Thursday, December 3, 2009

Beautiful Creatures, Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

I feel like I had been waiting for months and months to get my hands on this book. The authors have a great blog and did an amazing job promoting this book. I knew I wanted to read it almost as soon as I heard about it and was so frustrated to have to wait for so long. That is one of my few minor complaints with this book. I wish I hadn't heard anything about it until there was about a week until its release date. For me, I got really (overly) excited about the book which led to me being irritated that I couldn't read it right away which led to my ridiculously high expectations that no book could possibly fulfill.

I did really enjoy reading Beautiful Creatures but it was not without some bumps along the way for me. It is a long read which I normally love but somehow in this one it felt a little "Breaking Dawn/Harry Potter 7/Where is your editor?" to me. Which isn't to say I didn't enjoy the book but there were just some stretches of the narrative that got a little sluggish and wordy in my opinion. Another sign was that I was able to put this one down for days at a time which is definitely out of character for me when reading something I adore.

My only other issue was with Lena, the romantic lead, Lena was a touch too precious for my taste what with the writing on her hands, her special necklace-o-found-objects, & her poetry. Pause for Wodehouse to better explain my feelings:

"I don't want to wrong anybody, so I won't go so far as to say that she actually wrote poetry, but her conversation, to my mind, was of a nature calculated to excite the liveliest of suspicions. Well, I mean to say, when a girl suddenly asks you out of a blue sky if you don't sometimes feel that the stars are God's daisy-chain, you begin to think a bit." (Right Ho, Jeeves)

I did like the suspenseful and romantic storyline with all of its nods to Southern atmosphere (loved the DAR, the Civil War flashbacks, and the descriptions of the food). I also liked the many literary references and of course all the magic. Macon Ravenwood was definitely my favorite character followed by Marian the librarian (whose name makes me want to break into song) which is sort of frustrating since they are minor characters and I would have liked to see more of them. The scene when Macon reveals himself to the town in the school board meeting was one of my favorites.

I love that Marian quoted Robert Herrick's beautiful "Christmas Carol, Sung to the King in the presence at White-hall" and I especially love that Lena's cousin Ridley uses Jessica Rabbit's line about being drawn bad... which makes me wonder if the teen girl target audience of this book has ever seen Who Framed Roger Rabbit? And that makes me feel old because I can remember when that was a risque movie among my set of friends!

I am definitely excited to read the upcoming volumes that are planned in this series and am hopeful that the writing will get better and better because the ideas and the themes are totally up my alley. And I will totally go see the movie version that is being made.

This book made me realize that I prefer reading books that I know nothing about. Going into a book with no expectations or preconceived ideas makes for a much more powerful experience. I mean how could I not feel a little let down by a book that promoted its lovers like this:

I liked Ethan and Lena but they are no Romeo & Juliet, they're not even Edward & Bella. And I was really hoping they would be.

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