There’s always something that draws a reader to a book… a beautiful cover, an interesting podcast (shameless self-promotion), a recommendation from a friend or a great review.  But I have to be honest, I picked up (okay downloaded) BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl because it was on sale for $2.99 on my Kindle.  In fairness, I was also drawn to the groovy cover art and was looking for something that I just WANTED to read…  not something I HAD to read for book club or an author interview or whatever.

So – there I sat with what I was hoping would be a fast-paced, super-natural, young adult book that would keep me entertained.  You’ll be happy to know — I was not disappointed.

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES is the story of Ethan Wate – a regular old mortal teenage boy and the new girl that moves to his hometown, the small (fictional) town of Gatlin, South Carolina.  But of course, the new girl, Lena Duchannes, is no ordinary girl.  She is a Caster.  From a long line of Casters whose fates have been mixed, Lena believes she is doomed to become “dark” on her sixteenth birthday.  As the story unfolds, Lena and Ethan grow closer (of course) as they try to understand and hopefully change her fate.

As with any super-natural tale, one of the the fun things about the book is learning how this particular magical world works.  What are the rules? What types of creatures are there?  How do they interact with the “real world” and who actually know what is going on?  All of that is present, along with some great characters, interesting plot twists and fun self-awareness.  (Maybe my favorite line in the book is when one of the characters is asked if he is a vampire.  His response? “I most certainly am not.  That’s such a common phrase, such a cliche, and so unflattering.  There are no such thing as vampires.  I suppose you believe in werewolves and aliens, too.”)

One of the other things I loved about the book is that the story is told from the boy’s perspective.  I know we had that with Harry Potter, but it does seem like lots of the other popular series are from the perspective of the hormonal teenage girl.  Nice to get the male perspective for a change, (even if it was written by women)!

In any case, Garcia and Stohl have created a world I wanted to know more about.  Which works out, since BEAUTIFUL CREATURES is the start of a series.  Book 2, BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS came out last year, and Book 3, BEAUTIFUL CHAOS just came out yesterday!  (Good timing on that sale Amazon!)  There’s also a short story for Kindle only.  And a movie deal??  Seems that way:  the book has been optioned by Warner Brothers, but no cast announcements yet, and no official page on IMDB!

So – if you’re looking for another series to dig into – I say give this one a go!

— Dana Barrett, Managing Editor