This book has a good prologue, it's intriguing, which is why I purchased this book. After the prologue however... let's just say I rolled my eyes a lot (I'll get into the reasons why later). When I was approximately one-fourth of the way through Beautiful Creatures I gave up on trying to read it, even contemplated taking it back to the store.
I never got around to returning it, and about a month or two later I picked it up again out of sheer boredom. And having just finished Fallen by Lauren Kate--which was abysmal, by the way--I could certainly get through Beautiful Creatures. You know what? I was right.
After reading past the initial cheesiness/ridiculousness I didn't mind the story so much. I would have given this book more stars were it not for all the eye-rolling moments, most of which are at the beginning.
What I didn't like: starting in the first chapter unusual things are happening to Ethan, our main character who has never had contact with anything paranormal/supernatural--unless you count his housekeeper, who dabbles in card reading and the like. So, I'm sorry, it's insanely unrealistic for Ethan to just shrug off the fact that he's been waking up slathered in mud on several occasions.
And Lena, the new/hot/misunderstood at school? Has a birthmark on her cheekbone in the shape of a half-moon. A HALF-MOON!!! Now if that doesn't scream tired cliche I don't know what does. Why do all these supernatural/paranormal characters have to have unusual, yet incredibly tasteful, markings on their bodies? (I've had it with characters who are superspecialawesomeunique as indicated by their superspecialawesomeunique birthmark, eye color, or whatever
) And of course, Lena dresses in bohemian (read:superspecialawesomeunique
) clothing, further proving how different (read:special) she is.
The most awesome element? (not) Lena and Ethan can speak to each other through some special mind-melding link and the reason why is never explained. Let's get things straight: it's not the mind-meld that bothers me--actually that's not so bad--it's the fact that Ethan can suddenly hear the new girl in his head and he's not weirded out about. He's kind of like, "We can talk to eachother telepathically? Huh. That's not weird at all. And this is really convenient--you know, in case there's some emergency and our cellphones aren't working. Anyway, you're hot. And even though we've never met before I'm pretty sure you're the girl who's been starring in my recurring, mud-soaked dreams--you know, normal stuff. So....wanna go out sometime?".
I'm sorry, no one is that good with weirdness, especially some kid who's never had contact with the paranormal.
The I-don't-know-you-but-I'm-mysteriously-drawn-to-you-and-I'm-pretty-sure-I'm-in-love-with-you element in this book. Dear Authors Everywhere: STOP DOING THIS! It's tired. It's stupid. It takes the excitement out of your story. What's wrong with having characters fall in love like normal people? What's wrong with an initial attraction developing into friendship developing into something more? Sure, you can pretend that's what happened in this novel but it's not. It was clear from the beginning they're together even though they didn't say as much.
There are other things about this novel that bothered me, but since this is the first novel by these authors I'm willing to forgive most of it.
What I liked: the fresh ideas contained in this story--you have no idea how grateful I am that this story isn't another Twilight knock-off. I'm not going to go into these new/fresh ideas here since that would give too much away. Let's just say Lena is powerful and her powers kind of cool.
Ethan's friend Link is awesome. He's pretty much my favorite character in this book. I also quite like Ridley, Lena's cousin. I like her because she's quite flawed but not irrevocably--she has the potential to grow and be a better person. Plus, she's entertaining. Another character I really liked is Amma, Ethan's mouthy housekeeper/stand-in mom.
This book isn't what I was expecting but that's a good thing. The story gets more interesting and unique the further you get into it. By the way, Beautiful Creatures is incredibly long. However the story wraps-up nicely: all my questions were answered, no major loose ends, and a sequel is indicated.
Even though I only gave this book two stars, I may just read the next book in the Beautiful Creatures series. We'll have to see.