A month or two ago I watched the movie, Beautiful Creatures, and spent most of the two hours mocking the horrible fake Southern accents. We argued over where exactly in South Carolina this town of Gatlin was supposed to be and if it was a real place for long enough for someone to pull out an iPad and find out. No, it’s not a real place but the author meant for the town to be somewhere near Myrtle Beach, SC. While overall the movie was rather bad I decided to read the book to see if it could be better since the premise for the book was intriguing.“Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them. In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.“
My first instinct on reading this book was to be angry. The entire book was from the point of view of the human boy, not the book loving, poetry writing, powerful young woman/witch, Lena. Yes, it forced you to read the book like a mystery novel since everything was seen from the outside of the conflict looking in but I wanted to hear the story from Lena, not her maybe he is maybe he isn’t, boyfriend.
Quite a few scenes and details that I enjoyed in the book were left out of the movie. Much of the mystery of the book cycles around Ethan’s deceased mother and his barely coping father. This was entirely removed from the movie and instead hints of adultery between Lena’s Uncle and Ethan’s father are used which takes out the strength that Ethan shows in overcoming his grief as he works to help Lena.
I would rate this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.
While it is not a bad read and I might even take a spin with the next book in the series, it is still predictable and follows the standard High School Experience template including a rather Carrie like moment at the High School dance. If you are looking for a quick read that is young adult this one might be for you.