A Reader Opines: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

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Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Published: September 19th 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy | Paranormal
Series: Beautiful Creatures #2
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

As I travel further into the world of Casters, Seers and all manner of supernatural beings, I’m relatively confident a sequel to the Beautiful Creatures movie won’t be forthcoming. They left out too many characters that ultimately have a huge role in the overall story. This should make me sad, but knowing books are more often than not better than the movies keeps my spirits up.

Summary taken from Goodreads:
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.

The setup of this book punched me in the gut. It introduced a love triangle, or quadrangle depending on how you look at it, which I truly do not like. I began questioning Link’s role in the story. His presence seemed more like an annoyance than anything else. And Lena’s inability to deal with all that happened in the first book was unrealistic and come off as a contrived plot device. In the first book, she claimed both the light and dark within her, which to me shows a lot of strength and character.

However, after the setup I found myself unable to stop reading. I ached for Ethan as he dealt, poorly, in my opinion, with his separation from Lena. Discovering more about his mother added depth to the overall story and the character of Ethan. The introduction of John Breed, and the mystery surrounding him, injected an unsettling tone that wasn’t evident in the first book. And finally, Link became more than the loyal sidekick.

Though it started slow and a bit vexatious, it picked up speed and culminated in a satisfying conclusion. Not only that, it masterfully opened the door for book three. I’m anxious to move forward with Lena and Ethan on their journey and discover how Link’s predicament fits into the over-reaching arc.

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