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Beautiful Creatures (2009)

Beautiful Creatures (2009)

Book Info

4.07 of 5 Votes: 4
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0316042676 (ISBN13: 9780316042673)
little, brown and company

About book Beautiful Creatures (2009)

Phew, I am so glad that's over. I can't believe I actually made it through all those pages, I'm sure I wouldn't have done if I hadn't set myself the challenge of reading every monthly book club read chosen by one of my groups. Ugh. Seriously, just ugh. I have read some dismal books in the young adult paranormal genre, books that have been boring or annoying or have offended me, but I think I can honestly say this is up there with some of the worst books I've ever read. Everything about this book aggravated me in one way or another, from the ridiculous length of it to the male protagonist who's about as convincingly male as estrogen pills. I couldn't even concentrate on the story for the most part because I kept picturing Ethan as a thirty-something woman.There are some things I'm going to rant about that may not have bothered me several years ago before Twilight came along, waving its cliche banners, and I appreciate that some people might find this slightly unfair seeing as this novel was released four years before the saga*. Well, unfortunately, I can only tell you what I thought of this book now, not speculate on what I might have thought if I'd read it a few years earlier. And, this fact aside, other things have nothing to do with when it was written or its similarities with other novels that have since been released from this genre. Like the fact that Ethan pisses me off and is a terrible attempt at writing a teenage male voice. So, let's get the whole "this is like every other paranormal young adult book" thing out of the way. There were one or two additions to the witchy aspect of it that felt somewhat original but the general pattern of this novel with the romance and the carbon copy characters was predictable and, therefore, boring. No one likes a boring read and it's especially annoying when the book is nearly 600 pages long. Shall I check the usual paranormal YA criteria off for you? Small town... check. New girl... check. Boring holier-than-thou protagonist... check. Everlasting love after a very small amount of time... check. I don't know if this counts as instalove but it certainly counts as instaweirdobsession, full of laughable musings like "there's just something about her that makes me know it's meant to be" (hopefully, it's obvious that this is not a direct quote).I thought that this book might be a little more original because of the uncommon choice to have a male protagonist, but everything is still exactly the same. Now, though, instead of a girl-next-door type, you have a boy-next-door type who sails along in his faultlessness, constantly comparing himself to the less intelligent and morally-questionable beings he must interact with every day. Ethan even treats us to a rare bout of what I can only call male slut-shaming; he criticises his male peers for having one-track minds and wanting to get off with girls when he is looking for something more meaningful... good for him, but why does that make him any better than the rest? He is actually an exact male version of many paranormal YA protagonists who criticise the popular girls for being more relaxed with their sexuality. Not only that, but he also insults the other members of his Southern US town. The novel plays heavily on Southern stereotypes and portrays almost everyone but Ethan as being incredibly stupid. Ethan sneers at everyone, he is obviously smarter, has his morals in the right place and is just downright awesome in comparison. He makes it no secret from the very first chapter that he considers himself above them and it made me hate him before the story had even started going anywhere. He even goes so far as to announce that he doesn't have an accent because he was raised by intelligent people... I have two words for him: HATEFUL SNOB. Or FUCK YOU. Either works.And predictable. This was Predictable with a capital P. We don't even need to meet Lena or even hear her name to realise that she is the one Ethan will end up with. As soon as one of Ethan's classmates asks "have you seen the new girl?" and Ethan begins to wonder if she'll be hot, we know from that point where the whole thing is heading. Sometimes, I'll admit, there's some fun to be had watching a couple angst it out together, even though you know they'll be together eventually, but before we even knew her name? I can't even say that I stopped caring because, truthfully, I never even started. This whole book was just... not good. Not good at all.

Poop! Crap! Garbage! Crap!Wow.Like, wow.I never thought I'd try reading this book again. Last time I made an attempt at it, I was a lot stupider and I kind of disgraced myself, so I tried to erase this book from my existence.It worked fine, until a few weeks ago my friend came up to me and went all teenybopper on my ass, telling me how ZOMG amazing this book is. I told her I'd tried to read it before and thought it was absolute shit, so she pulled out an Uzi and splattered my brains fifty feet down the QEW.No, I'm kidding. But she did go totally stonking nuts and practically burst into tears. I was like, what the hell is wrong with you? And she said she was going to bring me her copy of the book and that she was going to make me read it, or else.Friend, if you're reading this, go to hell. Just...yeah. Just go to hell.This book is probably the biggest piece of overwritten, sniveling drivel I've read since Halo, and if you know me but at all you'll understand how bold that statement is. This book is a hot mess of the worst kind: boring, stupid and heinously written.Ethan is painful as a narrator. Honestly? If you don't know how to write convincingly as a young male, don't do it. Pretty simple advice. The narrative voice in this book is just so shockingly bad, reading it is like eating cellophane.It leaves a really bad taste in your mouth.Okay, look. Level with me here. I don't know what it's like to live in the South, nor do I have any particular desire to find out - but I'm pretty sure it's nothing like this. The setting in Beautiful Creatures is one big, fat stereotype and basically, it makes all Southern Americans seem like petty, bitchy, closed-minded, bigoted lumps of waste - and what an insult that is. If you need any evidence just check out Ethan when he says that he doesn't have an accent because he was raised by educated people. What the heck? He practically spells it out that all Southerners are STUPID, and spends about 90% of the time lamenting about how he's too good for the town and all the people in it, and how predictable everyone is, and for God's sake, it gets really fucking annoying after a while. You know those paranormal romances like Halo or the House of Night series? You know, the ones with narrators so painfully inane that it makes you want to put your finger up your nose and into your brain, and swirl it around? Ethan is worse. He is worse because he's not even fun to laugh at. We all got a chuckle out of Bethany's power of love and Zoey making out with a teacher and Juliette from Shatter Me announcing her undying love to Adam on page 60, but I kid you not when I say there is no comedic value to Beautiful Creatures. None at all. It's like a six-year-old drawing Star Wars battleships who takes himself way too seriously.Ethan's wet rag of a love interest is absolutely no different. Lena is a walking cliche, in every sense of the word. She has these l'awesome bottomless green eyes, black hair and a CRESCENT MOON on her cheek. You gotta love this new subsect of paranormal romance, where people think making the girl the creature of the night automatically morphs the book into a new, exciting, fresh and empowering read. Well, it doesn't. This book proves that. It proves that you can take a concept that might have been interesting and cool (new take on witches; I get it, and I like the idea) and bludgeon it so hard with a blunt, keyboard-shaped object that by the time you're finished, it's nothing but an unintelligible mangle of bloody sinew that is so horrifically unappetizing that you have to hide it from yourself to avoid triggering old psychological pain. All this might have almost been okay had there been a shred of realism or even plain old chemistry to Ethan and Lena's relationship, but the whole thing is a contrived car crash of a romance. I cared so little for both of the characters and the stories behind them that I had absolutely no second thoughts upon putting this book down and never picking it back up again.Look, let's be real here. This book is absolutely nothing special. It's full of the usual instalove and deflated mythology and flat narration. It's pretty standard YA fare - which is incredibly sad, because this book is straight-up crap in every way. I wish I could find something good about it, but to be honest it is probably right up there as one of the worst YA books I have ever read. It was absolutely terrible.finis

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Ugh, another overhyped paranormal YA creation. When will I learn not to buy into hype? Just like so many readers, I gave into the favorable internet buzz and opened the book with an expectation of it to be something special. Unfortunately, "Beautiful Creatures" was just another painfully boring overlong dud.Having finally finished this book with a high level of irritation and disappointment, I decided to check out the favorable reviews to see what people liked about the story. Turns out the most appreciated aspects of the book were: an original love story told from a male POV (compare it to those other romances told from whiny girls' POVs), truly original paranormal lore, and small town Southern setting. I personally found none of it particularly striking. Allow me to elaborate:The story follows same old dead-beat formula: a paranormal/human pairing, uncovering of the "mysterious" partner's true nature, teens drawn to each other for some unknown reason (even my hope for some kind of reincarnation "twist" didn't quite work out), constant i-can't-be-with-you-cause-it's-dangerous back and forth, the inability to "be together" physically...Male POV is also not successful. I am pretty sure Garcia and Stohl haven't spoken to a teenage boy in years, because I am yet to meet one who is nice to a fault, never has any lustful thoughts, fond of describing his GF's clothes, reads poetry, loves to spend time with his senile great-aunts, and likes to use Scarlett O'Hara's favorite dress style in casual narration. Goodness, Ethan, do you want to borrow my lipstick? I think the book would have been better if told in 3rd person, at least the writers' inability to channel a voice of a 16-year old boy would have been somewhat concealed.As for Southern small town feel, I am pretty sure even Charlaine Harris writes it better in her trashy vampire books. In "Beautiful Creatures" it never rings true and is based on old tired cliches of narrow-mindedness and drawl.But even all these issues aside, the book is simply a too long, often pointless concoction. Yes, the world of Casters (witches) is fairly new, but it is never too interesting or believable and can't justify the book's 600-page length.I am still willing to give the writers some credit for their apparent effort to write a better book than the majority of YA writers, with a more intricate back story and better developed characters, but for me personally this book was just an excruciatingly long and boring read. The chances of me ever reading the sequel are non-existent. Note to those who loved the book and feel compelled to leave me comments explaining to me why I am wrong disliking it: Spare me, I know exactly why you loved this book. This is only my opinion and I have a right to express it. I don't go to your 5-star reviews and try to convince you you are wrong liking it. Move on to your next paranormal romance instead. I have a handy list for you of the books you are sure to love:Shiver, Hush, Hush, Evermore, Fallen, Marked, Blue Bloods, Jekel Loves Hyde, Personal Demons, Angel Star, HaloYou can thank me later.

SUN, APRIL 18 at 2 pm - Meet Kami & Margie at Borders Glendale (CA)RSVP here: Creatures is exactly what I aspire to be as a human being: pretty, funny, and smart all in one package. Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl have written a seamless and utterly absorbing tale of a cursed romance: a Mortal boy who falls for a Caster girl in a small Southern town. Meaningful thoughts about love, loyalty, and prejudice unfold from this intricately parsed novel: those who love books will delight in the literary references, those who love love will swoon over the star-crossed couple, and those who love good writing will greedily devour every carefully chosen word.Better yet, get the print version and the audio, both. The music and sound effects (particularly for the dream sequences) in the audiobook version add yet another dimension to the Gothic atmosphere the authors have built.Another book for the loaner shelf*.- - -12/7/09 observation... BC is on about 73% more to-be-read shelves as a week ago. Let's see what # they hit next week (currently 1733 with 128 currently-reading)12/9/09 watching it... up by 100 tbrs in 2 days!12/11/09 I think it'll hit 2000 tomorrow. Man, I love watching things trend. Like birdwatching.
—Alethea A

It's not often that a book has me cringing, wanting to throw it down in frustration and never to return to it again. Unfortunately, Beautiful Creatures was written so badly and unconvincingly so that's what I would have done, if not for a reading challenge I was trying to complete. You'd think such an interesting and unique premise about witches and warlocks would be difficult to get wrong. Unfortunately, the book was written in such a bland, boring manner that it failed to grab me at all. Not to mention that some of the writing is just plain bad. It was contradictory, involved one too many broken sentences, and was rather confusing at times, making it a chore to understand what the author is trying to get at. Unlike most YA books, it is written in the point of view of a teenage male, but the authors trying to put themselves in a teenage boy's shoes mostly involved talking about how hot some cheerleaders were at the school. There's barely any character development and you're just meant to accept that Ethan just falls in love with Lena, because he's been dreaming about her all of this time.The plot (or lack thereof) just seemed to drag on and on forever. So much so that at the end, I wondered why I bothered wasting my time on reading this book when there are so many other more interesting things to do. Also at the most crucial moment when the plot is meant to take off, the authors throws us into a random, unimportant, and rather frustrating side track in the form of a surprise party. Who cares about the other school kids when you are meant to be finding out what happens to Lena after ramping this up for the ENTIRE book? Save yourself the trouble, and skip this title. Check out Happy Indulgence for more reviews!
—Jeann (Happy Indulgence)

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