show stealers are the things we learn about Macon. I said it in my last review and it’s still true; Macon is the coolest character of the whole book, though Lucille Ball, the cat that Ethan acquires, could give him run for that title. I really can’t say much without spoilers but needless to say, I was really excited about the things we learn about Macon.

With the way that Beautiful Darkness ended, if it can carry over to the rest of the series I will be pretty happy reading them. For anyone wary about starting this behemoth of a book, if you can get through the beginning ⅓ of it, the rest is much better, rest assured.

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