SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #3
Series: Beautiful Creatures or Caster Chronicles
Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
# of Books: 4 (Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos, Beautiful Redemption)
There is a novella that takes place between books 2 & 3 called Dream Dark. There are also background story novellas that are to be read AFTER the series: The Mortal Heart.
This is one of my favourite series, which surprises even me when you look that the other series in my top 5–but of course there is an excellent reason why the Caster Chronicles is in my Top 3 Favourite Book Series of all time.
I am not a huge fan of witch-paranormal reads. They tend to bore me and the subject of “magic” and how it is often used bothers me. But with this series I never had that problem. Garcia and Stohl weave a rich and addicting story of magic, family and fate which makes each book impossible to put down. I liked the powers that are revealed and used throughout the series as they logistically make sense and it is easy to understand where, when and how they can and cannot be used.
Another thing is the pacing of the books. The story takes place in the South (and I have to say Garcia and Stohl have captured the South perfectly!) so understandably everything moves a little slower. Normally, this would bother me but I found with Beautiful Creatures (which is definitely the slowest book of the 4) I liked the pacing as it really built up the suspense for the climax and the big reveal. The rest of the series still has the Southern feel to it all, but the pacing is a little faster as more of the plot is revealed.
I also adored the characters of the series. Ethan and Lena were incredibly mature for high school students and I was never annoyed with them. They thought everything through and acted accordingly which I really enjoyed. The rest of the cast, like Link, Ridley and Amma–just to name a few–were absolutely fantastic and I was just as interested in their stories as I was with the main plot.
The series overall has a great plot. Each book builds upon each other as you learn about the various families’ pasts, the Caster World and the characters themselves. One thing I really liked was the fact that there are little clues or hints about what is going to happen along the way so everything connects. But I never found the books to be predictable which was great.
Beautiful Darkness does a great job of not falling into the trap of most sequels despite the fact that it contains many elements that most sequel books have. The plot in book 2 is just as strong, if not stronger, than Beautiful Creatures and I enjoyed book 2 a lot more than the first book.
I have to make a special mention of Beautiful Chaos. This is by far my favourite book of the series because as you read this book you discover how much you love the characters. Perhaps this is a spoiler warning but I balled my eyes out for this book–and I mean full out sobbing, tears running down my cheeks for an hour as I read it. I have only had that happen when reading one other book since (that book, for the curious, is Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare of the Infernal Devices Trilogy, #3) but all I can say is I am glad my roommates weren’t home to witness my midnight cry-fest 😉
Beautiful Redemption took me a while to get into. I think part of it was my hesitation to actually finish the series. I have followed it since its start so it was hard to say goodbye to some of my favourite book characters. But the last 150 pages really pick up. I recall being slightly disappointed with the ending (not enough closure for my liking) but overall, it was a great ending to a fantastic series.
UPDATED (May 17/15): I randomly stumbled upon The Mortal Heart on my library’s website and HAD to read it. When this revelation of the past was revealed in the original series, I was floored. It was unexpected and I wanted to know more and this novella is the answer to that. I wish it was a full length novel because it would be such a great story, but in the end this was the perfect length and answered nearly all (what can I say? I’m greedy) my questions. It reminded me how much I love this series and all its layers and I can’t wait to read the other two novellas I think they have planned!
As I said before, one of the best book series I have ever read. If you are looking for a series that is rich in Southern culture, pick this one up. It is unlike any of the other “magic” series out there and has a deep gothic feel that very few books do nowadays and great lead and supporting characters.
Similar Reads: Nevermore by Kelly Creagh (Nevermore Trilogy, #1)
Synopsis for Beautiful Creatures (from Goodreads):
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.