I read the first book in this series, Beautiful Creatures, back in December and I wasn’t too impressed. A friend of mine had suggested it, and since the movie was about to hit theaters I thought I’d give it a shot. As I said in my review then, the book was enjoyable but lacked the urgency needed to propel the story forward. This was not a problem in the next two books, Beautiful Darkness and Beautiful Chaos. Both of these books were so engrossing I could hardly put them down. Maybe it was due to the fact that I already knew all the characters and the authors were allowed to focus on the story more instead of character development. Considering there are a lot of characters in this series, I believe that’s what slowed down the action in the first book.
RELATED | Book Review: Beautiful Creatures
Beautiful Darkness picks up a couple of months after the events of the first book. The tragic events surrounding Lena’s 16th birthday have driven a wedge between her and Ethan, just when he is being pulled into another mystery. I loved how Garcia and Stohl realistically showed Lena’s grief. Granted this is a supernatural book series, but the authors dealt with this aspect in a very human way. Another highlight was the introduction of a couple new characters and the realization that some of the ones we already knew have a few secrets of their own. The synopsis according to Goodreads:
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.
The mysteries surrounding Lena, Gatlin, and…. Ethan continue in Beautiful Chaos. Like the previous book, this one picks up right after the last. Ethan has been so wrapped up in solving Lena’s mysteries that he never considered he had his own to solve. Now that Ethan knows why he is connected to Lena, Ethan tries to find a way to save the world that has been thrown into chaos after Lena’s decision. I have to say that out of the whole series this is my favorite book. I loved the focus of the book being on Ethan for a change, and the added mystery of what was going on with him in addition to them trying to figure out how to save Gatlin. The story seemed very streamlines, and faster paced. By the end I was dying to read the next book. The official synopsis states:
Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena’s Claiming. Even Lena’s family of powerful Supernaturals is affected – and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What — or who — will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?
For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He’s being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn’t by Lena – and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself — forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn’t know why, and most days he’s too afraid to ask.
Sometimes there isn’t just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there’s no going back. And this time there won’t be a happy ending.
I have a confession to make. After reading the first book I kind of told several people this series wasn’t really worth their time. Now that I’ve read these two books, I change my mind. This is actually a very good series, and well worth trudging through Beautiful Creatures, if only to get to the next two books. If you are looking for an easy read during your vacation, definitely pick these up. I believe reading them when you have some down time is really the best way to read them. Otherwise, you may find it a little difficult to get into as I did originally.