Beautiful Darkness is the second book in the paranormal YA series Beautiful Creatures (also called the Caster Chronicles) about Ethan and Lena trying to navigate magic, grief, linear curses, lifechanging decisions and teenage love in the Southern town Gatlin. I loved the first book in the series and its magic system, the strong and fierce characters and the Southern Gothic vibes. This book continued in the same style, but was unfortunately a bit slower and I just couldn’t root for Lena until the very end of it.
The story continued shortly after where the first book left, with Lena acting strange ever since Macon’s death and distancing herself from Ethan. A lot of this book felt like it was just waiting for things to happen; waiting for Lena to turn, waiting for a Curse to strike, and with Lena either whining about it, or being mean and cold to Ethan. Ethan’s feeling that “I knew I was in the moment before the thing happens – the thing that changes your life forever,” actually describes the book very well. It felt like we all knew something big was going to happen, but we were kept too long in the moment before it actually happened. The plot felt a bit unorganized, with a lot of chapters where almost nothing happened, and then a chapter where too much was going on at the same time and some major revelations, then followed by slow, uneventful chapters again. The new underground world of tunnels and all creatures living there was also a bit confusing and quite poorly explained. It took me almost 200 pages to feel invested in the story this time, but the ending sure made up for it, so I’m very glad I stuck with it through the slow first half!
I’m also very glad for the new character, and for Ethan being the same amazing character as in the first book. I really loved the new character Olivia (Liv) and her witt, intelligence and curiosity, and her and Ethan’s snarky banter. A lot of the other characters, like Amma and Link, were also given more depth and being even more wonderful than in the first book, making up for some of the things that were not as great in this one. I also really enjoyed Ethan finding out about his special skills, more about his mother and the reason for his and Lena’s connection, as well as the world building, Gothic vibes and the big part the city itself played.
“This town owned us, that was the good and the bad of it. It knew every inch of us, every sin, every secret, every scab. Which was why most people never bothered to leave, and why the ones who did never came back. Then I fell in love with a Caster girl. She showed me there was another world within the cracks of our uneven sidewalks. One that had been there all along, hidden in plain sight. Lena’s Gatlin was a place where things happened – impossible, supernatural, life-altering things.”
And the big surprise at the end was amazing! So even though it was very slow paced at the first half, and even though I was so annoyed with Lena for the most part, it eventually turned into a four star read making me more than excited to continue the series!
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Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.G. Drews Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Rhiannon Wilde River Braun Roan Parrish Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Saundra Mitchell Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophie Gonzales Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tamara Girardi Teagan Hunter Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez