Beautiful Creatures (novel)
Cover image for the novel
|Author||Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl|
|Genre||Young adult, fantasy, romance|
|Followed by||Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos, Beautiful Redemption|
Beautiful Creatures is an American young adult novel written by authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl and the first book in the Caster Chronicles series. The book was published on December 1, 2009, by Little, Brown, and Company. In the UK, Beautiful Creatures is published by Penguin Books. On January 3, 2013, a new edition of the novel was published, featuring images from the movie on the cover. The book was written in 12 weeks, inspired by a dare (a bet with 7 kids the authors knew) and was never intended to be published.
- Ethan Lawson Wate is the 16 year old narrator of the novel. He is a high school boy from the fictional town of Gatlin, South Carolina. Though he is not a Caster himself, he somehow has the ability to protect Lena from powerful magic and Dark Casters. He and Lena share a connection called Kelting, which lets them communicate telepathically, even if they are miles away.
- Lena Duchannes is a Caster who appears in Ethan's dreams before moving to Gatlin. She must be claimed for either Light or Dark on her sixteenth birthday.
- Sarafine Duchannes, Lena's mother and the strongest Dark Caster. She tries to convince Lena to become a Dark Caster.
- Macon Melchizedek Ravenwood, is Lena's uncle. He is an Incubus who chooses to live off dreams rather than blood. While characters in the book compare him to Boo Radley, he is described by the writers in an interview with Boys with Books, as an "Atticus Finch of badasses".
- Genevieve Duchannes was the Caster who caused the curse in Lena's family by trying to bring her dead fiancé, Ethan Carter Wate, back to life using the Book of Moons. She was likely a Natural.
- Ethan Carter Wate was Genevieve's fiancé who died when he was shot during the great burning of Gatlin. Genevieve tried to bring him back to life by using the Book of Moons, which led to her turning Dark. However, Ethan was only revived for a few moments before dying again.
- Ridley Duchannes is Lena's cousin and a Dark Caster. She can manipulate people using a lollipop.
- Mitchell Wate, Ethan's father, is a reclusive writer deep in mourning for his wife.
- Amarie "Amma" Treadeau is a Seer who is like a grandmother to Ethan. She can communicate with her dead family, whom she calls the Greats. Amma is known throughout Gatlin for her culinary skill.
- Marian Ashcroft is the librarian of the Mortal and Caster libraries. She was the best friend of Ethan's late mother, Lila Evers Wate, and has known Ethan since he was born. Though she greatly rues it, she cannot help Ethan when he is in danger because she is a Caster librarian and is bound by their rules.
- Hunting Phineas Ravenwood is a ruthless incubus and Macon's brother. Unlike Macon, he feeds on blood, which gives him a more youthful appearance.
Mother She dies while Ethan is young and is later revisited
The story takes place in a small town in Gatlin, South Carolina with a boy named Ethan Wate. The town isn’t one of those storybook towns you read about in fairytales, it’s is as Ethan describes it, isolating and suffocating because everyone knows everyone. Ethan dreams of escaping after high school to the farthest college away he can get to. Ethan’s mother was killed in a car accident and after that his father became a withdrawn, absente dad, holed away in his study. Though Ethan does have the company of his housekeeper Amma, who had been there to raise his dad when he was growing up. Amma has the gift of foresight, and she is in some ways the town considers her the modern day witch. Ethan had repeatedly had a dream about this girl falling, and he tries to catch her but is always just slightly out of reach. When he wakes up, he smells rosemary and lemons, and on his iPod he hears the song, “Sixteen Moons” a song he has never ever heard up until the dreams started. Later that day at school Ethan meets a girl named Lena Duchannes, she’s the new girl, who is the granddaughter of the infamous Macon Ravenwood. Macon is a reclusive, mysterious owner of the Ravenwood Manor, an grand old plantation house from the times of the civil war, maybe even before then. At school, Ethan suddenly hears “Sixteen Moons” and follows the sound to a music room where he finds Lena playing the song on the cello. He recognizes her as the girl he has dreamt about saving and is shocked to smell rosemary and lemon. He cautiously approaches Lena and tells her about his dream he’s been having about her. She denies knowing about anything, when Ethan tries to point out the scratches on her hand coinciding with the dream. Over the next week Ethan slowly gains Lena’s trust by supporting her when students start teasing and bullying her. They end up getting close and making a real connection, even so close that they start to develop the ability to communicate telepathically, no joke. Lena later tells Ethan that her whole family, including her have special powers, referring to them as caster, originated from their ability to cast spells. Ethan eventually learns to accept and even appreciate this fact after a while, because it’s a part of Lena. Ethan meets a girl who approaches him at the convenient shop and introduces herself as Lena’s cousin named Ridley, who takes Ethan to Ravenwood manor. Ridley’s real motives to taking Ethan to the manor is to sneak in and gain access to the house. Ridley becomes angry at her family and declares that Lena will soon be “claimed” on her sixteenth birthday. Lena knows Ridley speaks the truth. The worst part of it all is that she will not have any say over if she will be claimed by the dark or the light. Ethan ends up losing consciousness but not before he hears Lena tell Ridley to leave her “boyfriend” alone, or else. Ethan wakes up in Lena’s bedroom, and Lena explains to Ethan that she can’t be with him because she may turn dark and lose the ability to love anyone, or anything. Ethan tells Lena he will love her anyways no matter what she becomes and that he will try to save her from her fate. At first, Macon and Amma both disapprove of the young teenage romance growing between Ethan and Lena and it becomes apparent that they have some history and prior connection involving the magical happenings in the town. However, this changes when Lena is attacked by evil forces on Halloween. Lena’s family are trying to protect her without success but, after Lena telepathically calls to him, Ethan manages to free her from the enchantment. After this, Lena’s family recognize the strength of Ethan and Lena’s relationship. Amma comes to accept Ethan’s relationship with Lena and invites her over to Thanksgiving dinner at their home. While they are enjoying the dinner everything suddenly freezes apart from Amma and Lena. Ethan watches helplessly, immobilized, as Amma tells Lena that her mother Serafine isn’t dead but is dark and responsible for the attacks on Lena. Ethan eavesdrops on Amma and Macon, learning that he is an incubus and is dark as well. Lena’s whole family had come for the claiming ceremony, including her mother. Serafine explains to Lena that she can choose whether she goes light or dark. However Lena discovers the consequence of the choice: If she chooses dark then every family member that is light will die, but if she chooses light then everyone who is dark in her family will die, including Uncle Macon, the one who she loves more than anything in the world. She also learns that, regardless of her choice, as a Caster, she will not be able to have a physical relationship with a mortal like Ethan anyway, and is upset and confused. On the night of the claiming, Lena’s mother stabs Ethan but Lena is able to bring him back but unfortunately Macon Ravenwood dies in his place. As the Claiming requires, Lena causes the moon to disappear and it seems that she will have to choose Light or Dark. However, as the novel ends it is revealed that the song “Sixteen Moons” on Ethan’s iPod has transformed into “Seventeen Moons,” implying that Lena may be able to continue blocking out the moon and deferring her choice. What will Lena decide, and will it cost her the boy she has fallen in love with?
Kirkus Reviews writes that "Ethan's wry narrative voice will resonate with readers of John Green as well as the hordes of supernatural-romance fans looking for the next book to sink their teeth into". Booklist also positively reviewed the book, stating "there's plenty teens will like: romance, magic, hauntings, and the promise of more to come." The School Library Journal praised Beautiful Creatures's "detailed descriptions" and "satisfying conclusion", writing that it would appeal to fans of True Blood. Publishers Weekly criticized the book's "protracted climax" but wrote that Beautiful Creatures had a "compelling and dimensional mythology". Despite its use of magic, the book is praised for its "authentic" characters and world. Linda Perez of the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy states "Stohl writes clearly and lyrically," "the world they've created... is so believable that readers will find themselves unwittingly believing in magic". According to Ilene Cooper of Booklist "the 600 pages could have been cut to make a tight, better story".
Alcon Entertainment, with 3 Arts Entertainment and Belle Pictures, produced a 2013 movie version for Warner Bros., adapted and directed by Richard LaGravenese, starring Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert as Ethan Wate and Lena Duchannes and Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emma Thompson, and Emmy Rossum in supporting roles. The film was released on February 14, 2013. The film received mixed to average reviews and was a box office disappointment.
- Beautiful Creatures was signed by Little, Brown, and Company for a four-book series, the Caster Chronicles, with the follow-up books titled:
- Beautiful Darkness, Book 2 – published October 12, 2010
- Beautiful Chaos, Book 3 – published October 18, 2011
- Beautiful Redemption, Book 4 – published October 23, 2012
Garcia, Kami; Stohl, Margaret (2009). Beautiful Creatures. Beautiful Creatures. New York: Little, Brown and company. p. 563.
- Woerner, Meredith. "The Beautiful Creatures authors give us the rules for creating a believable fantasy". io9. Retrieved 2017-02-27.
- BEAUTIFUL CREATURES By Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl Kirkus Reviews
- Cooper, Ilene (1 November 2009). "Beautiful Creatures". Booklist: 1. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
- Grades 5 & Up: Beautiful Creatures School Library Journal
- Children's Review: Beautiful Creatures Publishers Weekly
- Perez, Linda (October 2010). "Beautiful Creatures". Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy. Arizona, USA. 54 (2): 154. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
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- Cotta Vaz, Mark (2013). Beautiful Creatures: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-134853-7.
- "Beautiful Creatures: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion - Mark Cotta Vaz". Puffin Books. 2 January 2013. Archived from the original on 24 September 2014.
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