Series: Caster Chronicles #1
Release Date: December 1, 2009
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
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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.
This book is kind of a mess tbh. It didn’t offend me as much as Twilight or make me want to ragequit life like Divergent did, but regardless, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to anyone. The plot is all over the place and it’s almost as though the book is trying to tell two different, often quite opposing, stories at the same time. I didn’t realise until after I’d read it that the book is written by two authors (thanks, Amber)… which explains a lot really.
So the first story goes like this: Guy meets Girl, and an epic romance is born. I don’t know, I paid minimal attention to their early scenes because they were so boring and cliché. This part of the book was easily my least favourite, although in all fairness the romance, once you get past the first 100 pages or so, starts to develop and everything is just that little bit less irritating. Guy, whose name is Ethan, spends a huge part of the first part of the book bemoaning his apparently crap life in a small Southern town. He wants to escape because the people are small-minded and nothing happens??? There are just so many fucks I did not give for his endlessly annoying first world problems. And then Lena arrives, who you may know as the Girl part of the ~epic romance~. Ethan totally loves her because she is so different and super special because she wears a necklace made from sentimental keepsakes, or as my mother would call it, junk. Lena writes mediocre poetry (Oh God, the poetry *headdesks self into coma*), is a loner and has many secrets. Whatever, they’re drawn to each other or something and a friendship quickly develops into a relationship.
Thankfully the plot picks up after a while and you’re thrust into a somewhat intriguing tale dating back to the American Civil War. There are ghosts, buried secrets, magical libraries and a tragic love affair, all woven into the story taking place in the present. So the present-day story goes like this: Lena is a Caster (a witch, although she seems very dismissive of this word because she is pretentious and annoying) who, because of a tradition in her family, will be aligned with Darkness or Light on her sixteenth birthday. And this is where it gets interesting. Well, sort of. Lena has no choice in which alignment she will be – it is decided for her, and she and Ethan (mostly Ethan, Lena spends a lot of her time crying >.>) decide to do whatever they can to fight this. The story becomes an exploration into the history of Lena’s family and as a consequence, the history of the town. Seemingly ordinary characters are revealed to be important with secrets of their own and new ones are introduced as this second plot unfolds, and each of them are more interesting than Ethan or Lena, although this isn’t hard to do considering how boring the two main characters actually are.
There are some fun scenes and stand-out characters that save this book from being a generic YA romance. The second plot is somewhat engaging and for these reasons I ended up not hating it. I probably won’t read the sequels because lbr, it wasn’t that good but if you’re considering reading this book for the romance, I would suggest Hemlock instead. So yeah, Beautiful Creatures: better than Twilight but still a bland read. Meh.
Ratings Breakdown: First star: For not offending me like Divergent and Twilight did. Second star: For the second storyline, i.e. the bit with the plot. Third star: For the cool secondary characters such as Macon and Ridley.