My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Beautiful Creatures was quite the little curiosity for me. I went into it with a bit of skepticism, assuming that it would be an immature and semi-poorly written piece of young adult fiction. As I began reading the first page of the novel, I was ready and awaiting the lackluster characters and a clichéd predictable plot, but it never came. Instead I was given fantastic writing, a unique exhibition of characters, and a seemingly original plot that kept me wholeheartedly enchanted from beginning to end!
Let’s begin with the writing, which tends to be my biggest issue with the young adult genre. Most of the titles from this particular section are pieced together with such terrible word usage that I can physically feel my IQ starting to take a dip. It really makes me sad because the premise underneath the slaughtered sentences are really quite fascinating concepts. So when I saw that this book (the series in its entirety actually) was composed by TWO beings instead of one, naturally the fear of disappointment was eminent, however. Not once during my experience with this novel did I ever reach a point where I could distinguish that there were two people behind its creation. The writing is just that impeccable. When I began my Beautiful Creatures adventure, I ended up reading over one-hundred pages without a single ounce of hesitation. One moment I’m on the very first page and the next I’m about one-fifth of the way finished. Each sentence, whether it was laced with descriptions of atmosphere, personality, appearances, etc., was so properly constructed that it lulled me in and kept me attached until the grumblings of a hungry stomach could stand to be ignored no longer.
The second aspect to completely waylay my expectations are the characters themselves. Again, most of the YA books under my Read belt tend to have such hollow and irritatingly immature personalities that it makes for an excruciating effort to finish the books. The people introduced in Beautiful Creatures were a lot more relatable thus making them more believable as actual adolescents in the modern time period. Yes, you do have those characters that you just want to smack upside the head with the damn book, but it’s not every character, especially not the main ones, which makes a huge difference to whether the reading experience will be pleasant or repellent.
You usually see two characters that are complete opposites coming together for a common interest—whether love, revenge, greed, or whatever else comes to mind. But in Beautiful Creatures you have two unique people wanting very certain experiences out of life coming together to realize that what they want is nothing compared to what they already have. This makes for a very enrapturing notion of acceptance, which is a huge underlying theme within the novel. This theme spills over onto the rest of the cast and really rounds off portions of the plot.
Now, for the plot itself—really, bloody decent. I tend to stray from romances because, well let’s just say that personal experience has made lovey, mushy things my eternal nemesis. Be that as it may, I actually found myself giving into the warm, fuzzy feelings that invaded my heart whenever the twosome was on stage together. I’m sure that it has a lot to do with that whole relatable bit I was talking about earlier. Their attraction and their feelings for why something should, or shouldn’t happen can be viewed as occurring in real life rather easily. Even though this is a supernatural story, I really like it when an author (or authors in this case) can connect the fantasy with reality. It adds a whole new level of depth to the story that truly connects the reader to the book (at least in my crazy way of thinking it does).
Relatability aside, I just damn well enjoyed how dark Beautiful Creatures is. It’s very gothic and mesmerizing. It’s eerie yet elegant, despairing yet delightful. The story unfolds, one chapter at a time, with such a fluid pace that you get swept away in the beauty and emotions without completely realizing that you’re reading a book. At times, I felt I was watching a film in my mind, one that I had no freaking clue as to how it would end (or if I really wanted it to end). Nothing is choppy, or brusque. There are no surprises in the plot that genuinely don’t belong. Everything fits together so neatly like a large puzzle and the finished product leaves you feeling immensely satisfied, albeit slightly bittersweet.
I’m picking up the second installment within the day and am keen on finishing the series before the month ends. Four and a half thunderstorms outta five for sure!
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