Thursday 27 December 2012

GoodRead - Beautiful Darkness

Where should I put this review? That is the main question am asking myself while I write this review. I know, that is a stupid thing to think, but I am actually thinking this...

So, while I push that question to one side while I write up my review/reaction to Beautiful Darkness, the second book in the Caster Chronicles by Kami Gracia and Margaret Stohl. I'm not sure if I can keep this spoiler-free so, if you are considering or are reading Beautiful Creatures and you don't want to be spoiled, STOP READING!!! (and if you haven't read Beautiful Creatures, click here if you want to read my review...)

Right, now that's out of the way, Beautiful Darkness. After the events of Beautiful Creatures, Ethan thinks he and Lena, the Caster he's in love with, are safe from the events of Lena's sixteen birthday. She wasn't Claimed, but Lena made a choice. A choice so terrible, it's haunts her daily. A choice so terrible, even Ethan doesn't knows about it. And now, Lena is becoming more distance from Ethan and he is terrified of losing her. Losing her to the Dark, and losing her from his life. Now, her seventeen birthday is coming, and Lena has to make a choice. Whatever she decides will have unspeakable consequences. Can Ethan save her in time? And Lena want to be saved?

Am going to be honest with you. While I liked Beautiful Creatures, I much prefer Beautiful Darkness. I think this is because I put so much pressure on myself to like Beautiful Creatures, seeing as I ADORE the movie trailer (see below!). So, when the book didn't met my expectations, I felt a bit let down. Whereas, with Beautiful Darkness, I don't have that pressure. I'm reading it because I want to read it. I want to know what happens next (and because I have the other two books in the series and I am going to read them whether I like this series or not!). Having no pressure to like this book was very liberating! And it actually helped me like the book!

Anyway, Beautiful Darkness. It's darker than Beautiful Creatures (always a good thing, in my humble opinion as this shows depth in the world) and there's not so much world building andexplaining was done to the reader/Ethan. All of that is explained in Beautiful Creatures, so you sink into the story, while the authors add layers to the world of the Casters. New layers, new things to discover, new characters (well, only two, but we get very little on one of them so, technically, one character). And while we're on characters, how I love reading about Amma, Link and Ridley. They, to me, are perfect for the book. Amma and Link seem to ground the book into reality, even though they are in the supernatural world, while Ridley seems to be the book's light relief (as is Link) and gives the book a spunky edge. And with the new character of Liv... what I seem to be saying is that while the book is supernatural, it's very much character-driven.

Also, both Kami and Margaret are clever as they answer some questions most of us asked in book one, while asking new questions that hint towards answers in the next few books, Beautiful Chaos and Beautiful Redemption.

Now, I do have one or two faults. One of which, I'm not sure if it's a bad thing or something VERY clever from the authors. So, first fault. In the last quatre of the book, there were times when times happened that felt a tiny bit convenient. People would pop up with the right thing or the right information at time when Ethan most needed it... and that felt false at times. Though both Margaret and Kami explained this, I wish that it was more hinted at during the book so it would, to me, feel more real than me going "Huh?"

The second fault is Lena. Again. I know I talked about her in my review of Beautiful Creatures, and I sense from the spoiler-free reviews of Beautiful Chaos and Beautiful Redemption that she is going to bother me a bit. But in this book... oh, how ANGRY I got with. I know she is the main female lead and I know that she's only sixteen, but OH MY GOODESS! The number of times I wanted to shake her and the number of times I was cursing her very bad words was ridiculous! I spread a fair amount of time while reading this book HATING Lena! That's right, HATING! With capital letters!

But (now this is where I get a little unstuck with this fault), I think both Margaret and Kami did this on purpose. Now, stick with me on this. For the first quarter of the book, I sympathised with her. I felt Lena's pain and grief over what happened to her in the last book. And then, that vanished with Lena went nuts. Mostly during the Galtin Country Fair chapters, but there was a build up. But it was mostly here with her behaviour and the way she treated people. Because of this, I HATED her. But then, by the end of the book, though I still disliked her for what she did, I kinda understood why Lena behaved the way she did. Maybe even sympathised with her again. So, to have a reader react so physically to a character and their behaviour is one of the main things for an author to do and when a reader does react like this, you know that the character is well written!

While I still don't like Lena Duchannes, I am really surprised on how much I liked this book. And the fact I liked it more than Beautiful Creatures is an added bonus. Now, I wanted to read this before the movie came out (and oh, look. I have!) so, in the next few months, I will reading Beautiful Chaos, the third book in the series. And from what I've heard, this is darker than Beautiful Darkness. And I can not wait!

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