Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Warning – I don’t have the power or patience to be objective about this book.  I can only rant.  On Goodreads, I rated this 2 stars – one for attempting original mythology and the other for a pretty cover.  When I’m in a reading slump and read something atrocious, I get bitchy.  Let the bitchfest commence.  And there might be spoilers.

Beautiful Creatures attempts to tell a Southern Gothic story about witches (I mean, Castors…sorry) from a teenage male perspective.  Ethan is 15 or 16 (who really knows or cares?), never been away from his small hometown of Gatlin, South Carolina, dreams of escape, hides the fact that he reads literature (he’d be shunned in the South for reading…how did I ever survive?), and doesn’t ever have a single solitary sexual thought about his beyond gorgeous, mysterious girlfriend.  He’s super popular, a star basketball player, and tortured over the death of his mother.  Oh…and he’s the most boring teenager I’ve ever met in fiction…or real life.

Lena, the mysteriously beautiful new girl in town is a witch (eh, Castor…forgot again).  She’s got really huge green eyes, a woe is me attitude, no fight, and likes poetry.  She also prefers sexless mannequin boyfriends who struggle with saying “I love you” and aren’t the least bit freaked out that they can telepathically communicate with her.  On her 16th birthday she’s doomed to be claimed – either by light or darkness – can these star-crossed lovers save themselves from the inevitable darkness swooping in to consume her?  No, but a cloudy sky comes to the rescue and leaves our nearly 600 page snooze inducer with a sequel that’s sure to send you off to the land of nod all over again.  Don’t you just love plot recycling?

Want more snark?  Cool beans.  I have lived in the South my ENTIRE life, including South Carolina, and have never visited a town that resembles Gatlin.  Everyone I know refers to the Civil War as the Civil War, maybe occasionally the War Between the States, but every character in Beautiful Creatures calls it the War of Northern Aggression – you might even fail your history class for not obeying this rule.  And, yes, Civil War reenactments do exist, but I don’t think they often use live artillery, especially if such live ammo has already killed a resident.  Just sayin’.  Oh, look there…see how I dropped that ‘g’.  We do love to drop our ‘g’s sometimes.  And I’ll admit to replacing the preposition ‘of’ with ‘a’ every now and again – but to have every Southern character in your novel do this on every page, all the time, like ‘g’s and ‘of’ don’t exist is RIDICULOUS and OFFENSIVE.  For instance, I have never dropped the ‘g’ on the word boring and if the title of a book is The Book of Moons then I’ll use ‘of’ every time.  Because I know how to read.  Don’t get me started on how poorly the slang ‘fixin’ was butchered.

Guess what?  Southerners also have these things called television, the internet, radio, and many other news outlets.  We even know how to use them!  So we’d know when a hurricane was coming long before it got to our shores.  We wouldn’t think every single thunderstorm was a hurricane just waiting to destroy us.  Know what else?  People visit hurricane alley all the time during hurricane season.  In fact, most of our visits occur during those months.  BECAUSE WE HAVE THIS MODERN THING CALLED THE WEATHER CHANNEL.  They keep the Hurricane Ninjas from sneaking up on us.

Let’s see…can I get really picky for a moment?  No self-respecting Southern high school gives a crap about basketball.  Football is our king.

I can’t stop now – Garcia and Stohl get downright cruel in bullying a popular ‘fat girl’.  They constantly harp on how she’s not skinny, has a butt the size of Texas, and must like to eat pie all the time.  Disgusting.  I felt like really boring invisible high school girls who wanted to be mean girls wrote this book.  And that was not a good thing.

The number one reason to not read this book?  It is boring as hell.  Nothing happens.  Nothing is resolved.  The characters are flat and dull.  The Ravenwood mansion was the most alive, honest, intriguing character.  When I relate to a house more than the humans, something is wrong.  If you like a book where professors can’t possibly have southern accents, black people don’t exist – or really any people other than rich, white, ‘Old Money’ Southerners, and 400 of the 563 pages are plot-less, poorly paced filler, then you’ll love Beautiful Creatures.

This book made me mad.  I think I need to stay away from books set in the South, paranormal romance, star-crossed lovers/insta-love romances, and most YA literature.  I can’t believe the amazing cast of actors that have signed on for this movie.  The screenplay must be compelling and completely retooled.  Viola Davis deserves so much better than this trite, shallow crapfest.

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11 thoughts on “Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

  1. I know exactly what you mean when I’m in a reading slump, I have no tolerance for books I don’t like. I’m been taking a break from YA because I was in a reading slump and couldn’t get into any paranormal, love-triangle YA reads.

    • I feel kind of guilty for being so mean in retrospect, but the book was truly not good. I think I was most upset about how much hype it gets. And I’m taking a break from YA as well.

    • I don’t mind being honest, but feel bad sometimes about being snarky-honest. Something just enraged me this day and I found lots of things to vent about.

  2. Yikes! Remind me never to give you a book that you won’t enjoy! haha

    This review cracked me up. I know EXACTLY what you’re saying about Southern stereotypes. I love books set in the South, especially ghost stories (because what’s scarier than a Southern ghost?), but I’m quick to jump on facts that don’t exist – i.e. the writers saying things in their books that no one down here does/says/thinks.

    Who green-lighted this to be a movie? I think you need to send them your review. 🙂

    • Normally, I’m not so aggressive. Just caught me at the wrong time! I love a good Southern ghost story as well – and love actual ghost tours even more. Savannah has some excellent ones. The South definitely has its quirks, but we’re fiercely protective when ppl get it wrong!

      The movie is all the rage these days. Viola Davis, Emma Thompson, Emily Rossum – huge name stars have signed on. I hope they make the movie better than the book. I’m cringing just thinking about the horrid accents.

  3. Oh, no, not one for me that’s for sure! Of all the offensive things about this book, I think I most take exception to the belittling of the overweight girl. That is just crude. It sounds like this was a bit of a painful read. Sorry that it made you so mad, but I can understand your ire.

    • That part was hardest for me as well because it was there for no reason that I can think of and completely out of character for the narrator to even talk about. It seemed just placed within the book for fun. Normally, I don’t like to make personal comments about the authors, but I can see no other reason for that part of the book than for their own personal benefit.

  4. Completely agreed, grew up in the south for ten years of my life and not once did any of the people around me act like the people in this book (also side note Kami Garcia, one of the writers, grew up in the south and that’s why she wanted to right about it but she confused criticism and stereotypes with making a homage to childhood). Other problems, Ethan was an effeminate and egotistical liberal stereotype. Why did they call them Castors? What the Fucks a Castor!

  5. I agree with you about the stereotyping of the South, unfairly. Garcia is from outside DC which isn’t really the South, so other than the atmospheric setting, this book failed to capture me.

    I couldn’t finish the book due to that and the fact that the boy POV didn’t sound like a boy.

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