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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Beautiful Creatures

Time for a review about a book that I've received from someone from my family! So thank you for the book, I have really enjoyed reading it so now it's time to review it: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I've seen the movie a year and a half ago? But I didn't remember a lot anymore so everything was a surprise in this book.

Ethan can't wait until he can leave his old, silly town and go somewhere bigger. He's been counting down the months and dreaming ahead. Yet it's not only a bigger city he's been dreaming about, but also about a girl. It isn't until months later that Ethan finally discovers who that girl is and sees her walking around in Gatlin. 
Lena's also counting down the days. Yet for her there isn't anything pleasant at the end of her counting. She's losing herself because of her powers and has a very hard time controlling them. If that isn't hard enough, people want to destroy her. 
Ethan can't leave Lena alone and will do anything to find out what the hell is going on with the girl of his dreams. Together, they'll have to fight the good or the bad....

Let's just start with the characters! First of Ethan Wate. He's the normal guy you'd expect every guy to be in a town like Gatlin. Gatlin is, in Ethan's eyes, a silly and stupid town and he absolutely can't wait to get out of it. I guess this is already a point where many readers can relate, some of us might or might not want to leave the city they're living in because it's silly or old or what not. It's also the point where you think that he's normal. The thing that made Ethan not the normal guy you'd expect him to be, are his dreams. 

The book will make you live with him in his dreams and that's where all the mystery will start. Ethan is completely clueless and so are we. We don't know who the girl is or what the dream might mean which gives us the impression that it might be totally nothing. It isn't until another character appears in the book that Ethan, and the reader, starts to understand there's more to it than we thought. It's also at this point that Ethan starts to show his determined side. He's determined to find out what's going on and when people start hating the new town girl, he's also determined to make it stop.

That's what I really appreciated in this character. The will to be different than the rest, and stick up for this girl that's being bullied. He really tries to make her feel at ease even though she's having a hard time. When she tries to shake him off, he's still determined to go for it. It's also from this point in the book that we see Ethan grow into someone very understanding and willing to help others, but mainly Lena. 

Of course there's also the part of Lena being in his dreams and Lena not being able to control her any more. This is also something that drives Ethan to stick around and to find out the truth. Nevertheless he won't use her for his own causes. He'll really help her out and be there for her which I absolutely appreciated in this character. 

As for Lena, the mystery all comes with her. The moment she enters Gatlin weird things start to happen, but us as a reader don't know if it's really a good idea to assume it's all because of her. I did like Lena a lot because also she has a very determined side but through it all, her gentleness will come around. She's also very stubborn and doesn't want to get attached to people because she's absolutely sure she's no good for them. Lena also proves us that she's a very emotional girl and that's something other readers can relate to when they can't always agree with Ethan. 

Of course there's so much more to Lena than we all think. Does she have powers? Is she just weird? We don't know the truth until far into the book. What we do know from the start is that everyone hates her because she looks weird and because of her family. Lena tries to be really strong and that's one of her strengths but throughout the book we'll also see the realistic side of people who are being bullied: they break at one point. Even through Lena has a hard stare and strong features, there will come a moment when she breaks and that will cause a lot of fuss with the class and with the reader. 

What I already can conclude to these two characters is that they will complete each other with each their own different strengths and weaknesses which I absolutely adored about them. Even though they don't always think alike they'll try to find a way in between. It's also Lena's gentleness that'll let Ethan in because he's so determined to stick around. These two will have a very rough start because Lena's not the type of person to let people in and I really enjoyed seeing that in her. 

Another character I'd like to discuss is Macon. Macon is Lena's uncle and also has a very determined and stubborn side. He's also the person that caused a lot of fuss in Gatlin itself, people think he's something supernatural because he never leaves his house. For short: people think he's weird. This is also one of the reasons for Lena's classmates to start bullying her and saying she's weird because of her uncle. 

Yet I really liked Macon a lot. He's protective, I give him that but throughout the book there were moments I really could laugh about what he said or what he was trying to say. He often scares Ethan and this also creates a moment of pleasure for the reader. Although I think he's funny, I as a reader still asked the same question over and over again: who is Macon really? From the beginning it felt like he was hiding something, many clues in the book will give you that same impression which is a great asset to the book. You're not only trying to find out what's going on with Lena but also trying to unravel Macon. 

A few other character I'd like to discuss, but briefly, are Link, Sarafine, Ridley and Larkin. First, we'll start with Link. Link is Ethan's best friend. I absolutely respect this character a lot because he never left Ethan, even when things got very weird. The moment Ethan sticks up for Lena, people start to hate on him too. Link doesn't get influenced by it and really wants to help him out. He's a very loyal person which also shows the bond Ethan and Link have.

As for Sarafine, Ridley and Larkin. They're part of Lena's family. The deal with these characters is that we don't know much about them. Did I think that's a bad side to the book? No, not really because the book will tell you a bit more about them and how they're related to Lena's family. I just appreciated these characters because they'll mislead the reader a lot which makes sure that the tension and mystery will thicken and stick around a lot longer. 

What I want to conclude about the part of the characters, is that they really create more mystery. There will be moments where you think that they're who you think they are, and moments where they just mislead you and you had mistaken them for another. It really feels as if many characters have two faces. This could symbolize the good and the bad in people which will also be a very important aspect in the book. The characters will also make many changes and grow into their confident selves which I think is also a great asset to the book.

Oh and there's also a dog! I know it's weird to say but I absolutely loved him. It's not that he doesn't have a function in the story. In the beginning it might seem really weird but at the end you'll understand what his purpose is. Other than that I absolutely loved the idea of the dog because he was very loyal and tried to keep his family safe. 

As for the plot, it's is all about mysteries and trying to discover certain truths. I can absolutely guarantee you that that's the case in this book. Of course, there's also the aspect of friendship and a growing bond but mystery is the one thing that's the most important in this book. 

From the beginning to the end you'll be getting clues to what's going on with certain characters but there's also a bigger purpose. This bigger purpose is being searched by Lena and Ethan. This will also create more questions with the reader and it'll make sure you want to keep reading in the book. What I did notice is that the authors really wanted to make you wait. You started with a lot of questions and not with a lot of answers, you had to be patience to get them. This makes it harder to unravel the truth but I think that's a good thing about the book because it makes sure you keep your attention and the story won't get easily boring. 

When we finally unraveled one thing, there are still another dozen things to find out such as a secret locket we find or the fact that there are characters we know so little about. It's as if you're doing your own investigation while working together with the two main characters. 

Which also brings me to the POV of this book. The book was written in Ethan's POV, which is something rather new for me because I don't read a lot of books that are totally written in the POV of a male. I did really enjoy it though because this time you were in the head of the "normal" person in this book, or so you might think...

There was a little excerpt that was written in someone else's POV, this was a bit confusing because I didn't know we were reading it in someone else's POV. The book doesn't tell you that it's not longer Ethan. It was surprising but a bit confusing! 

Another thing I want to mention about the plot is that the book will alternate between moments of pure mystery and moments of realistic, boring schooldays. This is one of the things that make this book very good because you also get to see normal schooldays that contain more information of how Ethan's life is or how people react on Lena being new on the school. It also makes sure you don't need to keep focusing on the mystery and you can take a break from it.

Above that there's also the part where the good and the bad will take turns in this book. It'll be a big question for us readers if the good or the bad will win and what it has to do with the bigger mystery but I absolutely enjoyed the part of good versus bad because it added to the story. 

Other than that the plot will also have many plot twists, especially when the end is nearing and secrets will be revealed. If all I can say the plot will keep you busy with trying to find things out and that's a good thing.

As a conclusion to this review I can say that this book really surprised me with the amount of mystery it contains. Also, the characters will add so much more to this story. You'll have a lot of characters and a lot of events happening but it won't make you confused. It does contain growing bonds and the characters will show certain developments throughout the book. If that isn't enough, there are also parts where you can really relate to certain people and parts where you can laugh because of what is said. For short, this book is a great book! I recommend it to people who are really into paranormal and mysterious stories! Other than that I'm really curious to where the following books will lead! 

"The right thing and the easy thing are never the same."

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