The following is in response to Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. This book was the twenty-fourth book that I read this year as part of my Goodreads.com challenge.
Before writing this post, I take a deep breath after a yawning sigh. I wanted to like this book more than I did. I heard from friends that the movie was great, so when I saw a copy of the book in my local Walmart I picked it up. Sadly, in this rare case, the movie, which I was yet to have seen when writing this, is better than the book. This book doesn’t have the most imaginative writing even though it’s a fantasy about magic. Ironically, the book is a not-so-beautiful creature, entire of itself. The “casters” (magic users like witches and wizards) don’t really “cast” anything, at least not in a way that the name suggests; even without wands you’d expect there to at least be some magical words that are used to cast the spells but things come out in cheesy riddles that rhyme and make no real sense. Not that expecto patronum makes much sense, but still. To be fair, maybe that’s why the fantasy aspect of the story is lackluster at best—I am a big Harry Potter fan and JK Rowling’s work does set a precedent when it comes to magic-themed series, so perhaps this book wasn’t good for me because it fell under HP’s shadow.
There are two writers of this book and subsequently there seems to be two stories. One is the not so great magical aspect. (Relevant side note: There was a missed opportunity—and I don’t remember what page sorry—when the two main characters go to a special caster library and nothing out of the ordinary happens. The book they were looking for wasn’t even there. They could have done a lot more with it. Just think about the magical books in the HP library. I digress.) Then there’s the love story behind it which is more believable and easier to get behind. The love story really does make the book readable. The payoff for me was the kiss on page four hundred and forty-seven; that’s right this book is more on the long side. “She leaned in to kiss me again, a real kiss. This was the kind of kiss that couldn’t really be called a kiss, the kind that involves arms and legs and necks and hair, the kind where the quilt finally slides down to the floor, the bureau rights itself, the clothes return to their hangers, and the freezing cold room is finally warm.” It says so much about their relationship up to this point and sends off steams of the healing nature of love, which is magical and makes beautiful creatures out of all of us.