So, I went on a little bender….a v-bender that is. To be more specific, I dropped out of the realm of the living to read all the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris. I will admit that they got to me. I am definitely hooked. I will also admit that I am one of those foul people who watched True Blood long before she ever picked up one of the books that it’s based on. Better late than never though, right? Anyways, I won’t get into them too much here because they aren’t a YA series, which is mostly what I write this blog about. Don’t get me wrong….everyone who knows me can tell you that I will not stand for any kind of censoring of any sort. Truthfully, I very well could have read these books in high school, but I grew up in a pretty liberal household. I just want it to be clear, for those young adults who prefer literature of a higher moral code, that these books were not written for a YA audience. As such, objectionable language and sexual content abound. But, for those of you who don’t mind such things or who relish this kind of literature, I say DIG IN!
So, if I’m not gonna write about the SoVampMysteries, what am I gonna write about? Something that is NOT, I repeat NOT about vampires.
I just want to make sure we’re clear about this, the following book is NOT about vampires.
Why am being so adamant about this, you may ask? Let me explain.
Earlier this year, I heard a lot of talk about Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Everytime I heard someone talk about this book, it was in the context of a discussion about vampire books. Add that to someone telling me that this is like Twilight, but the girl is the vampire–and I built up this whole notion of what I thought this book was. Finally, this weekend I sat down and read it. Guess what? It’s not about vampires, at all! What were all those people smoking?
What is it about, then? Well, I don’t want to tell you because it’ll ruin the fun of discovering it for yourself. I will concede that is about something supernatural…but not vampires. LOL
Ethan Wate grew up in the small town of Gatlin, South Carolina, just like his father before him and all the Wates before him. They live in the same house, surrounded by the same people, living the same life. Nothing ever changed, until now. After Ethan’s mom dies in an accident, Ethan’s dad locks himself away in his office writing and Ethan succumbs to terrible nightmares. Every night he dreams the same thing. A girl is falling, leaving him, and he can’t save her. When his dream girl shows up in Gatlin, Ethan thinks that maybe his life is gonna turn around. But when unexplainable things start to happen and Ethan’s housekeeper Amma, the one person he feels like he can always trust, tells Ethan to stay away from the new Lena, Ethan knows that change might not always be good. Still, Ethan knows that he has to look deeper, that everything must be happening for a reason. Can Ethan and Lena learn to trust each other so that they can figure why they are so powerfully connected? Will change mean a new future or no future?
Watching Ethan and Lena learn to trust each other and fall for each other is breathtakingly beautiful. The connection between them, with its supernatural appearance, also seems to resemble the nature of true love–powerful beyond all things, even when it might mean danger or heartbreak. At times, it was slightly frustrating watching Lena continue to distrust Ethan and push him away. But, while this is painful, it lends a nice touch of a real relationship.
While many powerful and heartbreaking things ensue, this book also provides its share of lightness and humor. I think it’s mostly due to the badass female quotient. Amma, the Wates’ housekeeper, is tough as nails. It is amusing to watch her as she lays into Ethan with the tenacity only true caring and love can create. You know in an instant that no one crosses Amma because she does what she does for your own good. Ethan’s three eldery aunts, the Sisters, are just as endearing. At times slightly off-kilter and at other times just plain stupid, the reader knows the Sisters’ way and word are law–even it means there are only 11 true states (the Confederate ones) and itching is spelled ichin’. There’s just something you have to love about women who think that being buried with your recipes so as not to share them is a sin of the highest order.
There’s also a badass supernatural quotient in this book. I told you before, I’m not gonna give too many details here. Let’s suffice it to say that Garcia and Stohl have built a pretty enchanting world here. You are gonna love unraveling it. Wrap up all that supernatural goodness and put it in a nice package with a southern drawl and you are gonna be instantly charmed.
I am looking forward to reading the sequel, Beautiful Darkness. I’ve got an advance reading copy from ALA sitting right next to me. I think I’m gonna take a night off and enjoy a chick flick though. I could do with a little light to balance out the dark.
As always, happy reading! And if you’ve read Beautiful Creatures already, I wanna hear from you. Did I miss something? Did you think it was about vampires? Cause, I’m still mulling that one over. 🙂