First published by Little, Brown in 2009 (this edition by Penguin in 2010)
Book #1 in the Caster Chronicles
Description (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.
I actually bought this book ages ago, but hadn't got round to reading it, mainly because of it's length (561 pages long). I usually have to be 'in the mood' to pick up a long book...
Anyway, I ended up really enjoying this book and I found it was very easy to read (despite my apprehension about the number of pages). And the main reason I enjoyed it so much was the fact that it is Ethan who narrates it. I have noticed that most books I have read seem to have female main characters through who we see and experience all the action in a book. Therefore, I found it very refreshing, having a boy tell the story. And a lovely boy at that, too! Ethan is just such a great guy! He makes bad jokes and he honestly doesn't care what others think about him, if he is doing what he feels is right.
The story is set in Gatlin, a small town in the South, which is very mysterious and very wary of strangers. So when a girl, Lena, comes to stay with her uncle Macon, a man whose face has not been seen in the town for nearly two decades, it becomes everyone's mission to make Lena feel unwelcome. Lena is also a lovely character. She knows the whole town doesn't want her, but she still tries to fit in and to have a more normal teenage life than she has had up until now. All the while fearing about what will happen on the night of her 16th birthday.
The thing I liked most about this book was the fact that it was told from a male character's point of view. As I mentioned above, I found that to be rather refreshing and different. I also liked the actual story and the way it was played out. I have seen a few reviews mentioning that it was a rather slow book. I did not feel as if things were going to slowly. I liked the fact that the story between Ethan and Lena developed at a more sedate pace. The fact that not everything had to happen in the space of a single week, but, rather, was spaced out over the course of several months was nice.
I enjoyed most of the supporting characters as well! Some were just lovely, eg Link, while others I really felt like thumping at some point or another! All in all, I really enjoyed this book! I found the story engaging, it kept me awake wanting to know what happened next and the ending has left me with enough questions to make me want to read the second one in the series as soon as possible!
Kami Garcia is the author of the YA fantasy series called the Caster Chronicles, co-authored with Margaret Stohl. She grew up near Washington, but with very Southern elements in her everyday life. She has an MA in education and actually taught for a few years in the DC area. When she is not writing,she works as a Reading Specialist and continues to teach and lead book groups for children and teens, part-time. She currently lives in LA with her family.
Margaret Stohl is the author of the YA fantasy series called the Caster Chronicles, co-authored with Kami Garcia. She has an MA in English from Stanford and has also studied creative writing under the late great poet George MacBeth at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. She currently lives in Santa Monica with her family.
The second book in the Caster Chronicles, Beautiful Darkness, has already been published, and the third, Beautiful Chaos, will be coming out in October 2011. The last book in the series will be coming out in October 2012.
Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011, 1st In A Series Challenge 2011