If ever a book deserved a blentry all to itself, it is Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia. This book is the sequel to the tween hit Beautiful Creatures, that took us deep into the gothic South (Georgia, to be exact). I would not say that I am an avid fan of young adult fiction, but there are certain books in the genre that I have read that I have truly enjoyed and this series falls smack dab into the middle of that category. The books, while geared toward the young adult genre, truly could pass muster in the world of adult fiction.
The story follows Lena, a sixteen year old girl with unique abilities who comes to a small Georgia town to live with her uncle, Macon Ravenwood, and Ethan Waite, the local goodboy, who falls hard for Lena. The relationship between Lena and Ethan, their families’ tangled history, and the deadly decision that Lena must make are the focus of Beautiful Creatures. Seriously, run out to your local bookstore and buy it. NOW. What follows, is going to contain spoilers from the second book….read at your own risk!
Beautiful Darkness picks up right where we left off in Beautiful Creatures, as Lena is forced to deal with the aftermath of her decision to not make a choice between being a “light” and “dark” Caster. Lena believes it is this decision that resulted in the death of her beloved Uncle Macon, the only family member who had truly loved her and been there for her. Lena, depressed and confused, pulls farther and farther away from her true love, Ethan, who is confused and left alone to figure out what is going on. The action begins when Lena’s “dark” cousin Ridley comes back into town, in what we are led to believe is an attempt to pull Lena over to the dark side of the Ravenwood family. Ethan, determined to save Lena from Ridley and herself, sets out with the help of his best friend on a path that will test not only his intellect, but what he knows of his own family history. As in, Ethan’s family has a whole helluva lot more to do with the otherworld that Lena’s family inhabits, from mapping the tunnels to “keeping” the secrets of the Casters’ lives.
Interwoven with the compelling story of Lena, Ethan, and their centuries old families, is a background of southern Gothic lore, which is FASCINATING. The glimpses we get of the deep South and it’s rich history took me back to “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and made me want to immediately book a vacation to the south. The well-written, and uniquely crafted story between Lena and Ethan, and the world they inhabit, adds to the rich tapestry that is this book. I cannot praise this book highly enough. Read it. Now. I am gloriously happy that this series will be continuing on, and is part of a 4-book deal with the publishers. Unfortunately, I now have to wait until Fall 2011 to get my hands on the third book. Ungh! Truly, that is torture.