Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Ethan Wate is counting down the days until he can escape the small town of Gatlin where he has lived all his life. Gatlin is a small southern town where nothing ever seems to happen, and where people love tradition and the status quo. For months Ethan has been dreaming of a girl he has never met and the connection he has with her is something he has never felt before.

Lena Duchannes is hiding a dark secret - she is a caster. When she moves to Gatlin to stay with her uncle, the town's recluse, she is desperate to hide her power and fit in. Ethan is drawn to Lena, and even though she tries to keep him at a distance, Lena cannot fight the connection between them. But Lena's family is cursed. On her sixteenth birthday, Lena's power will either be claimed for the Light or the Dark. When all fingers point to the Dark, Lena and Ethan desperately search for a way to stop fate and find a way to stay together.

I picked up Beautiful Creatures because the movie is coming out in February and the movie trailers looked good. Since I refuse to see a movie before reading the book, I decided to pick the series up. The reviews for this book are very mixed and I can see why. I did not love this series, but I didn't hate it either. There were things that I really liked about the book, but other things that I felt were superfluous and detracted from the story. I like that it was told from Ethan's point of view, which is something different from many of the other YA paranormal series I read. I'm usually dying to know what the male lead is thinking and for once I got to see the events from his point of view. Having said that...I didn't always feel like I was seeing things through the eyes of a guy. Let's face it, men and women think differently, and sometimes I didn't buy the fact that I was seeing things through Ethan's eyes. It felt like a female author trying to see things through the eyes of a male character - it's hard to explain, but it didn't always feel right.

Another thing I didn't like about the story was the rampant cliches of a small town southern town, complete with Confederate flags and Civil War reenactments. Although I know there are many southern towns who still fly Confederate flags and love reliving the Civil War, at times it just felt a little too exaggerated in the book. The story seemed to go on and on in some parts, and there were many things that I felt were unrelated to the central story and could have been cut. The book seemed to suffer from a lack of editing. Even though I didn't love it, I am intrigued enough to continue with the series, so it is on to book two - Beautiful Darkness.

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