Saturday, October 23, 2010

Beautiful Darkness - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

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 they 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.

Ok, this book was definitely more of an emotional read for me. The first book was so, so good but the main focus was Ethan's budding relationship with Lena and his introduction to her world. This book was much more about Ethan - I felt - than it was about Lena. Even though she remained his primary motivation for most of his actions, I really felt as though this was about him. It was so great to see him take charge of the situation and fight for what he wanted and not putting up with the stupid vague answers from the adults anymore. Lena just made me sad and slightly aggrivated (just like Ethan) and for most of the book I was so frustrated with her. By the end, most of it made sense, but it was tough reading whenever she was involved. There were definitely a lot of questions that were left unanswered by the end, but there's was also a lot that was answered. Overall the book was an emotional rollercoaster for me. I actually had to take breaks (I know!) because it was really getting to me. The angst and the loss and the confusion. It made me feel 16 again. And the twists they sprung on me - let's just say there were several times when I said "That did NOT just happen!!" I never knew what was going to happen next.

I loved seeing more backstory on Macon, Marian, and Ethan's mom. It was all very enlightening, and I really felt it added a great layer to the story. (Can I just say that sometimes Marian made me want to hit something? The rules just make me angry. Anyway, moving on...) I loved that Link was more involved. He really feels like main character now and I love him more than ever. I also liked the evolution of Ridley, and I'm hoping we see much more of her in the next two books. The two things that gave me the most turmoil in this book were the new characters - Liv and John Breed. While I now am more reconciled with the first, I have no idea how to feel about the latter. For the majority of the book I loathed the very mention of him, but by the end, I just don't know. *sigh* I suppose I'll just have to wait and see what the deal is with him.

All in all, and excellent second book in this fantastic series. I can't wait to see what happens next to Ethan, Lena, and everyone else in Gatlin.


Beautiful Darkness
Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Little Brown
503 pages
$17.99 (hardcover)

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