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4.4 out of 5 stars
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In the small Southern town of Gatlin, South Carolina, outsiders are not made welcome. That goes double for the new girl in school, Lena Duchannes, because she is the niece of Old Man Ravenwood, the town's strange recluse. But Ethan Wate finds himself drawn to the strange teen. The girl has been showing up in his nightmares even before he first met her.

Though Lena wants nothing to do with the other students, especially Ethan, the guy keeps trying to gain her friendship. As Ethan wedges himself into her life, his former friends and school mates begin to ostracize him, as well as Lena. You see, Lena has secrets. She tries her best to keep those secrets and her powers hidden from others. Lena's sixteenth birthday is only months away. Unlike everyone else in Gatlin, she is not Mortal. Lena is from a family of Casters. As with all members of Lena's family line, the day she turns sixteen she will be Claimed by either the Dark or the Light side. No one, not even Lena, can choose whether she becomes Evil or Good and once Claimed it cannot be undone.

***** FIVE STARS! A breathtaking story of love and dark magic. There is much more going on than I mention in my synopsis, but to tell more may cause spoilers. I try to avoid that. Though the primary and secondary characters are mostly teens, I fully believe that adult fantasy fans will enjoy this terrific story also. The characters are vivid and well developed. The plot builds quickly. I found myself reading late into the night. As for the ending, I never saw it coming. Outstanding and highly recommended. *****

Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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on 13 February 2013
I really wanted to like this book.

I love pacy, well written urban fantasy written by authors such as LJ Smith (when I was younger) and Patricia Briggs.

This is not a poorly written book. The story told is not a bad one.

The problems are:

1. that the fantasy world created seems very dull, simplistic and soap opera esque;

2. there is just a sheer lack of pace;

3. the characters are very thinly drawn;

4. it seemed to me as a reader as if every time the authors needed a new twist they just added another magical rule to those aleady imposed on the central character and her family;

5. the authors appear to have added these "rules" without providing satisfying explanation of who or what obviously sentient being was imposing such detailed rules. Or of how the characters were able to interprit the detailed rules so clearly without seeming to have any material to assist with interpritation. There was a library and a central book of spells but the rules described (and revealed by other characters to the lead characters) were not tied to parts of the central book of spells.

Not an awful book - just rather boring. I was flicking through pages and pages of boring angst and very sub LJ Smith US High School stuff to get to the central story. When one eventially got to the tiny bits of story they were not detailed enough to satisfy.

I grudge the £4.99 I spent buying the book as I feel unsatisfied. I would have been more sensible to buy 10 mars bars.
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VINE VOICEon 24 March 2010
I have just finished this book and I found it absolutely breathtaking. It has all the makings of a good story in the Gothic/supernatural genre as well as in the supernatural romance genre.

I loved The setting of a small town/county in the middle of nowhere which set the scene for no limitations (reminds me a little of the sookie stackhouse books in terms of its small town country setting)and which could definitely not result from a setting in a city. A lot of the book uses the fact that the close knit community likes everything the way it is, they like everything to be a certain way and most of all hate change. It reminds me a little of the town in the True Blood books which mirrors this similar concept. The little town does not know what hit them when the local 'shut in' Racon Ravenwood's niece comes to stay and a lot of strange things begin to happen. They take an instant dislike to Lena purely because she does not dress like them or act like them or fit with their perfect way of things and so the community alienates her. That is, apart from a boy named Ethan, who since his mother died has felt a little alienated himself.

It turns out Lena is different, she has powers and is cursed to have no choice in her future in terms of good or evil. Ethan becomes Lena's rock in more ways than one and together they uncover the truth behind her looming sixteenth birthday which is D day. With a quirky use of sharpie pen, time travel, jewellery, poems, the civil war/history and the supernatural, the book is filled from page to page with something happening. I particularly loved the Sixteen moons song; it was amazing.

The love story of Ethan and Lena unfolds before you even realise. Their love is something which is beautiful and makes you feel so much emotion and identification with the characters you sometimes forget that it is fiction.

In particular, I found it refreshing that the book was written from Ethan's point of you as it is not often that you get a whole male perspective from books and it was done the best I have seen in this respect to date.

Everything seems believable even though you know that it is not. I often found myself getting so caught up in the little town and its inhabitants because it was so realistic in its setting and characterisation. It is a beautifully unique and breathtaking novel and it has quickly become one of my favourite books of all time.

The ending is conclusional but at the same time not, it leaves you wanting to badly know what happens next to Lena...
I have heard there is a sequel and if so I will be pre ordering it as soon as Amazon release it!
So watch this space...

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on 30 January 2013
If your thinking of reading this, THEN DO IT. Don't hesitate because you won't look back, amazing book so detailed and emotive. There's so much meaning and can never be compared to `twilight'. Please read turnip before the film, I heard the film has been quite adapted and WILL not be as good. Very very good read!
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on 15 March 2013
At the age of 31, I should be perhaps too old for books aimed at the teenage market, but there have been several franchises I have really enjoyed : Harry Potter, Twilight (for my sins), The Hunger Games Trilogy, The Chaos Walking Trilogy, and Julianna Baggott's 'Pure' series, thus far.

I rather hoped that in the Beautiful Creatures novels I would find either books which transcend age ranges like Chaos Walking or an addictive guilty pleasure like Twilight.

I found myself disappointed :

In Beautiful Creatures, small town teen Ethan, reeling from the death of his mother falls in love with an enigmatic and unusual outsider who moves to the town. So..Twilight in reverse. The object of his affection Lena Duchenne, like Edward Cullen, is hiding supernatural abilities.

Lena belongs to a family of "Casters" - witches and wizards basically, who have the power to cast spells. A heavy curse was laid upon Lena's family generations earlier, after which, unlike other Caster families when their family members come of age they don't get to choose whether they will be Dark or Light and are instead claimed by whichever side wins.

I really like the premise of this book, yet I found it slightly tedious, the prose didn't pop off the page, the dialogue was flat, and I didn't become emotionally involved in the fates of the characters. The Civil War aspects dragged the book down and could have been explained in a much quicker way.

When I start a series I usually aim to read all the books, but I was so unenamoured of the novel, that what I did was look up synopses on Wikipedia. What I found was that even with the fantasy parameters which the book lies within; the plotlines of the following books descend into utterly ludicrous tripe.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 September 2009
Ethan Wate lives at the epicenter of nowhere in Gatlin, South Carolina. Only two kinds of people live in Gatlin, "the stupid and the stuck," and Ethan doesn't consider himself in either of those categories.

He isn't sure what he wants to do with the rest of his life, but he knows he wants out of town. It doesn't matter to him what college he goes to as long as it is 1,000 miles away from Gatlin. As summer comes to an end, Ethan prepares himself for another typical school year.

Only one thing out of the ordinary has been happening over the last several months - a recurring dream that leaves Ethan gasping for breath, soaking wet from sweat, and questioning his sanity. Always the same, a girl calling his name for help. The girl slipping through his fingers and tumbling down to the ground. A great sense of loss and the lingering scent of lemons and rosemary.

When Lena Duchannes moves into Gatlin's oldest and most infamous plantation, she causes quite a stir in town. She causes a stir in Ethan, as well. When he sees her and realizes she is the girl from his dreams, he is drawn to her both out of need and curiosity.

Mystery surrounds Lena as she attempts to make a place for herself in the community while also maintaining her individuality. Ethan's eyes are opened to a complicated world of danger and magic as he attempts to figure out his role in Lena's complicated world.

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES is a masterfully written tale that weaves together a story of love, the importance of family loyalty, and the difficulties of choosing between good and evil. Garcia and Stohl create a world where readers can lose themselves and be content.

Readers will beg for a sequel when they reach the last page.

Reviewed by: Karin Librarian
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on 19 January 2013
I really liked the idea behind this book; the fact that Lena had no choice over her destiny, that she would be good or evil, regardless of anything she did. But, I didn't like this book. I won't go so far to say it's a bad book. As another reviewer has said you can tell that a lot of research went into this book, and some of the ideas in the book are really good, i liked the idea that every Caster had a different ability for example.

I didn't like the way the book was written, i ended up getting to page 207 and realsing that nothing had really happened. The whole story seemed to be dragged out form that point onwards and nothing ever seemed to be explained properly. The characters also seemes to be pretty flat.
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on 28 March 2013
I bought this as I'd read so many positive reviews and seen all the hoopla. There are so many problems with this book it is hard to know where to start.

1) it is far too long. I have no problem with lengthy books as long as they are full of story and not endless repetition, over-long descriptions and cring-worthy dialogue.

2) The characters are totally 1 dimensional.

3) I'm not a Twilight fan, I couldn't and can't stand 15 year olds endlessly talking about how much they love each other - after about 10 pages. This is worse, and boy do they go on about how much they can't be without each other over and over again.

4) The plot is thin, it may have worked as a short story, but it is dragged out in a painful manner. It is also totally predictable.

5) The characters aren't likeable.

6) The endless references to the American Civil War, which just didn't add to the story. It was as if this historical reference would give the story some more depth and realism but it simply didn't work.

7) In the same way that Twilight had a nothing ending, this does too. I've seen reviewers describing it as a cliff hanger - really? I had to skim the entire 2nd half just to get through it and wish I hadn't wasted my time.
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on 9 October 2016
What I had been informed was like the Twilight series.

A young adult novel at the centre of which is a family who are not all they seem, tick. Part set in a high school, tick. Other worldly lovers, one of them new in town, one of them human, one of them not, tick. Whilst I can appreciate the similarities (and there are many, more than I mention here) and can see how both series might appeal to the same readers for me personally that is where the comparison ends.

To me darker and (dare I say it?) somehow more 'grown-up' than the Twilight books. Altogether more compelling, I loved the deliciously Gothic setting, found the characters wonderfully eccentric and thought the fact that the narrator was a teenage boy refreshing. Oh and then there was the aspect of the book that saw supernatural battles played out over the civil war setting - or at least a very romanticised version of it.

OK, so at just short of 600 pages arguably a tad too long - by the end I was beginning to question the chemistry (or lack of it?) between lovers Ethan and Lena and still on occasion wasn't altogether sure just who exactly was related to who .. and how (though that might say more about my tending to read throughout the wee small hours) - but altogether a thoroughly promising start to what I'm hoping is going to be an exciting story.

Copyright: Tracy Terry @ Pen and Paper
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on 9 August 2016
In BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, spellcaster Lena Duchannes falls in love with the mortal Ethan Lawson Wate.

What intrigued me: I love everything witchy.

Great Southern Feel - but ultimately TOO much

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES is your typical southern gothic with an eerie feel that plays into all the cliches you'd associate with the American South. Paired with an ounce of magic, this has the potential to become a fantastically unique and interesting series that puts a fun spin on the paranormal romance genre. But BEAUTIFUL CREATURES utterly loses itself in telling the story.

While I am a big fan of backstories and interwoven story lines, BEAUTIFUL CREATURES has too much of that. We have the tragic story about Lena's and Ethan's deceased family members, their Civil War doppelgangers, Lena's family coming into town, Ethan's mother's best friend being tied into it etc. But none of the story lines is actually tied together with the ending, which ultimately mak. in my opinion.

I get that it's a series and it's supposed to make sense in the bigger picture, but BEAUTIFUL CREATURES simply lacks in structure. I found myself confused while reading this a lot and not understanding what was happening half the time. After finishing, I wasn't satisfied, I wasn't intrigued, I was simply confused.

Family Relations: TOO COMPLICATED!!

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES wants to be a character-driven novel. There are so many different people playing key roles, having a backstory of their own and whatnot - but it's just not thought through. By the end of the novel I STILL didn't get how everyone is related. What always annoys me with having so many characters is using family gatherings as an excuse for making the reader familiar with all characters. It's even worse to introduce them one after another. García and Stohl introduce a lot of technical terms related to witchcraft, from the specific names for every type of caster to stuff like the Sanguini's Circle, a type of witchy ritual, but resolve none of it. Again: I'm confused.

I skimmed a lot of this novel, I'm not going to lie. For the thin story line it's just way too long and Ethan and Lena don't have chemistry at all. It just couldn't keep my interest, despite it's undoubtedly rich world building and distinct atmosphere. It's certainly one of those books that are hit or miss, and for me? It's tragically a miss.
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