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.
When I tried to formulate my review for this book I was torn, and I kind of still am. I'm a big fan of Garcia and Stohl's writing and enjoyed the first installment in the Caster Chronicles series, Beautiful Creatures, but I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it's sequel. There were some elements that I loved and some that I didn't enjoy much at all. Let me try to make some sense of my ramblings.
To start off, I can say that while I found Beautiful Creatures to be slow in some parts, that was not the case with Beautiful Darkness. We did get more background and of course some histories and mysteries were cleared up, but at the same time the plot wasn't slowed down because of this. Ethan is back as our narrator and this time around he really (for me at least) became a stronger character. If anyone thought he and Lena's troubles/obstacles were over, they were wrong. In fact, their previous problems were nothing in comparison in my opinion. Garcia and Stohl upped the anti (so to speak) in this one and that aspect won me over and kept me reading. Ethan's personality came out more and I think readers will get the chance to see him as an individual as far as his feelings go and will only grow to love him even more.
Now for what I wasn't really loving about this book. We meet some new characters in Beautiful Darkness and they didn't really win me over like I expected them to. Garcia and Stohl gave us such an all star cast in Beautiful Creatures, maybe in my mind they just didn't stand a chance of measuring up, I don't know? But some of the original characters upset and disappointed me too. I don't want to spoil anything for anyone so I can't be specific, but when this book hits the shelves and readers get their hands on it, I don't think I'll be the only one feeling this way.
But to end on a good note, I did like the wrap-up Garcia and Stohl wove together in the end. All I will say is that the Caster Chronicles series can only get more interesting and I'm extremely curious to see what happens next. Cliffhangers vs. neatly tied up endings, which do I prefer? I'm not really sure, but what I do know is that I'm still a fan of Garcia and Stohl's writing and I'm looking forward to reading what the Caster Chronicles will bring us next.
I gave Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles, #2) 3 shamrocks!!!