Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, # 1)Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

My rating: ★★☆☆☆

I'm not going to lie--I read Beautiful Creatures for one reason and one reason only: I've promised myself to always (or whenever possible, at least) read a book before I see its movie adaptation.

As I'm sure everyone knows by now, the Beautiful Creatures movie is going to be released within the next two weeks. I may or may not be going to see it in theatres, but I'm sure I'll see it eventually even if I do end up waiting for the DVD release. So I requested a copy from the library and finally sat down to read this behemoth.

Seriously, Beautiful Creatures is over five hundred pages long. That doesn't sound like much, does it? Not when the A Song of Ice and Fire books creep past a thousand page, Harry Potter got into the eight hundreds, and even the nonsense that was Twilight reached past four hundred (IIRC).

But here's the catch. Harry Potter at over eight hundred pages felt short because a lot happened, and I was emotionally invested in the characters. A Game of Thrones at over eight hundred pages felt long because while there was a lot happening, I didn't have an emotional investment in the characters prior to reading. Twilight felt bloated because nothing ever happened, and the characters weren't exactly entrancing.

So on the scale of Harry Potter to Twilight, Beautiful Creatures was just a tiny notch above Twilight. There was more to the plot than just the instalove, but the interesting elements were few and far between. And when they showed up, they didn't meet my expectations or capture my interest as I felt they should have.

Beautiful Creatures at its core has an interesting idea. Dark versus Light Casters? That's cool. A family curse that removes one's ability to choose one's own faction? That's potentially awesome. Focusing on a boring, one dimensional teenage romance instead of the Dark versus Light, family curse business? That's not cool. Counting down to a the pivotal scene throughout the book, then failing to deliver said pivotal scene? That's so lame it feels like a scam to get me to buy the next book. Killing off the only character I gave a rat's ass about? Yeah, I think I'm done here.

So. Here's what it all boils down to for me: the idea of Beautiful Creatures had potential. The execution was severely lacking--to the point that I felt like I was reading Twilight all over again, which is a point you never want to reach.

But I have not lost hope for the movie.

Have you seen the second trailer for it? Notice anything (besides the massive spoilers)? You should! The movie clearly gives Sarafine a bigger role (and after all, who would cast Emma Thompson and not give her as much screentime as possible?), and I'm hoping that it's a sign that those who made it were willing to rip this thing apart to get at that potential. I'm hoping they have the finesse to take the sprinklings of great ideas scattered about this plot, significantly reduce the presence of the creepy, perma-constipated looking actor playing Ethan, significantly increase the roles of Jeremy Irons and Emma Thompson, and build this up into something awesome.

Finally, on the subject of sequels. I really don't see myself reading any more of this series. I will read Beautiful Darkness if and only if the Beautiful Creatures movie is amazing and Beautiful Darkness gets a movie, too. Otherwise... I really just don't care.

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