I am so excited to do this book and movie review! After finally picking up the first beautiful creatures book after ages of been intrigued by its AMAZING cover I was not disappointed and read it and the first sequel, Beautiful Darkness, in a matter of days. Now Amazon has finally delivered the last two in the series I am itching to get started, so expect another review coming up soon! As usual summary 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”
The first thing that I loved about this book was the male narrator. Especially in YA romance-fantasy type books the narrator is almost exclusively female so getting that guy perspective felt fresh and original and I am not ashamed to admit that I have a massive literary crush on Ethan. He may be my perfect boy. He’s moral, loyal, has good taste in books and wants to get out of his dead end town!
The second thing I loved about this book was the gothic southern setting which has completely given me wanderlust for the deep south. I loved it. Gaitlin was described beautifully and the Ravenwood house seems like the coolest place to live.
I loved Lena. I felt that she was a very realistic teenage girl – she wanted to fit in and be normal – but also had these extraordinary powers that made it nearly impossible. Everybody at some points feels left out and I really related to Lena’s sense of loneliness. The relationship between Lena and Ethan seemed real as well – just with added complications of the whole caster thing!
As for other characters, Amma is amazing and hilarious. Link is loyal to a fault and Ridley, Lena’s dark caster cousin was just written to perfection – think about the coolest girl you know then add magic! Instant Ridley.
I really liked the mystery of the curse’s origin and I loved the flashbacks to the American Civil War. I am a history geek and being English I ashamedly don’t know much about American history.
Beautiful Creatures is often compared to Twilight. Personally, I think that it blows Twilight out of the water. The main characters are well developed and distinct from each other, the female lead is a realistic teenage girl, the caster mythology is well researched and the writing is incredible. I couldn’t put it down and I am so excited to read the next books in the series.
Now, as you might have guessed from my incredibly fangirly review I was SO excited to see the movie. Now I am not one of those book purists that get mad if a single word is cut out of the movie, and although I like to see some correlation between books and films I kind of look at them as two distinct art forms. Films are interpretations of novels. So that is my book/movie philosophy. On with the film review.
First of all, the cast were brilliant. I don’t think there was one character that I felt was miscast and for me, Viola Davis really stood out as Amma (I wish she’d had a bigger role though). Alden Ehrenreich was perfect in his interpretation of Ethan, I feel like he got his character perfectly and I thought he added some great comic moments throughout the movie. Alice Englert was also great as Lena and Emma Thompson was far from Nanny McPhee as Sarafine.
The film also captured the whole gothic southern soul of the book perfectly. I loved the Ravenwood house, in particular those gates. The gothicness is as much a character as the actual people!
I wish the plot had moved a bit faster, and that there had being a little more focus of Lena’s persecution at school. I also wish that the back story with Ethan’s mum’s death and his dad’s subsequent depression was delved into a bit deeper and although I know she was cut for time constraints I wish Marian was in there!!
Now the ending of the movie was a LOT different to the book. I’m not going to spoil it, but I was very surprised. However, this doesn’t mean the ending was bad – in fact I really enjoyed it.
Overall I really loved the Beautiful Creatures movie, its a great companion to the books and I really hope they adapt Beautiful Darkness as well. If you haven’t seen it I thoroughly recommend it!