Beautiful Creatures is the first book in the Caster Chronicles series for young adults.
Read or hear an excerpt: http://beautifulcreaturesnovels.com/page/novels
This was one of those books I tried to read before the movie came out, but I didn't get it finished. However, I didn't want to miss the opportunity to see it when it was on at the theatre, as it's a different experience from just watching the DVD. So I guess my reading of the book will be slightly coloured by watching the movie, which I thought was a delight to watch and I was really quite taken with the screen adaption.
It's set in the South of the US, in a small county rich in history, called Gatlin. A place where nothing ever changes, and the most exciting thing that happens is the re-enactment of the Battle of Honey Hill.
Sixteen year old Ethan has been dreaming about the same girl for a while. When Lena moves to town, to stay with her unusual and reclusive uncle, Ethan's life is about to change forever.
While the rest of the town rejects Lena, Ethan feels a strange connection to her. As their relationship develops they uncover secrets about Lena and her family, as well as the town and Ethan's own family, which will test their relationship to it's limits.
I'll admit, I don't know much about the history from this area, other than from a few historical films. So I can't comment on the accuracy of the portrayals. However, having a supernatural element means there's going to be fictional liberties taken anyway.
I enjoyed this portrayal of the witches as casters, moving away from the pagan based witches which seem so popular in the last decade or so. The deviation from lore in supernatural stories, always adds extra interest for me. I'm not picky about "rules" being followed, as long as the story is consistent.
This is a quick read, after all it's a young adult book. But it's fun and although it talks about "light and darkness", it really doesn't get too dark at all. I'm a little unsure about whether I found the male narrator's voice believable, but I could suspend my disbelief for a while, and still enjoy the story for what it was.
This was my favourite quote, as I loved the focus on books and the library throughout the novel.
“The library was home away from home to my mom, and my family. We had spent every Sunday afternoon there since I was a little boy, wandering around the stacks, pulling out every book with a picture of a pirate ship, a knight, a soldier, or an astronaut. My mom used to say, "This is my church, Ethan. This is how we keep the Sabbath holy in our family.”
Here are a couple of interesting articles: