Beautiful Darkness

Veni, Vidi, Read it. As promised last week, here is my review for Beautiful Creatures’ next chapter, Beautiful Darkness by the talented duo, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. The southern city of Gatlin is still hot and sleepy, but nothing is what it seems on the surface. Ethan and Lena are going through a rough patch after uncle Macom’s death. Ethan is completely unaware that Lena used the Book of Moons to bring him back from the dead and in the process Macom lost his life. Lena gradually slips into a morose state, and shuts Ethan off. While he still has vivid dreams, and visions, he can’t communicate with Lena anymore since she has stopped using Kelting, the mental communication they share against all odds. While Ethan gets separated from Lena, he gets closer to Macom through his visions, and he discovers, much to his surprise, that Lena’s uncle had been desperately in love with his mother, and that she loved him back. Despite Ethan has tried everything in his power to win back Lena, she has already decided that she is going Dark and starts hanging around with her Siren cousin Ridley, and a new guy, John Breed. John is an incubus with green eyes, a singular anomaly since  being a Dark creature his eyes should be gold, and he also has the ability of walking in plain daylight when he should be night bound. With Lena disappearing, Ethan is left to mend his broken heart with the help of the loyal Amma, and the ever present and equally loyal Link, who hasn’t gotten over Ridley. Joining the helpers’ rank is also Liv, a British teenager come to assist Mariam, Gatlin’s own Librarian for both Caster and human world. A multitude of minor characters spanning from Lucille, a siamese cat, to old aunts, and last but not least his mother’s presence, and Macom’s visions, all help Ethan along the road. As in the precedent post I’ll proceed now to reveal few key elements in the plot. So a SPOILER ALERT is on effect after the period. In this second novel Ethan gets intimately acquainted with Gatlin’ secret underground Caster tunnels while following Lena. The Caster tunnels defy every mundane rule about time and space and allow to travel miles in the span of mere minutes. Lena has left both Ethan and her family and accompanied by John and Ridley she uses the tunnels  searching for the Great Barrier, a mythical Caster utopia where she will be free to be whoever she chooses to be without having to pay the consequences. Ethan sees through vivid out of body experiences how Lena and John are getting closer, how they are planning to escape from everybody and everything to create a life for themselves. The realization that Lena doesn’t want him in her life anymore drives Ethan to consider Liv, who although is training under Mariam to become a Keeper, a neutral figure standing between worlds, is less complicated than Lena. Meanwhile Sarafine, Lena’s Dark Caster mother, helped by the most powerful Blood Incubus who ever lived, Abraham Ravenwood, summons Lena’s seventeenth Moon earlier to bind her to the Dark side once and for all.  Ethan embraces his role of Wayward, the one who knows the way, and overcome obstacle after obstacle to bring back the Lena he still loves. At the end Lena claim herself as neither good or evil, Dark or Light. She emerges from her ordeal with one green eye and one gold eye. She is Light and Dark at the same time. Lena, helped by Ethan, has defied the odds again, but another Moon is waiting for her around the corner. What I liked the most about this southern dark gothic is the absolute purity of the love story between two teenagers who are asked to decide about life and death, good and evil. Ethan and Lena are romantically involved without having the freedom of simply loving each other. The simple act of kissing gives Ethan a heart attack, anything else is going to kill him; and in fact it is exactly such an episode that pushes Lena over the edge convincing her that Ethan is better without her.  I particularly enjoyed the growth in the secondary characters as well. Ridley is a complex figure who goes from being a Dark Siren, who can force everybody to do her bids by simply licking on a lollipop, to be a mortal stripped by all her power. Link shows some backbone and fights Ridley back. Liv accepts to get involved in the fight between Dark and Light, humans and Casters, even if she knows that it is going to cost her chance to be a Keeper. Ethan’s mom, Lila, and Macom, tell their haunted love story through visions and apparitions, and although I already knew how it ended, I still hoped for something more between them. Amma and her ancestors also have a huge role in Beautiful Darkness, and she comes out lovely and scary at the same time. Ethan’s dad is finally recovering from a mourning that almost killed him. The city of Gatlin, with its bigot citizens, sweet teas sipped under porches, and southern cuisine and folklore, is the final character that ties everybody else together, and I ended loving it despite all its flaws. I am now left waiting for Lena’s eighteenth birthday. Who knows what it will happen?

Beautiful Darkness

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