I think I’ve become rather spoiled by the amazing authors I’ve read lately because this wasn’t my typical read and gush review. I actually had to take a few days to think about what I wanted to say and how I honestly felt about this book. In the end, I found myself standing on the line – I liked the story, enjoyed the characters, and definitely found some originality in the pages. But some of the mechanics kind of distracted me, which was frustrating, and ultimately, it affected my review.
This is one of those almost insta-love books. It’s not quite that, but the main characters, Ethan and Lena, definitely fall for each other rather quickly. Typical of teenage relationships. But there’s another element that I felt justified the quick transition from strangers to love struck teens: they shared the same dreams before they even met. Like experiencing some kind of supernatural déjà vu, they connect during their very first in-person meeting. But Ethan has no idea what he’s in for when he allows himself to fall for Lena. Certainly, he knows she’s strange, but he has no idea just how different she really is. And there’s more. During his relationship with Lena, Ethan learns that things aren’t quite what they seem in the sleepy town of Gaitlin. He also discovers the truth about Lena’s family and her impending birthday. They abandon the warning of their families, and for once, it’s the guy chasing the girl and helping her hold on to something worth fighting for.
Ethan is the main character of this story. I found it refreshing to read a romance book from a guy’s perspective. There aren’t a lot of those out there, and it’s really interesting to see the insight an author is able to give her male protagonist. Lena is your not-so-typical outcast who, despite the fact that things may soon change for her forever, loves Ethan, a boy she shouldn’t love. Other interesting characters worth mentioning include Link, the comedy relief and best friend; Amma, the superstitious hoo-doo-ish caretaker of Ethan; Macon, Lena’s uncle that is hiding more than you realize at first; and Ridley, the seductive dark cousin of Lena. These were the characters that stood out for me the most, and they were characters that I honestly connected with. There were others that played more minor parts, all of which were well put together (with the slight exception of Marian, the town librarian…she kind of talks in quotes and riddles a bit too much for my taste). Overall, believable, interesting characters that I enjoyed.
Unfortunately, there were some things I found very frustrating and distracting about this book. The first being the somewhat disjointed thought patterns throughout the book. I found myself confused sometimes, or bored because of redundancy. It felt like the thought-flow was just a bit mixed up at times.
The second issue I ran into had to do with the history. While I definitely felt like the history of Gaitlin and its characters needed to be shared, I also felt like there were some areas where the history overshadowed the story. There’d be whole sections of history that I’d end up skimming over because I felt like it’d just went on entirely too long.
Lastly, I felt like it took me forever to get into the book. It’s a slow read at first, and I had to fight to keep reading. I’d put it down several times, not really sure I even wanted to continue. Thankfully, the book did pick up pace nearly halfway through and I ended up being very glad that I’d continued. By the time I’d reached the last quarter of the book, I had a hard time putting it down.
Overall, I did enjoy the book, and I would recommend it. I’ve started the second book already, and though it’s a slow start just like the first one, I’m going to keep fighting for that page-turning section that I managed to find within book 1. Had there been fewer distractions, I definitely would have given Beautiful Creatures a higher rating because the story, and its characters, were that good.