Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Synopsis/Summary: There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything. -Taken from Goodreads
Find the book on: Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble
I was a little annoyed going into the book at first because I felt like the writing for the first few chapters were really confusing. I don't know if it was just me, but I definitely didn't find myself being sucked in after the first few pages. Loving this book is a growing process, the deeper the story went, the more I saw its depth, its resourcefulness, plus the writing improved a lot in the later part of the book. So, if you were like me, Finding that the book wasn't really that great at first, just push through it, I am sure you will be enjoying the story by the middle of it, tops.
This one is really a love story of some sort, with paranormals and other tragic things thrown into it, making it a tragic love story. Frankly, that was the part I least enjoyed. I liked almost all the plots, the one about facing fate (which was a big one, BTW), the one about Lena facing her school life (she was an outcast, you know, the whole new-girl-in-small-town setting, but it was kind of enjoyable) and also about Ethan finally letting go of mourning over her mom, about his emotional growth. Those were really good storylines, with depths and many questions of beliefs left for pondering, but somehow, in all of the lovable storylines, the romance failed to capture me. Not that I didn't like the whole we-can't-be-together thing, it's just that I found it a little cliche, and the romance actually took up too much place in the characters' heart. I know, they love each other, but I couldn't believe how they behaved, they were really stupid with the things that did for love. Well, I guess love is blind, I just couldn't take it, but I am sure many would devour this up, so, good ahead ;)
I love the plot twists in this story. It was genuinely surprising at times, though after the reveal I could see the foreshadowings. The whole book had a lot of climaxes, and I enjoyed most of them. However, I don't know if it was because the book was too long or I was accustomed to the story being slow-flowing, I wasn't gripping the book and racing through the pages when the climax hits. It was still good though :)
The ending was kind of bittersweet but generally it could be count as a good ending, not happy though. Also, there was no cliff-hanger here, there were some unanswered questions, but assuming from the size of the sequel, Beautiful Darkness, I am sure those would be answered in no time. I found the ending a little rushed. Yes, a book with 563 pages had a rushed ending. But really, things just happened so fast by the end I wasn't sure how it happened, and how it ended. But hey, you can't reveal all your secrets in one book, right? ;)
There are things that I don't like in the plot, like how long the book is. Some chapters are kind of meaningless, they have little significance to the story. And, again, I must say I hated the beginning. I flat-out hated Ethan's voice at first, by after awhile I got used to it and the book (not the character) started to grow on me.
I love the world-building of this book! I mean the whole thing is really unique. You have people that acts like witches but not really witches, but Casters, and you have Casters with different talents, they are called unique names too! The history of the Ravenwoods' curse is a pretty good addition too, not the most original though. :P I would like to know histories of Casters families though.
I absolutely hate the small town settings though. I've read a lot of stories set in small towns, and this town isn't all that different anyway. Everything that happens spread through the whole town by dinner, everyone shuns the new kids, your cliques are determined in your childhood, there's nothing special about all of that. Well, except for the fact that this is a historic town.
I don't really think the characters are all that lovable. They are not irritating, I just don't practically like them. Who knows why? They are not exciting or interesting, well, all except for Ridley.
For example, Ethan, our protagonist, wanted change. Changes from life in the small historic town.
You know, I am sure many teenagers want changes too, so it's not an unique thing. That's fine. But how he reacts, his personalities, weren't all that special and distinguishing from other secondary characters either. The only thing that made him our protagonist was his connection with Lena. And as you all know, that's not a romance I swooned over. So no, I didn't connect with him and didn't find him all that special.
As for Lena, I kind of find her annoying. She's whiny, while I admire her not backing away from things that are unfair and don't-take-shit-from-anyone (excuse the language, it's kind of an expression :P) attitude, I don't like her. She's not bad or anything, but I couldn't connect with her either and I couldn't take love-sick-puppy talk near the end of the book...
You know, I don't really understand why I hated the romance... Maybe because I just didn't like the two characters, so I didn't like them together. Or because they so clearly belonged to each other that I couldn't really find myself excited when they were actually together, even though they had to climb through many obstacles to finally get there, but to be exact they haven't actually solved all problems yet, so we will see more of how they could finally be together in the next book, woohoo...
Of course, all the above ranting and complaining actually were just my opinions, I am sure some of you will fall in love with Ethan and Lena and their love story, and if you do, let me know. I would definitely want to hear both sides' opinions ;)
|Rating: 3 stars!|