Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Series Week: Caster Chronicles

by:  Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
published by:  Little, Brown for Young Readers
publish date:  December 2009

Beautiful Creatures is the first book in this series.  We meet Ethan Wate a teenage boy growing up in a small town in South Carolina.  His mother has recently died and he's living with his grieving father and voodoo practicing housekeeper Amma.  Lena Duchannes moves to town and it throws everyone in a tizzy because she moves in with her uncle, the town recluse.  Lena and her Uncle are Casters, people with paranormal powers and both live in a far different world than the people of Gatlin, SC could ever imagine. 

I knew this was a really popular series, but I just didn't get around to reading it when it first came out.  The library had the first two books on audio so I got them to see what the hype was all about.  Also, the movies are being filmed down in New Orleans starting next month I think. 

Personally I liked Beautiful Creatures.  Since I've read it, I've read a lot of negative reviews and I can see their point of view, but I guess I didn't take the book so seriously when I was reading it.  I found it refreshing that it was told from the point of view of Ethan.  I wish there was more male influence in YA.

A lot of comments seemed to be directed at the "Southern" aspects of the book, I didn't have any issues with it.  I live in Louisiana, can't get much more Southern than that.  Are there people still stuck on the Civil War?  Yes.  Do they call it the War Between the States or the War of Northern Aggression?  Occasionally.  Are there old voodoo women?  Yeah, if you look for them.  Oh and doubting the manners and having to visit relatives all the time, we do around here, I didn't take exception to Ethan having to visit his aunts all the time either.

Beautiful Darkness is the second book in the series.  Ethan and Lena had the insta-love thing going on in the first book, but now Lena has drawn away from him.  She's fallen in with a dark crowd that seems to be leading her astray.  Lena has run away from her family and gone deep in to the Caster underground.  Ethan decides that it's up to him to find her and bring her back home.

Beautiful Darkness is more about Ethan, Link (Ethan's best friend), and a new character Liv trying to track down Lena.   Ethan learns more about his family history and how entwined it is with the Caster history.  He finds out about his mother and her death and her relationship with Lena's uncle. 

I think I liked Beautiful Darkness more than Creatures.  It seemed to have more of a dark atmosphere to it, which I guess is the point, but it worked better in that book.  The ending was great and I can't wait to read the next books in the series:  Beautiful Chaos and Beautiful Redemption.

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