Recommended for ages 14+
I’ll admit it – I’m not a Twilight fan. It’s not my book. And Beautiful Creatures felt, to me, like a Twilight type of book, so I didn’t pick it up. I was recently approved to read the latest, upcoming book in the Beautiful Creatures, though, (Dangerous Creatures – the review’s coming!) so I figured I should at least read the first book, so I could have some idea of what’s going on.
I was wrong, folks. Beautiful Creatures was great. This was my book, just waiting for me to pick it up.
The story involves Lena Duchannes and Ethan Wate, two teenagers in Gatlin, South Carolina. Ethan is a high school basketball player who can’t wait to get out of Gatlin. He’s in with the in crowd, but really doesn’t care anymore. He just want out of the everyday sameness of life in a small, Southern town. Lena is the new girl in school, and she just doesn’t fit in with the Southern beauty queen/mean girls who run the school. When Ethan realizes that Lena looks exactly like the mystery girl he’s been dreaming about, he’s got to find out who she is.
The story weaves a YA romance in with a complex, fascinating tale of witchcraft and Southern history that kept me turning pages, demanding to know what was going to happen next. I love the idea of factions within the “Caster” – they’re not witches and wizards, and this isn’t Harry Potter – community. There are different types of magic, and everyone is born to something different. When Casters reach the age of 16, they are “claimed” by either the light side of magic or the dark side – and wrapped up in this claiming is a mystery that runs through the book as an engrossing subplot.
There’s something here for everyone. There’s paranormal romance, history, mystery, and drama. We meet characters that will take on greater roles in subsequent books. All in all, Beautiful Creatures sold me – and I’m glad I picked it up. I’ve heard the movie is subpar compared to the book, so I’ll keep that in mind and just enjoy the books.