Beautiful Disaster

Published January 11, 2013 by jrm17

I have been obsessed with Beautiful Creatures since I opened it and got over missing Ana and Christian.  It has been a long time since I was so taken with a book that I kept reading and reading until I fell asleep with it (Actually, I think Vampire Diaries was the last time I did it way back in freshman year).  The authors of this book definitely have a new super fan in me because it so different and wonderfully written that I’m already debating if I should forgo Last Sacrifice, the newest Vampire Diaries, and Gone with the Wind.  I think I can hold off but you can bet the farm that I’ll be getting through them as fast as I can so I can read the next installment in this series.

The story takes place in a small Southern town not much different from mine where there’s the people who are in and the ones that they don’t like.  You either have to be one or the other (and basically you have to be a local).  It focuses around Ethan Wate, a boy born and raised in Gatlin, who is having weird dreams that come to life when he sees the girl from them, Lena Duchannes (rhymes with rain), who happens to be the niece of Macon Ravenwood, the Boo Radley of the Gatlin.  Turns out that the beautiful girl isn’t exactly normal and she’s got some odd powers and I don’t want to give anything away but good and evil are a huge part of this story and I loved it and that’s all I’m going to say about the plot.

I was a little off put at first because there is something rather different about this book: it’s written in the point of view of our hero as opposed to our heroine.  Now, I’d just finished 50 Shades of Freed and was working when I started so I’m chalking it all up to that because in the end I think seeing everything from Ethan’s eye is really cool.  How often do we get to know how the boy in the main relationship feels without it being said to the girl through dialogue?  I like knowing what he’s thinking and why he’s acting as weird as he is and how it’s all connected to how much he loves the girl.  I like knowing that he would do anything to save this girl without him telling her (because if we are honest, we are girls and while we’d like to assume our boys would do this for us, we are skeptical and prepared to save our own butts).  That’s it, I guess, I just like knowing these things from the head of our hero instead of assuming them through his actions and what’s going on in the heroine’s head.

Of course, I’m a big fan of books that takes place in the South, too.  I know that Vampire Diaries does and it remains to be one of my favorite series but it doesn’t have the same true feel to it.  Let me tell you, there are actually people who do reenactments for fun and those of us who are still very proud of our Confederates and honor all the fallen soldiers from the Civil War.  The co-authors did a great job of keeping with Southern dialect–though I would have loved to see some of the cliches that we are famous for.  And there could have been a little more sweet tea.  The food was an excellent in it though.

The one thing that some people might not know but is very true in the book is our fascination with the supernatural.  As my mama always says, “If you believe in the good Lord, then you have to believe in spirits because He is the Holy Spirit after all.”  We love ghost stories and as Amma showed in the book, our little voodoo, hoodoo, magic, card reading stuff.  Now, I don’t really like to mess with all that stuff Amma knew all about because I’ve got the fear of God in me and I ain’t risking what happens when I kick the bucket just because I wanted to fool around with magic.  However, I am a big believer in ghosts and if you live in a Southern town (Or just over the Mason Dixon in Gettysburg), you are down right obsessed because you’ve got soldiers wandering around you.  Our town did a ghost tour during Heritage Days this past year on the 150th anniversary of the war.  It’s just what we do.  Our tour in Charles Town has a lot of history with the war and in the Ferry, too, because we’ve got our dear John Brown.

That’s not to say that the whole witch aspect of this is completely farfetched in the South.  There used to be a lady a few towns over who people would just show up at her house to have a reading done (I am a little upset I never got a chance to do this.  I’m not scared of Tarot readings).  And, I have heritage that traces back to gypsies.  Bette Knight was said to have the veil over her eyes and she could see what was going to happen (We live on the same land as the original Knight house was and it still stands not far from ours).  The gift was passed on to my mama, who is a sensitive and dreams stuff.  I’m sensitive to an extent but it’s nothing like my mama and our ancestors.  It’s just something that happens down here…especially considering you have to know your heritage if you are a good Southern.  Ethan knows that in the book but also learns that we have the gift for twisting stuff to make it look better (Lord knows if I didn’t do that because mine definitely explains me).

Okay, you’ve just got to trust me on this one and read Beautiful Creatures.  If you love the South, then you’ll have a special appreciation for it but even if you couldn’t care less, the plot is so amazingly interesting and different that it won’t even matter.  It’s magnificently written and you just have to give it a chance.  I know that I’ll be finishing up the rest fairly soon and I tore through the 500-something pages in no time of the first book.  I can even pretty much ensure that my butt will be at the movies on Valentine’s Day seeing the movie adaptation (Sorry, Michael).  If that’s not enough to convince you, I don’t know what else to say other than just read it.

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