9 Oct 2016


Not just one YA novel but two. Today I'm reviewing the first two of the four books in the Caster Chronicles series by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl both of which were obtained from a local charity shop.


BOOK BLURB: Please click on book title to read the synopsis on amazon.co.uk.

FIRST SENTENCE {~Before~ The Middle of Nowhere}: There was only two kinds of people in our town.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 326}: The parking lot was crowded with people, way more than usual. And parents; other than after the window incident, there hadn't been a parent in the parking lot since Jocelyn Walker's mom came to yank her out of school during the film about the reproductive cycle in Human Development.

MY THOUGHTS: What I had been informed was like the Twilight series. 

A young adult novel at the centre of which is a family who are not all they seem, tick. Part set in a high school, tick. Other worldly lovers, one of them new in town, one of them human, one of them not, tick. Whilst I can appreciate the similarities (and there are many, more than I mention here) and can see how both series might appeal to the same readers for me personally that is where the comparison ends.

To me darker and (dare I say it?) somehow more 'grown-up' than the Twilight books. Altogether more compelling, I loved the deliciously Gothic setting, found the characters wonderfully eccentric and thought the fact that the narrator was a teenage boy refreshing. Oh and then there was the aspect of the book that saw supernatural battles played out over the civil war setting - or at least a very romanticised version of it. 

OK, so at just short of 600 pages arguably a tad too long - by the end I was beginning to question the chemistry (or lack of it?) between lovers Ethan and Lena and still on occasion wasn't altogether sure just who exactly was related to who .. and how (though that might say more about my tending to read throughout the wee small hours) - but altogether a thoroughly promising start to what I'm hoping is going to be an exciting story.


BOOK BLURB: Please click on book title to read the synopsis on amazon.co.uk.

FIRST SENTENCE {~Before~ Caster Girl}: I used to think our town, buried in the South Carolina backwoods, stuck in the muddy bottom of the Santee River valley, was the middle of nowhere.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 133}: Boo thumped his tail, and Lucille meowed in response. They sat like that at the top of the porch steps, thumping and meowing, as if they were carrying on as civilized a conversation as any two townsfolk on a summer night. I don't know what they were gossiping about, but it must have been big news.

MY THOUGHTS: Do you know, with more of Ethan and less of Ethan and Lena (or Ethlen as I'd come to think of them) I actually preferred this to, Beautiful Creatures, the first book in the series. A series that I hasten to add is best read in order, book one preferably having been read recently or re-read.

Not that its 'Ethlen' that make the book for me. Far more impressive is the Southern Gothic setting of Gatlin, the ancient library (what bibliophile could resist this?) with its creepy underground tunnels. Character wise, my favourites, of whom thankfully there were more of but still not enough of, Ethan's three 'dotty' aunts in all their glorious eccentricity and 'their' cat (or is she?), Lucille Ball. Then of course there's the lolly pop sucking, Riley. Talk about character development, come the end of Beautiful Darkness we get to see a whole other side to her.

Left on what (not to exaggerate too much) turns out is a bit of a cliff hanger, I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of book three, Beautiful Chaos, before delving into book 4, Beautiful Redemption, a copy of which lies tantalisingly on my To Be Read pile.


Suko said...

Tracy, these sound like wonderful YA novels. I'm glad you enjoyed them, and I hope you enjoy the others in this Beautiful series.

Melliane said...

I confess that I wasn't a fan of book 1 so I never tried more...

Brian Joseph said...

As someone who likes the world to be a little grey, a slightly dark plot sounds like a good to me.

I tend to object to cliffhangers at the end of books however. I am of the school that a book should be self contained.

Barbara said...

Hi Tracy, these sound like excellent reads. I’m excited about the ancient library and the creepy underground tunnels. This bibliophile won’t be able to resist…

The Bookworm said...

Glad you are enjoying this series, I have it on my TBR mountain.

Kelly said...

These might be quite good, but I think for the moment I've saturated my desire for this genre. Glad you are enjoying them.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I saw the movie of the first book and wasn't impressed but now I'm curious about that second book. Hm... I'm more encouraged to trying this series.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

I have not read this series, but I have been curious about it. So glad to know that you are enjoying it so far. I always love your honesty about the books you read. :) Thanks for sharing and I hope you get book 3 soon!

Gina said...

Ooh! You've got my attention. I may have to dig around the ole TBR Mountain top find my copies. Thanks for the tantalizing look!

Literary Feline said...

I read the first book, but can't say I'm inclined to pick up the second. I thought the book was okay, but nothing special. The movie was horrid, I thought.