[Beautiful Darkness is the sequel to Beautiful Creatures, so it is suggested that you read Beautiful Creatures before you read this review so nothing is spoiled for you!]
"We don't get to chose what is true. We only get to chose what we do about it."
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. Sometimes life-ending.
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.
So this might mean I'm crazy, but I have this thing with book series: if I start one, I always finish it. No matter how terrible the characters, no matter how long each book is, no series will get the best of me. Even when they try really, really hard. (Yes, Last Survivors Trilogy, I'm talking about you.) So even though I thought this book's predecessor was a mediocre read, I'm signed on for the whole four book deal.
I don't know if this happens to all people who plan to write in the future, but when I read books, I'll get writer-jealous: I'll read something and think "Why didn't I think of that?" It's the little details for me—Lena's necklace made of memories, her constant writing or how words appear all around her room, Ethan's shoebox storage system. They're, I don't know, quirks, and they make the characters seem real. I absolutely applaud the authors for these.
Back to Lena's writing: I just love it. We only get bits of it throughout the books—a phrase here and there—but they're my favorite parts. Her writing is always the perfect way to put her situation into words.
On my final note, I'd like to say that I liked seeing other characters come into the story. It wasn't just EthanLenaEthanLenaEthanLena the whole book—we saw a lot of other characters—which makes a book a lot more interesting.
Okay, I have a major problem with Gatlin's high school and its students. That's right. I'm calling you out, Savannah. And you too, Emily.
Maybe I'm just not from a very small town, but I don't understand how two girls' opinions can control the entire student population of Jackson High. As far as I've ever experienced, the mean it girls that everybody wants and everybody listens to live only in our imagination. I actually just read a post about small towns and their it girls, if you're interested.
My problem was poor Lena's over there, practically depressed, and all because not one person at that whole school (besides Ethan) can be nice to her. And it's all because of the mean girls.
Really? Where is this inspiration coming from?
Like I said, maybe I've just never known one, but I would think it's a pretty powerful teenager that can turn an entire student body against one girl.
And another thing: this book is so long. And I like long books, I do. But this book has what I'm going to create my own term for: unnecessary length.
Un·nec·es·sar·y Length [uhn-nes-uh-ser-ee lenth]
when referring to a YA book
1. when a book's length is unneeded to tell the story the author[s] set out to tell
See also: Unnecessary Amount of Made-Up Words in a YA Book
If my fancily-created definition did nothing to explain that to you, I basically mean this: I felt like the book could have been condensed without losing the story.
Lastly, I have a message for you, beloved YA authors. Don't listen to the publishers, your handbook, or whoever it is that is telling you that awful lie: I'm going to tell you the truth. You don't have to break up the main couple in the second book.
I know, I know. It's incredibly hard to believe. Put away your copy of New Moon and any other YA sequel that encourages you to do so. You don't need their inspiration—your couple's relationship can make it two consecutive books. And your book can still be awesome.
Maybe I'm being a bit harsh, but I was rooting for Lena and Ethan. And then all of a sudden What? When did the breaking up happen? Nooooooo. I'd like to see an author keep a couple dating for us poor tortured readers. Show us what a steady relationship is. Have pity on the poor, poor souls of YA guys.
I pretty much had the same reaction to this book as I did to the first one: it didn't knock my socks off, but it's not bad. It's hanging somewhere in the middle—or in my rating system—at two hearts of "It's Okay."
Read more reviews for Beautiful Darkness at: