Ethan Wate has lived in Gatlin his whole life, and he’s counting down the days until he can make his escape. For the time being, though, he’s a bit preoccupied with dreams of a beautiful girl that he’s never met. That is until Lena Duchannes moves to town. Ethan can’t seem to stop thinking about her and is determined to figure out why. But Lena has secrets of her own. She’s struggling to hide her power and against a curse that has haunted her family for centuries. Gatlin may be a small town where not much happens, however that’s about to change and neither Ethan nor Lena will ever be the same.
I picked up this book because I saw the movie and noticed relationships between secondary characters were left unexplained. They seemed like pretty important gaps in the backstory, so I was curious to see what the book said.
Ideally with any romance novel, YA or adult, I hope to fall in love with the hero. To wish that I could magically trade places with the heroine just so that I could be with him. That didn’t happen with Beautiful Creatures. I understood why Ethan and Lena fell for each other, but I didn’t feel that same attraction for Ethan myself. That might have been because the story was told from his point of view. It’s kind of hard to fall for a hero when I don’t see from the heroine’s perspective why she liked him.
That being said, I liked Ethan a lot. He had what I considered to be a pretty reasonable reaction to learning about magic from Lena along with all of the craziness that went along with that. Plus his dedication to her was pretty sweet. He might not have known what he was doing, but he didn’t back off on his decisions.
The tension, especially toward the end, really drove me the good kind of crazy. I struggled to put the book down because I wanted to see how exactly Lena and Ethan would deal with the curse. But I also had moments where I closed the book because I wanted to prolong the story. I didn’t want it to end. The fantastic mix of a small southern town, Lena’s secret, and Ethan’s blundering made for a real page turner.
I will say that I was disappointed my questions weren’t all answered. There’s a very clear relationship between two secondary characters that isn’t really addressed, though it appears to be the reason one character does what he does. I’m hoping that it’s explained later in the series.
The good qualities of this book outweighed the less than stellar ones. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys teen romances with a dash of fantasy.
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl was published Little, Brown and Company in 2009.