Friday, 4 November 2011

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
First published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in 2010 (this edition by Razorbill in 2010)

Book #2 in the Caster Chronicles
(My review of Beautiful Creatures - Book #1)

Description (from Goodreads)

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.

My thoughts
When I spotted a copy of this one in a charity shop, I just had to buy it! I had really, really enjoyed reading Beautiful Creatures and I was excited at the prospect of reading the second book in the series. And for £1.99??? I just couldn't resist.

As this is the second book in the series, I will probably be mentioning stuff from the previous book, so if you haven't read it but are planning to, just proceed at your own risk. (There, you've been warned.) (I'll still try to be vague, though!)

Beautiful Darkness was every bit as good as Beautiful Creatures. When Beautiful Creatures finished, we were left with Lena in a bit of an inbetween state and with quite a bit of woe and sorrow going around because of the death of one of the "main" secondary characters. In this second book, things take on a completely different turn. Lena is becoming increasingly distant and hanging out with the "wrong" crowd. Ethan knows she is trying to find a way to cope with everything, but he is rather sad that she is choosing to distance herself from him in the process, knowing full well that she is also doing it to protect him from her. There is also the matter of Ethan finding out that he is more than he thought he was; that he really does play an important part in what is going on with Lena and not just in the way that he thought he did.

Link plays a much larger part in this book than he did in the previous one. It doesn't feel as if he is acting like a substitute for Lena, because he was an important character in the first book. It's just like any normal situation. When a boy (ie Ethan) "stops" having a girlfriend, he hangs out more with his friends (ie Link). We also have the addition of a few new characters. First, we have Liv, who came from the UK to Gatlin to work with Aunt Marian and who also knows more about the Caster World than she lets on. Then, we have John Breed, one of the "wrong" crowd Lena is hanging out with. But there is a bit of a problem with John Breed. We have no idea where he came from, what he is, what his intentions are. And also, we get to see a completely different Ridley. Remember the one who caused a lot of the problems in the first book? Yes, her. All pretty mysterious.

Beautiful Darkness has some pretty surprising revelations that keep up the interest in lieu of the third book in the series, Beautiful Chaos, which only just came out in October. Which I definitely will be buying!

All in all, Beautiful Darkness was neither better nor worse than Beautiful Darkness. I found each one of them as enjoyable as the other, a fact I was very glad of, because sometimes, second books aren't as good as the first ones. But, seriously, this series is definitely one to look out for. It's very well written and it also has a male narrator!! (Rather refreshing after all those female narrators!)

Rating: 8/10

You can find out more about Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl at the end of my post about Beautiful Creatures!

Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011, 2nd In A Series Challenge

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