Tuesday, December 23, 2014

'Beautiful Creatures' by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl Book Review

Beautiful Creatures? Beautiful writing.

This is a lovely book - one could almost say spellbinding - a combination of young adult paranormal fiction and Southern Gothic.I saw the movie in June 2013, but since my morning commute now allows me to listen to audiobooks, I checked this one out from my local library.

Some thoughts.

- Sixteen-year-old boys, please be more like Ethan Wate. Play basketball and keep books under your bed. Return to your favorite classics again and again for the comfort of familiarity. Care what your friends think, but not all that much. Get your girlfriend a birthday present when she says she doesn't want one.

- Marian Ashcroft and Lilah Evers Wate, please be real. I would love to read their history books - and to explore the secret underground Caster library.

I like the name Lilah Evers, and it is somewhat similar to the name of Harry Potter's deceased mother, Lily Evans. I wonder if that was an intentional homage.

- Ethan isn't an orphan, though. His father, Mitchell, is alive, and he's clinically depressed. Ethan - realistically for a 16-year-old narrator - refers to him as "crazy." However, as adults we know that people with depression don't deserve to be stereotyped or stigmatized because of their illness, and we should try to back away from using the c-word. People who have serious mental illnesses have enough to deal with without the burden of dismissive labels.

- It's also realistic that Ethan would be somewhat dismissive of Charlotte, because like all teenagers he's been encultured to think that "pretty" means "skinny." The Charlottes of the world should know there is nothing wrong with being fat, though. People - fat, skinny, and in between - don't need to be shamed because of our body types.

Charlotte makes some unsavory choices because she's trying to fit in with the popular girls; Emily is just a bitch. I can't believe my sweet, sassy Dhampir - Zoey Deutsch, a.k.a. Rose Hathaway - played that awful Emily in the movie.

- I don't remember Uncle Macon being an incubus in the movie? But fortunately he's not the sexual kind, like the incubi of traditional mythology. In fact, he seems to be repulsed by the whole idea of sex. Is Macon Ravenwood an asexual character? Asexual people need positive media representation too - although I do think incubi are technically demons, so I don't know how "positive" this portrayal actually is.

I myself do not identify as asexual, but I understand that asexuality is a normal variation under the human sexuality umbrella.

- Was Boo Radley in the movie?

Also, kudos to Garcia and Stohl for the tons of literary references they worked in. Perhaps they are the real-life Lilah and Marian - except, y'know, neither one of them is a ghost.

- The next time I go to the movies, I would like to try mixing Milk Duds with my hot popcorn, a la Lena. (Unlike Lena, though, I like "butter.")

- The ending of the book is very different from the ending of the movie. Lena doesn't leave Ethan. Instead there's a vague but ominous warning that all Lena has really done is put off her Claiming until her 17th birthday, buying Lena and Ethan an additional year together.

- I typically read one YA series a year. In 2012 it was Hunger Games, in 2013 it was Divergent, and this year it's been Vampire Academy. I think I would like to read Beautiful Darkness (the second book in the series) and its subsequent volumes in 2015.

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Shift by Madison Dunn. $8.99 from Smashwords.com
I'm not sure why it happens, but when I focus just right, I can slow time. Things around me become lighter somehow, and I almost feel the tiny particles of energy spinning inside of them. The thing is, having the ability to transform the world around you isn't all it's cracked up to be -- especially when you are running from the Valencia without any deodorant.

1 comment:

Cait @ Paper Fury said...

I would like to read/watch this too! I've heard good things...and, omg, Ethan Wate sounds amazing with liking to read and stuff! Not with other things, with the calling depression crazy and stuff. But like you said, that's probably realistic. *nods*
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