Monday, March 25, 2013

'Beautiful Creatures' by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Official Summary:
Ethan Wate is haunted by dreams of a girl he’s never met. When Lena Duchannes moves into his small southern town of Gatlin County, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her. And he is determined to uncover the strange connection between them, even if it means uncovering the one secret that could change everything.

A few months ago, on a blistery Sunday afternoon, I would have been found zoning out in front of the TV contemplating the lint in my belly button. It was on that day when I first saw the movie trailer for Beautiful Creatures. Honestly my first thought was something along the lines of complete and utter disinterest but then I had a second thought: I wondered if it was based on a book. Lo and behold my Scooby sense was right on target and after downloading to my Kindle, I promptly resumed the TV droolfest and didn't give the title another thought until recently.

But months of sitting on a title can be a dangerous thing. You see, the longer I wait on a certain title the more likely I am to stumble onto a pile of reviews and I can't help myself. I start making the rounds: What did fellow bloggers think? How did my friends on Goodreads like it? Anything interesting in the Amazon reviews? Before I know it I've got a head full of notions that aren't mine - and that happened a lot with this title. It seemed every blogger, reviewer or casual reader I knew of had something to say about 'Beautiful Creatures' by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

By the time I'd gotten around to reading it I'd had my head filled with critiques and praises of equal measure. Some reviewers feeling as though the title was too long and the book should have been edited down to speed up the books flow and sharpen it's focus. Others chimed in saying that this was another case of 'insta-love' and the realism of the love story was compromised. Then there were people who stodgily defended the title, believing the characters and the setting were set out in amazing detail. Still more people were seemingly enraged by the portrayal of the closed minded, small town folk.

But you want my opinion? Sure, the book might have benefited from a little trimming, but while the pacing would have improved slightly I believe the story would have suffered. And to those feeling as though the teenage love affair sprung up too quickly, might I refer you to any high school in the country where relationships can go from non-existent to blazing in a matter of days, and when the elements that make Ethan and Lena's strange attraction are taken into account, the speediness at which they progress may not make a lot of sense to the adults in the room, but didn't strike me as being too far off the mark. Then there's the business of the closed minded towns people. Yeah, Ethan might have a superiority complex - but, hey, I'm glad that he was written that way. If he was sympathetic to some of the crap coming out of their mouths then I'd have been pretty likely to throw this title into the garbage.

Bottom Line: While the movie doesn't look particularly interesting, the book is engaging and showcases a believable breadth of characters that is usually lacking in this genre. If you're looking for a quick, one night read with in your face drama this one isn't for you. On the other hand, if you're interested in reading something that has a slightly more relaxed pace, with an intricately solid series groundwork being unfolded right in front of you, then this one is, most definitely, worth the read.

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