Beautiful Creatures is an intriguing premise: magic deeply connected to the very culture of a small, southern town - where only magic like that could survive - which only a few are aware of. It's beautifully written at times, although sometimes a bit long-winded, and very atmospheric. Notwithstanding all that extremely descriptive, lush writing, I sometimes had trouble ultimately taking that final, definitive step into actually believing Beautiful Creatures. Mainly because I would read this perfectly composed passage of heartfelt reflection and then stop and think: wait, this is a sixteen year old BOY talking here. No matter how sensitive, educated or cultured he may be, I just couldn't quite believe a teenage boy would notice every little detail - emotional and physical - in a situation. Even if that boy was someone as special as Ethan Wate. Perhaps I am prejudiced and am perpetuating a stereotype, but there it is. Frankly the novel often felt as if it was a guy's story, but one that had then been filtered through a female lens. Which I guess in a way, it is.
But really, that is my only complaint. Like I said before, the writing was atmospheric, evocative, and just so down-right Southern. I myself was born and raised in Georgia and am one of those girls that can make biscuits in her sleep (you gotta use both butter and shortening people). My grandma and great-aunt really and truly are known as The Sisters in their small North Georgia town. Being a product of it's culture, I have a pretty good handle on the South. And Beautiful Creatures fit. The prejudices, the fierce clinging to tradition, the food (good heavens, the food!), the superstitions - all of it was authentic and made me down-right homesick. Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl must have really done their homework before developing the isolated community of Gatlin because it's obvious these two women have sat down with a plate (or two) of homemade fried chicken.
series reading order:
~ Beautiful Creatures
~ Beautiful Darkness (Oct. 2010)
Because Everyone Loves a Second Opinion:
The Book Smugglers review
Confessions of a Book Junkie review
Library Lounge Lizard review
My Friend Amy review
Not Enough Bookshelves review
book source: my local library