Monday, March 1, 2010

Blog Book Discussion - Beautiful Creatures

This month's book: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

So settle yourselves in, grab your beverage of choice and feel free to voice your opinion. Remember that I'm all about positivity, so we're going over what we loved and then what we wish was different.

Things I Loved:

1. The setting. Set in the south, the setting actually became a character all its own. I found it charming and well-done, if not a little slow-paced at times (see #1 below).

2. The MC, Ethan Waite. Told from a male POV, this YA novel gave a different side to a heavily populated female genre. He was likable. He didn't do stupid things. He wasn't a complete geekazoid. He wasn't mean, rude, brash, or in your face. He was average. Likable. Willing to take risks. I really liked him. (Sheesh, should I use "like" some more? Word choice, Elana, word choice.)

3. The secondary characters. The caretaker. The girlfriend. The best friend. The aunts. They were all well-rounded, well-done, and not cliche. Since I'm a pretty character-driven reader, I enjoyed this.


What I Wish Were Different:

1. The length. Holy loooooong, my friends. I devoured the first 250 - 300 pages, and then I was ready for the climax. The problem? It didn't come for another 250 pages. I mean, I like characters, but I like things to happen to them even more.

2. Which brings me to the climax. I was a tiny bit disappointed. Because it didn't really end. And I'd read 557 pages and it didn't really end!

So yeah. That annoys me a little bit, but then I have to remember that I'm more of a stand-alone reader/writer and I want my books to be complete stories all by themselves. But this wasn't that story. It's painfully obvious that there's another book (or four).

Overall Rating: 3.5 stars

Have you read Beautiful Creatures? What did you think? If you haven't, I would recommend it as a standard YA paranormal novel.

58 comments:

Jonathon Arntson said...

:( :( :( :( :(

I just had to send this back to the library because I refused to start it and then not be done in time for my March is Classic event... Your review makes me sadder, but relieved I made that decision regarding the climax delay. I just finished GOING BOVINE and that took me TWO WEEKS, ugh. Totally worth it though.

Word Ver. Coodiphe. Dude, totally Repto's sidekick wannabe god friend!

ChristaCarol said...

I'd love to try this book out, but length is a huge factor for me. I have two kids, going to school, life is just crazy, and I have a horribly addictive personality. If I like it, my family may not see me for days based on that length. Can't do that :P Something to think about for a vacation though. Thanks for the review!

Georgiana said...

Nope, haven't read it, but I will recommend to my daughter!

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

It was interesting that it was in Ethan's POV. Different and well done. I really liked the story and I was in suspense at what she was and that whole concept (bought it not really knowing what book was about). I did feel it went on and on then resolved quick (I love a good series). I didn't mind the length. I really liked the interesting mix of characters and my fav's were actually not the mc's. I didn't start feeling for the mc's until halfway through.

It was worth reading! If there was a second book I would give it a read.

MeganRebekah said...

I pretty much agree with your all your points (especially about the ridiculously annoying non-ending) Nice review :)

Solvang Sherrie said...

Totally agree. The ending was too drawn out and it really pisses me off when I've invested that much time in a book and then they don't have the courtesy to wrap it up! I'm all for having a series, but don't leave me hanging. Makes me not even want to read the rest.

Jewel/Pink Ink said...

Haven't read it,but I agree, the length makes me think: "Okay, I will read it when I have some time..."

Love the cover. There's something old-fashionedly creepy about it.

Danyelle said...

It's on my library list. :)

Chantal said...

I'll be reading it soon, but now I've been forewarned. I love male protags and can't get enough of the stark differences in how the boy/girl minds work. Can't wait (but now I know).

Thanks!

Christina Lee said...

I must say I agree with your points. I love that it's from Ethan's POV (probably b/c I do male POV's too and so I was rooting for it). I think the love story was nice and the story line creative. Solid review, you!

Jennie Englund said...

It's so refreshing to get an honest book review on a blog.

I LOVE your truthfulness!

That said, no thanks for me on this one.

The better books I've read lately happen to be slim ones.

Interesting future post?

Kimberly Franklin said...

I loved this book! But I do agree with you on a couple of things. But still loved it. The aunts were hilarious!

Tess said...

Books this long scare me off. I think I have commitment issues or something. maybe I need therapy...

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I read it (bought it even) and agree with you, Elana, on all your points. The funny thing is the book came up at the LA SCBWI conference last year in one of the sessions. The editor had held it up and one guy commented that it was too long for a YA novel. The question of how long a YA novel should be came up.

The editor stated that it should be as long as it needs to be to tell the story. This book could be several hundred pages shorter and still tell the story. I enjoyed it, but I'll only read the next one if it's way shorter. I happened to enjoy reading long books just as much as short ones, but only if I have a hard time putting the book down. That wasn't the case here.

Elana Johnson said...

Jennie, definitely an interesting future post! :)

Chistina, you're right, the love story was nice. Very sweet.

Chantal, the male POV is pretty well-done. Not sure it illustrates the difference between boys and girls that much, but I liked it.

Danyelle, you'll like it.

Jewel, you'll definitely need some time to get through it. I, ahem, sort of started skimming when I got bogged down.

Sherrie, I know, right? Emailed you.

MeganRebekah, yes, non-endings are very Bad -- with a capital B.

Kerri, what would you have given it? I think higher than me...

ChristaCarol, yes, it'll take you a while to get through this book with that much going on!

Jonathan, I'm interested to hear your thoughts on GB. I, uh, couldn't even get through that one. Email me! And LOL! on the word verification!

Elana Johnson said...

Kimberly, what did you love about it specifically?

Tess, yeah, I'm not scared of books this long, but it makes me feel like they've got too much in them. Maybe because every book I've read that's this long shouldn't be.

Stina, interesting about SCBWI. And I so agree. Books should be as long as they need to be, and yes, this one could've lost about 200 pages and no one would've noticed. Thanks for weighing in!

VR Barkowski said...

Yeah, it was too long, but I fell in love with this book. As soon as I read the first few lines, it had me in it's clutches.

'There were only two kinds of people in our town. "The stupid and the stuck," my father had affectionately classified our neighbors. "The ones who are bound to stay or too dumb to go. Everyone else finds a way out." '

I grew up in a town like this. The setting is not only a character, but one I recognized. And this wasn't a come-on, this motif is repeated throughout the book.

Ethan's voice, although feminized, was compelling. I LIKED him. And open endings work for me as long as they don't suggest something negative then leave me hanging. BEAUTIFUL CREATURES worked for me.

Olivia Carter said...

I feel bad I didn't like this book. There were parts I liked. Similar to your point on the MC I liked that he was a good guy. There are almost NO "good guys" in YA lit lately. Kind of a "bad guy" with a heart of gold complex we have going on, but the MC was a likable, good guy.

And I don't mind long books, in fact I like them, if somethings going on. This book dragged and dragged and I'll be honest I never finished it. Sad, but true.

jessjordan said...

I snatched this one up when it was half-price on amazon, but i haven't read it yet b/c it's soooo long and b/c i know there's a sequel (or 2 or 3 or 4) coming. for whatever reason, i haven't been able to commit to sequels lately. but i still buy them, so I'm keeping publishing alive! :)

Robyn Campbell said...

Elana, a book this long screams OVERDONE to me. Is this what you think? I could not possibly squeeze any time out for a book this long.

Maybe I will read it in my retirement years while sitting on the veranda, darling. *snicker* Won't that be cool? Or will I be too old to enjoy it? Falling asleep too soon.

Hmmm, change of plans here. I might try reading it this summer, while sitting out by the pool. Sounds better. Though the sleep issue may be the same.

Great review Elana. Thanks. =)

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Elana at least a 4 or 4.5

Most books I have read recently has been action packed and hard to put down. This book was a nice break and took me longer than usual. I think it was the curiosity factor at what she really was that had me going. Once I found it out I might have skimmed (teensy bit).

I did feel the dad got a bad wrap. Sheesh can't even remember if that story line got summed up nicey nice. I don't think it did if I'm sitting here mulling over it.

MG Higgins said...

Totally, absolutely agree with your assessment of this book. Way too long. I finally finished it but that was with a lot of skimming (and I didn't feel like I missed a thing by skimming).

Elana Johnson said...

VR - I'm so glad you liked it! I loved those sentences too, thanks for reminding me of them. :)

Olivia, thanks for joining us. It was a bit draggy.

Jess, good for you supporting the publishing industry like that! You should read it. Who knows? You might totally love it!

Robyn, I honestly don't mind long books. I mean, I am totally shallow, but if there's stuff going on, I'll go with you. Think of Harry Potter. Those suckers are LONG. I just thought this delved into well, honestly, indulgent for the authors. I got the setting, the characters, and they were all well-done. Once that was established, I needed a plot to happen.

Kerri, I agree. I devoured the first 250 to find out what she was/what she had going on. After that... sort of got repetitious with not much going on. And I'm not sure the dad thing ever got resolved. So you're right about that too.

Lizzy Mason said...

Holy long is right! Definitely too long. Perhaps because of the two authors? I don't know. I like Ethan, and I believed in his relationship with Lena, but I had some real trouble with how the book ended. It was just so very convenient that it played out in such a way that there had to be a sequel (or series). I'm not ok with that.

And I said this in my own review on my blog, but I was so annoyed by how the southern accent was written! I did, however, love the aunts. No doubt about it, the characters were very well written.

And so, I may read the second book in the series, but if it's anywhere near as long as this one, perhaps not.

Bethany Mattingly said...

I haven't tried this one yet but it is on my list. Thanks for the review!

Karen said...

Looks good. I need to check it out.

Sara Tribble said...

I have this on my to read list. I know where you're coming from with the endings are short from what you expect, it sorta makes me sad. I wonder if our endings will do that to people? LOL!

Great review though, I've heard a lot of positives about this. When did you start doing book discussions? I love it! =D

lotusgirl said...

I read this a couple weeks ago. I enjoyed it mostly. I loved the Aunts. I would recommend it to my daughter, but there were times I wished that the story would move along and some of the southernisms were a bit over the top for me. I grew up in SC so I may have a different perspective on that kind of thing. It did get me thinking that my novel which is also set in SC might ought to include more local flavor.

Slamdunk said...

I appreciate your frank thoughts on the book. I can't remember a five-hundred page book that I liked.

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

i agree - it was good but it was long.

Hilary Wagner ~ Writer said...

I've been reading a lot of loooonnngggg books lately, so that doesn't scare me. I just started Drood, by Dan Simmons, which is like 8 gazillion pages, so 557 is nothing! I'm not a fan of books that don't have a clear cut ending. I think it's great to "hint" to a sequel, but I don't like it when the 1st book never really wraps up, as I feel even in a series, for the most part, the books should be able to stand alone. When the first doesn't clearly end, for me, it makes the sequel just Part II of the first, which is not really a sequel. ;)

xoxo -- Hilary

Abby Annis said...

I read it and enjoyed it, but I agree that it was a little on the long side. And there were times when I didn't think the male voice was believable. He just kept noticing things that a guy would never pay attention to. The ending could have been better too. Way too much was left open to be satisfying. All in all, I liked it and it kept me reading. Not sure if I'll read the sequel though.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I just finished the book last week while I was on vacation for a few days. I loved the small town in the South setting and that the POV was from a boy's instead of a girl's for a change. The length didn't bother me too much, perhaps because I was a little more relaxed than usual, but the middle maybe could have been cut a bit.

I loved all the characters they introduced. Even most of the minor ones had unique quirks.

One thing that really impressed me was how well the authors did at co-authoring it. I couldn't tell, which I think says a lot about how well they worked together.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I haven't read it yet, and I go back and forth trying to decide if I even want to. The reviews are so mixed. I probably won't for a while and then only when I don't have something else to read first.

Thanks for the review.

Medeia Sharif said...

I haven't read it yet, but it's on my wish list.

I didn't know that it took forever to climax. I've given up on other books because of this problem.

Tamika: said...

Sounds long. Too long for the self imposed deadline I have of March 31st.

This would have to be stacked on the reading list for a later date. Thanks for the review!

Stephanie Thornton said...

How sad! I hate to plow through a book only to find a dissatisfying ending. Especially in a book that long.

Kelly said...

I just won that book in a blog contest, so will be reading it soon! I will certainly give it a chance!

T. Anne said...

LOVE your honesty! You rock Elana!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have to say this teaches me a lot about my own work and not to prolong the action. I'm reading Under the Dome and there's action in he prologue!

ali said...

I love your honesty too. It's what I've *always* loved about you. I haven't read this yet, and I have to say the length is kind of prohibitive to me. I'll still read it, but man it'll take me forEVER. It's on my library hold list, so hopefully it'll come soon. ♥

Julie Dao said...

Unsatisfying endings are the WORST. Thanks for this honest review!

Krispy said...

Thanks for this short but insightful review! I was considering reading this, and I might still (length doesn't bother me too much), but I think I'll put it on the back-burner for now.

Elana Johnson said...

Lizzy – I think I’ll read it, but I don’t think I’ll buy it. I’ll wait for the library list.

Lotusgirl, I’ve heard that from Southerners. That it’s not exactly spot-on, but that they liked it well enough. For me, since I’m not from the South, I really enjoyed that part of it.

Hilary – I’m okay with long as well, but the ending has to be a real ending. I’m so with you on that.

Abby – I agree on the male voice. After a while, you forget he’s a boy because it’s not that strong. But I did really really like him.

Natalie, true that you couldn’t tell who wrote what. That was a plus.

Kelly, definitely give it a chance. As you can see, some people love it! Don’t let the length deter you, the book will be different for everyone. I just wish it were a bit shorter.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I haven't read it. Not a huge paranormal reader. I love long books, but I agree... there needs to be action or the story just stalls.

Cheree said...

I haven't read it. I wouldn't mind at one time, but the length is a big factor.

WritingNut said...

Do you want to know the weirdest thing ever? I JUST ordered this book (along with a few others) yesterday from Amazon!

Should be arriving tomorrow...

Voidwalker said...

I was somewhat disappointed by another novel's ending that she had written. It was a pretty good read, but the ending left me feeling like I had just finished another chapter, rather than ended the book with a climax.

Voidwalker said...

I was somewhat disappointed by another novel's ending that she had written. It was a pretty good read, but the ending left me feeling like I had just finished another chapter, rather than ended the book with a climax.

Kara said...

I haven't read it. Thanks for the review. I always wonder what the author is thinking when it goes so long and risks dragging!

Jessica said...

Never heard of this book or author. I don't mind a long book, but I do like standalones. It's really a pet peeve of mine to have to read one book and then get another to finish the story. :-)
Nice review!

Susan R. Mills said...

I haven't read it, but I don't like books that don't wrap things up. Even if it is the first in a sequel, I think it should be able to stand alone.

L.T. Elliot said...

I haven't read it yet so I have to bow out of this one. ;)

Diana Paz said...

It's on my tbr list. The long one. The ending will probably irritate, but I've heard enough good things that I want to give it a try :)

Whoa, word verification is satism lol. (More like, chuckle-to-self-out-loud).

Lisa and Laura said...

Lisa just picked this one up and sent me the prologue. What a hook!

We'll have to see what she thinks.

Thanks for the review!

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I started it, and it's on my nightstand but I haven't made it past page 80 (I think).
No that it's bad, it just didn't pull me in like I had hoped. I jumped into some other books but I will get back to BC one of these days.

Daisy Whitney said...

I loved the romance, that the story was told from a boy's POV, that it was literary, and that the girl had the powers!

Suzette Saxton said...

I really wanted to like this one. And I kept wanting to like it until about the halfway point. And then I gave up. Too long. Too confusing.

Must say, however, I found Ethan Waite immensely likable.

Thanks for this post!

Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

I liked this one but, I agree, too long. I kept starting and stopping. And the fact that I could stop without being dying to read it and finish, well, that tells you something.

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