Review–Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles #2) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles #2)
by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Summary: Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.
Sometimes life-ending.
Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.

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Source: I purchased a Kindle copy.  


The Caster Chronicles is a series I recently revisited. I enjoyed Beautiful Creatures, but I stopped there and it has taken me a very long time to reread it and continue the series. I love the southern setting, the way Ethan describes the town and the people in it, and the way the residents can be terrible to each other and so shallow, while other members of the town remain fierce, loyal, and protective of family. The setting is one of the main reasons I have continued the series.

Honestly, I’m frustrated by the series so far. I don’t understand why the books have to be a million pages long. I’m not against large books at all, I just take issue with long books without much of a plot or long books that revisit an ongoing conflict with no resolution. It was painful to watch Ethan pine over Lena, watch her go off with people Ethan didn’t trust, watch them fail to communicate over and over and over again in this book. I loved the end, I just wish the book would have gotten us there a little faster with a little less of the same old problems.

Maybe I’m alone, but I don’t understand why Lena can’t just be normal and be claimed and move on. I feel like I could deal with her just ending up on whatever side, but this whole half and half stuff has been driving me crazy. It gives her a reason to continue to be conflicted about everything and I just want to see a Lena who isn’t stressed out and emo. She pushes Ethan away because of it and I’m just over it. If another moon song shows up on Ethan’s iPod at the end of every book, I’ll scream.

I loved the twists in the novel, even though I saw one of the big revelations coming from miles away. I loved the adventure and I liked seeing Ethan discover more about the people he loved and grew up with.

I am eager to see how it ends and there are characters I really like and I’m glad some of them made a reappearance. However, it bothers me that these books are so long and tedious for no reason. I’m filled with eagerness and dread at the thought of cracking open the next book. It doesn’t help that I’m kind of over Ethan and Lena. I hope I finally get to see them working as a team, but I somehow doubt it will happen. They’ve both rooted themselves in their own problems and will probably continue to have the same reactions to them. Lena will push Ethan away, as she has from the beginning, and Ethan won’t just accept it. *sigh*

I will continue the series and I do recommend it. It’s unique because of the setting and I’ve grown fond of so many characters. In some ways, it’s guilty of the same problems as other YA paranormal fiction in that it’s focused on love and angst, but I’m hoping it will redeem itself in the end.


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