Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Bout of Books and Beautiful Creatures

If you've been keeping up with my posts, you know that this week I am participating in Bout of Books 16, a week long readathon.  This is a pretty nifty event - and this is the first one I've participated in.  The idea of Bout of Books is just to read more during one week than you normally do.  Sounds fun, right?!  It is!  So, this is a little Bout of Books Update for Day 2! 

Books finished:
*Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.  I technically started this one a day or two before Bout of Books started.  But since I finished it during the event, I am the pages I read yesterday and last night. 

*Lumberjanes Vol. 1 - I have been hearing so much buzz about Lumberjanes.  Yesterday, I lucked out and found Volume 1 on my local libraries digital checkout site - so I got it on my kindle and read the whole volume right away.  They are pretty short, so they are quick to read.  I don't know that I'll right a full on review for this one.  I'll just give you a condensed version: It was funny, the characters were fantastic, and this is a book I would rate as MUST READ!

Total Pages Read so far: 501

Now, for the next part of this blog post: My review of Beautiful Creatures!  There may be a few spoilers, so if you haven't read the book yet, you may want to stop reading this post right now.  If you have read the book, or you don't mind a few minor spoils, continue on.

"There were only two kinds of people in our town.  'The stupid and the stuck,' my father had affectionately classified our neighbors."

So starts the book Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.  I was intrigued about this book series, but had put off reading it for a while.  I finally picked up a copy of this book at the library.  Although the book did have its faults, the story was decent enough that I put those aside. 

The premise of the book is that Ethan falls, hard and quick, for the new girl in town, Lena Duchannes.  Lena is a Caster, and on her 16th birthday, she will be claimed by either Light or Dark.  Many people, herself included, believe Lena will go Dark.  I won't say how that particular scenario pans out, but I will say that what happens is a bit of a surprise. 

A few things that I did think were kind of odd were:

*Everyone in Gatlin calling the Civil War the "War of the Northern Aggression."  It wasn't all the North's fault. 

*The way the cop in town was always and only referred to as Fatty, as if that were his name.  The people of Gatlin clearly don't like fat people, and it makes me wonder if they authors feel the same way.

*Name changes - throughout the book, we learn that Casters don't know their real, actual name until they turn 16 and get claimed.  So, until then, they are called by a "fake" name.  Lena, for example, is not really Lena - that's just what she goes by until her 16th birthday.  It gets a little confusing, too, because Macon and Ama are being referred to by those and different names throughout the book.  Most people call Macon and Amma by those names, but they call each other Melchizedek and Amarie.  It just seems odd to me.

I appreciated the magical aspect of this book.  I think the authors did a good job of making the scenes with the locket and flashbacks feel real and wonderous to Lena and Ethan.  It was a good way to give them and the readers a glimpse into their past.  There was also a good element of... fear for what would happen to Lena if she went Dark or if her mother found her.  (See, there's this rule in the caster world that kids don't live with or meet their parents until they are 16 and get claimed.  Lena has never met her mother, and for a long time, she thought her mother was dead.)  I think the authors did a good job of putting in some mystery about that aspect of the Casters lives. 

It was hard to decide who my favorite character in the book is.  I think they were all pretty well- rounded and distinct though.  Many reviewers have said that they think Ethan would not really talk about clothes as much as he did, but having grown up around guys who really really care about their appearances, I would disagree. I think sometimes guys think about clothes and stuff, and to imply they don't just because they are guys is sexist.

I would recommend this book to others, but would give it 3.5 stars at best.  Read it with the knowledge that it will likely just be for fun without having to think too hard.

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