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Mid-book Review: Beautiful Darkness (Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl)

Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles, #2)Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.

 

At page 300 I am only halfway through the second book in the Caster Chronicles. Wow. So much is (finally) happening, I thought it was worth a mid-book review.

So far, I am happy to see:

1. Ethan finally sounding like a typical teenaged boy instead of an overly emotional girl posing as a boy. In Beatuful Creatures he seemed way too intuned with his emotions to be a believable boy narrator. Now, he's still in tune with those emotions, but instead of expressing his undieing love for Lena on every page he is expressing jealousy and anger. Picking fights and punching things is much more believable than wanting to talk about your feelings-- at least for a male narrator.

2. New characters! Hooray! I love Liv and Link. Link is a nice dose of comic relief, while Liv is a nice catalyst to help move this slowly developing plot along. I am so glad she has answers that Ethan is missing, because I wouldn't have the patience to wait for his own self-discoveries. Ridley is also back, which is interesting. She seems conflicted, so we'll see how she changes. There is also a new villian in town (I think)-- John Breed. I've got a feeling who he might be, but only time will tell if I'm right or not. Oh, I can't forget about Lucille Ball! I love the traiterous cat. I have a pretty good feeling about her role as well, but again-- time will tell.

3. Finally, the authors seem to have a better grasp on their cliches this time around. Yes, there is some pie baking contest and beauty pageant that takes a lot of attention early on, but other than that the other characters sound less ignorant this time around. I think it should be noted though, that I have never been to a pie baking contest or a small town beauty pageant. Do those even exist?

So far, I'm enjoying Beautiful Darkness. I have a feeling that it will end with another bang, and I'm glad I have book 3 already on my shelf to read.

 

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Publisher: Square Fish (August 21, 2007)
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