Readers: February 27th: Apologies for the scattered posting that's about to come during the next week or so. University has just started and I have a lot of work to do to get on top of things (and ahead!). Thanks for your patience, as always.

Publishers: I promise I'm not abandoning the lovely review copies you've sent!
I'm getting through them and the reviews will come eventually!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Review: Beautiful Darkness

Title: Beautiful Darkness
Author: Kami Garcia & Margaret Sthol
Series: Caster Chronicles #2
Publisher: Penguin
Published: October 12th 2010

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.

In the second book of the Caster Chronicles, Ethan Wate battles with himself and those around him after finding out that he's not as normal as he seemed. Whilst trying to discover his true identity, he must also fight to save his girlfriend, who is the brink of surrendering to the darkness, and keep her close after she becomes more and more distant. Beautiful Darkness is packed with punch, filled with more doing and less talking. New characters are introduced and together they embark on a dangerous journey through the Caster worlds, which are littered with dark creatures around every corner. Unlike Beautiful Creatures, this novel has an exciting plot which will sustain your interest very easily and until the end.

We are introduced to two new love interests who are both surprisingly entertaining and likeable. Liv, an assistant at the Gaitlan Library, knows more about the Caster world than she lets on. Her genuine kindness and simpleness intrigues Ethan, as the situation between him and Lena gets complicated. An old friend from the previous book returns, Lena's Dark cousin, Ridley, bringing with her a boy named John Breed. He and Lena spend a suspicious lot of time together before running away to find a place, a paradise, which may not even exist. Who is John and what's his agenda? Is he on the Good side? I felt that the character development improved immensely in Beautiful Darkness. Ethan grows as he explores his roots and destiny, plagued with dreams about a man he doesn't know. Lena becomes strong and determined, taking control of her life and no longer being a weak girl who cries about her doom. The issues between the lovers actually strengthened their relationship that much more and built a tension (of the good kind) that would not have been achieved otherwise.

The fight between Good and Evil is less emphasised in this book. While it is still the overall theme of the novel, the majority of Beautiful Darkness is focused on Ethan's mission to find and save Lena before it's too late. I enjoyed this increase in action, over mythology, as I felt the previous book was a little too overpowering in that aspect. There is a nice balance of romance with humour and action, so all of the bases are covered!

With unpredictable twists, mysteries and high levels of anticipation, Beautiful Darkness is a very enjoyable novel. If you didn't like the first, continuing on with the series is most definitely the right decision! I'm relieved to now be a fan of the series and am looking forward to Beautiful Chaos!

Find Kami on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, her blog and website.
Find Margeret on Twitter, Goodreads and her blog.
Buy Beautiful Darkness from Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes & Noble and Borders.

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