I always try to keep my reviews spoiler-free as much as possible. However, I do not think it is possible with this book. You were warned.
Written by: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Publication date: October 12, 2010
Released in Hardcover, 503 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown for Young Readers
Synopsis: 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.
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.
My Review: First, some honesty. I could not remember anything that happened in Beautiful Creatures (my review here). I always had to ask my friend to remind me of the story because I would always mesh with other books I read. I didn't hate the book, I did enjoy it I just wasn't in love with it. I didn't really care for Lena (or her name and the fact that Ethan likes to call her L) and I didn't really care for Ethan as narrator. I knew when the sequel was released I was going to buy it because, let's be honest, I already have the first one and can't have an incomplete series on my shelf! So when it was released I bought it but I let my bestie read it first because she was way more excited about it than I was at the time and she's been nagging me to read it ever since. It wasn't working. I just wasn't in the mood for it - my expectations were low. However, when the cover and title for the third book of the Caster Chronicles were revealed, I started to get more and more in the mood for BD. As soon as I started flipping pages, I knew I wasn't stopping.
My memories of Beautiful Creatures came rushing back immediately and I was instantly in love with Ethan! I think BC threw me off with a male narrator but he's actually a great one. I find it strange yet intriguing when authors decide not to use the supernatural being in the book as the narrator - we miss out on all the magic that Lena can do and what happens to her when she wields this magic. But I understand that leaving that stuff out only adds to the mystery of the story.
After Lena's Uncle Macon dies in exchange for Ethan's life, she just can't pull her life back together. Lena was a spectacle and all I could do was sit back and watch! She became unpredictable, acting on whims and out of character. Acting out against the people of Gatlin. Poor Ethan was just another spectator and no longer part of the team. Her eyes turning more and more golden by the day. Enter "Caster Boy" John Breed. Mysterious half-Caster, half-Incubus, total dick. His green Caster eyes say "friendly" but everything else screams "danger"! He comes into the picture literally out of nowhere and is all of a sudden Lena's BFF with Ridley in tow. Whispering into Lena's ear and protecting her like he's the new Boyfriend. I think towards the end of the book we were supposed to start feeling sorry for him or begin to suspect that he might not be as bad as we think. I don't care. I don't want to end up liking him, I don't want him on our side. I want him to rip back to wherever the hell he came from. I think I got a little more jealous for Ethan's sake than he did!
There were so many elements to this book, so many secrets that came to light that they're swirling in my head as I try to decide which to focus on! Okay, I knew all along that Lucille was a Caster Cat from the first vision Ethan had while looking through her eyes! Very cool. Macon and Ethan's mom were in love?!?! Whoa, I did not see that coming and I don't really know how I feel about it. And why didn't anyone think to use the Arclight on John Breed?
For a little while, I was suspicious of Olivia. I thought she might turn out to be someone or something else. Even up until the end when Macon kept giving her these strange looks. And oh yeah, Macon's still alive. I'm really glad they didn't kill him off because I believe he is too important to the story to have died in the first book! Glad to have him back. Back to Olivia. I was worried about her and Ethan, I thought for just a second that he might actually give up on Lena and start dating her. But calling Olivia L (short for Liv)? Oh, hell no! Ridley took it easy on him when she caught him calling her that.
There was definitely too much awesomeness in this book to put into my own words. I thought it was cool that Ethan turned out to be a Wayward even though he doesn't have any powers and it doesn't help with the whole near-death thing when him and Lena touch for too long. This, is what I did not like: Ridley losing her powers. What is she now? Mortal, yes I know, but really, she's nothing. They have to find a way to bring her powers back. I'll miss the lollipops and the chaos they cause! What I really didn't like was what happened to Link. At the end when everyone is fighting for their lives, John Breed grabs Link by the neck and bites him! Didn't I tell you? Total dick. Now Link is part-Caster, part-Incubus, part-Evo. WTF? I blame it on Leah. She joined the party right before the ass-kicking part started and she was all gun-ho, bad-ass. As the only supernatural fighting on our side at the time, I kinda felt like she should have protected them a little more. But it seemed she got her first taste of blood and forgot all about them because the Mortals went in to fight off a pack of Blood Incubi without her. If she was there playing her part, Link would have never gotten bitten. Just saying. I'm sure his cool new powers will be of much help in the rest of the story and I do kinda look forward to that.
This is not one of those books that you can't find a "good place to stop" so you can take a bathroom break or eat or sleep because every page, every paragraph is full of suspense. You can't wait to find out what is going to happen next.
Expected publication date for Beautiful Chaos is October 18, 2011!!! You're gonna have to get in line because I'm getting mine first!