Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.
Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the second book in the Caster Chronicles series. I loved it!
I downloaded this book in audio format, as I wanted to read it, but didn't have time to. Having this book in audio format allowed me to listen to it whilst doing household chores, or before bedtime.
The story is again narrated by Kevin T. Collins, who does a fantastic job in bringing the characters alive. I loved his interpretation of Ethan's Great Aunts. I could just picture the sisters' quite clearly.
Ethan Wate is an extremely interesting character. I liked him very much. He is a sweet, loving young man, who happens to be a human thrust into a supernatural world of Casters (light and dark witches) and Incubi (demons).
Lena Duchannes is a character I didn't really like in the first book. She had a "woe is me" attitude that really grated on my nerves. However, in this story, she is mostly in the background.
This story continues from the end of the first book. I liked the fact that this story was again told from Ethan's point of view. I was hooked from the first few minutes of the chapter.
Life in Gatlin (or Gatdung as Ethan and Link call it) is not easy, but it's just about to get even harder! Lena has more than her fair share of teenage angst, but having the option in claiming herself on her sixteenth moon thwarted by her mother, she is struggling to cope with the death of her Uncle. Ethan is trying to cope with the fact that his father has had a breakdown and had been hiding in his office. He is also still hearing music, now about the seventeenth moon, and trying to figure out what it means.
This story is a mixture of mystery, suspense, danger, romance and intrigue that flowed much better than the first book; it is a little bit darker too. I liked the introduction of new characters such as Ethan's Great Aunts and their cat Lucille Ball and Liv, a trainee Keeper Librarian, as well as the Incubi, who are not Casters but demons. The influx of new characters gave the story a fresh twist. It was interesting to watch the dynamics of the characters change as things progressed, especially the friendship between Ethan and Liv. Link was his usual dorky self, but even his usually upbeat manner was tested when Ridley, Lena's Dark Caster cousin makes a reappearance. Ethan also finds out something about himself that shocks him; he is a Wayward (a person who is gifted the ability to find or track, as well as guide, a powerful witch such as Lena). There are several twists and turns which kept me enthralled, but there is one HUGE twist that I didn't see coming near the end of the book. I am now looking forward to reading/listening to Beautiful Chaos as soon as possible, to find out what happens next!
Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl seem to make a great writing team. Their writing style has improved a lot in this book, and it is more fast paced. The story also flowed better than the first book; I am glad that the erratic flow has been smoothed out and I look forward to reading more of their books in the future.
I highly recommend this book if you love YA or Paranormal Romances, or are fans of books such as The Twilight Saga. - Lynn Worton
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