Audio Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Creatures
By Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
563 Pages
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

From Goodreads:

There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that’s what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.
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.

**Review is of the audio version of Beautiful Creatures**

The first thing I noticed about Beautiful Creatures was that the town it takes place in is called Gatlin, which immediately made me think of the book/movie Children of the Corn. I’m sure it was a total coincidence but it just put me in a creepy frame of mind right from the get-go. Plus, as I have said before, small towns = automatic creep factor.

Outlander! We have your woman!

The authors did a really good job of giving the book a Gothic old south feel. Or at least what I imagine the Gothic old south would feel like, having spent the vast majority of my life firmly north of the Mason-Dixon line. If there is actually a Gatlin, SC the residents might want to consider suing the authors, though, because they make them all sound like a bunch of absolutely terrible, vindictive, small-minded people. There is also a healthy sprinkling of tremendously overzealous mean girls and a mom who makes Carrie White’s mother (two Stephen King references in two paragraphs, yahtzee!) look open-minded by comparison.

The guy who narrates the book is really good. He doesn’t sound like a teenager by any means but that doesn’t really bother me. I’m not a teenager, so that probably contributes to why it doesn’t bother me. It didn’t do much to change my tendency to picture characters in YA books as older than they are, but whatever. I also thought it was interesting that they put in some theatrical touches as opposed to just reading the book straight. There are sound effects, music, etc. They really made Ethan’s dreams  – which are a big part of the story – stand out and easy to separate from his reality. I do have to confess that I wasn’t a fan of the music that they used. In fact, I really disliked it, and it got stuck in my head on a continuous loop which made me dislike it even more. And now it’s stuck in my head while I’m writing the review. Balls.

I have to say that I really enjoyed it that for most of the book Ethan refers to Lena as “the girl I like” rather than “the girl I love” and by the time it crossed over into love they had been together for six months or so. I truly don’t mean to sound condescending here, but when YA books constantly have 15 year old characters raving about how “in love” they are with other 15 year old characters who they barely know, I give my eyes a big old roll. And I give my eyes the same roll when characters twice that old do it.  So I definitely liked how the romance was done in this book – the characters start off not liking or trusting one another and build slowly up to more. Hooray!

I found myself surprisingly sad when I got to the end of the book. I had gotten more attached to the characters than I realized, I guess. That said, I found the ending to be a little…I don’t know what word to use here. A bit of a cop-out, maybe. Or a convenient way to make for a sequel. Not that I didn’t like it, necessarily, it was just a little “well, everything is resolved but hey wait, nothing is really resolved so let’s do it all over again.” It seems like it might make for a repetitive second book but it would be unfair of me to say that definitively since I haven’t read it yet, so I’ll just stay in wait and see mode. The ending did knock my rating down just slightly, but I still definitely liked it a lot.

4/5 Stars

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8 Comments

  1. LOL, at the pic. That creepy ginger hair blowing in the wind. *sigh/gag*

    I really liked this book, I agree on the ending. I was kinda like, ” are you for real? ” I did read book two. It was different. A bit darker I think. There were a few new characters added. I haven’t read book three yet, because I heard that it was borning and nothing really happens. JOy. And there is a fourth book, so I’m just not sure how I feel about it all.

    Yay to a slow romance. I liked that too. It maid their relationship more believable.

    Reply
    • That dude is the CREEPIEST person who has ever lived. I liked him better as Hans Klopec from The Burbs but he was truly nightmare-inducing in Children of the Corn. I have a friend who is strawberry blonde and we always used to call her Malachi to piss her off when we were growing up. Either that or Budnick, in reference to that redheaded kid from Salute Your Shorts. What a bunch of assholes.

      I started book two but it was audio & I just couldn’t concentrate on it. Eventually I’ll get back to it but I wasn’t loving the beginning. We’ll see what happens. I’m sure I’ll either listen to or read it eventually.

      Reply
  2. Children of the Corn is one of the scariest movies EVER! I’m glad you liked this book. I really like this series too, but I will warn you that I nearly died at the end of the last book. I think the next book will release in the fall maybe. I’m excited to see the movie too! Great review as always!

    Reply
    • Oh right, I forgot about the movie! Well, now I have to keep reading the series. I would have anyway but that’s just more incentive. Thanks, girl!

      Reply
  3. HANS!! You have HANS in your review!!! The Burbs is one of my favorite movies ever. (btw,Courtney Gaines was also in Can’t Buy Me Love)You win at life.

    I have this series. I can’t wait to read them. But, damn, why do the books have to be that long?

    And now I’m totally prepared for a “blue balls” inducing ending, so thanks for that.

    Awesome review, per usual.

    Hans, for the win!

    Reply
    • OMG, I knew I liked you for a reason! I have seen The Burbs more than a hundred times, no lie. I put it on all the time for background noise while I’m blogging or reading or whatever.

      “That’s about a nine on the tension scale, Reub.”

      Reply
  4. I haven’t read this series yet but I have it on my TBR list.

    Children of The Corn = Best.Movie.Ever!!! I’m kind of excited to start this series. I’m not big on audio books really. I’m more of a “visual” learner I guess. Whatevs. It all depends on the narrator. The dude that does Clockwork Prince is freaking awesome BTW <—-tots random but wth right?
    Your review is awesome as always. You're so badass!

    Reply
    • Children of the Corn is creepy as hell! At least, the original one. What I’ve seen of the sequels and remakes are terrible.

      I have a hard time concentrating on audio too, which is why I don’t listen to more books. Part of that is because I try to listen at work and that makes it kind of hard to focus. My commute is like 7 minutes so it would take me a year to get through a book if I only listened in the car.

      Reply

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