Monday, 22 July 2013

Caragh Reviews - Beautiful Darkness by Garcia & Stohl

Published - 28th October 2010
Publisher - Little Brown
Format - Paperback
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. Sometimes life-ending. Together Ethan and Lena 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 of Beautiful Creatures can be found here.

Following on from the first book in the series, Ethan and Lena are struggling to deal with everything that happened at the end of Beautiful Creatures. Not surprisingly, they're having a tough time and things go from bad to worse for Ethan.

I have to say that I enjoyed this book a lot more than Beautiful Creatures for a couple of reasons. Due to circumstances, Beautiful Darkness has less of a focus on romance and is more adventurous. The Lunae Libri (forgive me if i've written that wrong!) plays a huge role and it was interesting to learn more about the role of Keeper, particularly as that becomes more important to Ethan later on in the story. I really feel that Ethan grew as a character and although in some ways he was still chasing Lena's happiness rather than fighting for himself, he became a stronger individual. On the other hand, Lena was almost unbearable! I'm not sure whether that's genuinely how she is being portrayed or whether in comparison to the exciting and energetic Liv, that Lena pales and her whiny attributes shine through.

Ethan, Link and Liv undertake an incredible quest and I was totally with them every step of the way. Action, adventure, mystery, magic and extraordinary events face them and the three entirely mortal kids are brave and focused. It's the kind of story I loved as a kid and it's what I love now. There were moments when I felt genuine concern for their fate and I got a little teary in places. Link is definitely one of my favourite characters and when the trio meet up with Ridley it's both filled with potential and hilarity. Their relationship and personalities are brilliant and I think there is more to come from the two of them, whether singularly or together.

Beautiful Darkness is full of tragic moments. Emotional and literal loss, grief, revelations, realisations and an overall sense of ending is apparent throughout and I had a heavy heart throughout the book because I just got so pulled in by all of them. I was a little disappointed at the end when all of what came before seemed overshadowed once again by Ethan's love for Lena. The 'showdown' for want of a better word was pretty spectacular if not a little..strange. Though I was happy with the arrival of a friendly face, I don't really understand why it happened in the first place. I'm so excited for this series and it could literally go anywhere from this point onwards so fingers crossed I can get my hands on them soon...!

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