Tag Archives: Kami Garcia

Area Teenagers to Continue Endless, Irritating Romance

3.  Beautiful Redemption – Margaret Stohl & Kami Garcia

The end of the series. Lately, I’ve noticed that some series are moving to quadrilogies…this one, Maberrry’s Rot and Ruin series… and I’m still working on my trilogy. Always behind. But at least trilogies are classic. There are a few trilogies that hold up. Anyway, I just sometimes feel like the kind of stories I write are either too far ahead or too far behind to be published legitimately. I’m probably not the only one who feels that way and it really just enforces the whole dead-in-the-gutter before respect thing that happens to writers sometimes. Well, that was uplifting, I guess I’ll get on with the rest of it. To be fair, my mood has not been the greatest lately. Ozymandias’s bladder stone issues are back-exactly one year after he came to live with me which is shitty and totally unfair. They (stones) always come back though, even if they’re surgically removed. And I’m grading papers again, it’s always super fun to read a paper that’s completely devoid of subject-verb agreement in which the writer claims they want to be a teacher. Why didn’t they pay attention in middle school English if teaching was their chosen career field? Why? My brain screams at these inconsistencies like Leonardo DiCaprio in that field in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet. Oh look, I’ve made it back around to the topic I should be discussing. Yay for me. It’s looking up. Whatever it is.

I definitely respect the concreteness of the ending. The last page was essentially a “no, seriously, it’s over” declaration. Thanks for not leaving loose ends! I mean that sincerely. I’m not really going to discuss anything that happens because if you haven’t bothered with the other books, there is no reason for you to read this one, it won’t be useful for you, it will just be confusing. The recurring aspects of these books worked out nicely in the last entry and as someone who has done many crosswords with their grandmother, I appreciated crossword puzzles having an important function in this book.

I do want to talk about the upcoming movie though. I have seen it decribed very lazily as “Twilight with witches” and the latest attempt to capitalize on Twilight’s success. Twilight’s first page made me want to throw up with boredom and despair. It was super lazy writing. And then, the movie demonstrated the laziness with which the characters were conceived – shells of humans (and vampires) with very little going for them beyond being audience surrogates for those who want a creepy stalker or two. Now, I like fully formed characters, they’re very important to me as a writer and a reader. I also like earned storylines. In Twilight, Bella and Edward seem to fall in love because they must, as they are both present in the narrative. In this series, as annoying as I found Lena and Ethan to be at times, they read as real. Real teenagers. Real annoying teenagers. Who have real, annoying teenage romance. But that isn’t the entirety of what happens. And as frustrated as I got with the first two books being slightly different mirrors of each other, they more than made up for it in Beautiful Chaos and Beautiful Redemption. This series is not Twilight with witches (or casters), I don’t even really think of it as solely being about the main romance between Ethan and Lena. It’s more like a less-ridiculously sticky and purple version of the Mayfair Witches. Which I enjoyed as an annoying teenager. And maybe, just maybe, Macon is a less manipulative version of Julian. Everyone loves Julian.

He's certainly bitten his thumb at Danger quite a few times - they're occasionally friends.

Ozymandias. He is the Mercutio of my herd. Or the Tybalt. He’s pivotal, that’s all I know.

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They all like The Smiths.

12. Beautiful Chaos – Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

As I mentioned in my review of the first two books in this series (Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness), this book needed to accomplish some things to keep this series worth reading. There’s only so many times a couple can break up and get back together before everyone affected by their drama gets tired and stops giving either half of the couple their real listening ears. Thankfully, Beautiful Chaos took the action up and changed the through line of the story quite a bit. While we still had some whiny-Lena and puppy dog-style-Ethan, we also got some something-is-really-wrong-with-Ethan and the-answers-of-the-endtimes-do-not-always-lie-with-Lena – which was neat-o.

It was great to see some more interesting developments with the other characters as well. Taking the secondary characters out of their comfort zones gives them dimensions and fleshed out the world Garcia and Stohl created. It was excellent to see Ridley have to work some things out without her ubiquitous lollipop and to see Amma in a completely different light and Link moved to new spot well beyond “best friend who lends Ethan and Lena his car but mostly maintains the status quo” quite nicely as well. I’m pretty sure that in Beautiful Redemption, Lena’s going to be safely locked away inside the State Home for Manic Pixie Dream Girls though.

Danger Crumples visits the State Home for Manic Pixie Dream Girls as a therapy animal – he provides comfort and dashes their quirky dreams with his extreme adorability. They can never live up to his cuteness.

 

 

State Home for Manic Pixie Dream Girls

 

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Are you now, or have you ever, been so deep you’re shallow?

9. Beautiful Creatures – Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl & 10. Beautiful Darkness – by the exact same authors…

I put off reading these two books for a while. I love the design of the covers, I’m intrigued by Southern Gothic YA, and they have good blurbs. Then, Beautiful Chaos came out, I heard about a Beautiful Creatures film being made, and I wasn’t living in the South anymore so it was finally the right time. I cannot say that I was disappointed.

Although Beautiful Creatures got a little too saccharine at times and since I’m  not the age of the typical YA audience I do find the “I’m reading Catcher in the Rye – it’s soooo good” sort of recommendations a mite patronizing (I just can’t do the pretentious chuckle of recommendation); however, as a whole it was definitely a good story. I have no South Carolina experience, and I did not go to high school anywhere that someone would have forced students to attend a re-enactment or acted like the Civil War wasn’t over…and to be fair I’m not sure how much of that rings true anymore, maybe it’s the extremely small town atmosphere that contributes to those sorts of conditions. Anyway, the main character Ethan was very dutiful and consistent and very teenage boy so he definitely rang true for me. His relationship with Amma and her quirks were well defined as well. I can’t say I was invested in the main female character Lena, I have a thing about romantic stories and I also have a thing about manic pixie dream girls, even the depressed versions, so she’s the kind of character I have to take with a grain of salt. I’m not sure that I will ever buy strength underneath a façade of constantly giving up and random magic bitchiness moves. Teenagers.

This three year old couple has enough common sense to stay out of supernatural affairs. Thaddeus and Pammy stick to being Beautiful Beasties.

As for Beautiful Darkness, it moved. The storyline was much more involved and would have seemed overwhelming had Beautiful Creatures not taken the aspects of its supernatural world so slowly (in order to frustrate its already frustrated teenage characters, it seems). I like the leads much better when they’re separated (even though to an extent separating them using a guy in a black leather jacket on a motorcycle is a bit too done) and I will say that if Beautiful Chaos ends up being about the couple being pulled apart and put back together again I will be annoyed. It helped that in Beautiful Darkness Lena’s “you don’t understand me” shtick also irritated and confused Ethan the narrator. And it does bear saying that having a ridiculously similar outcome in both books seems a little lazy, there’s only so long one can be held in suspense by the exact same thing and about six hundred pages is pushing it. However, in terms of new additions and female characters I did like there’s Liv. It is the job of a librarian, or a Keeper, in the book’s terminology for Liv, to know things and I like reading about ladies who know things. I wish they hadn’t pushed her off to the side, but perhaps that will not be the case in Beautiful Chaos. I have high hopes for that one since it seems like the books really hit their stride in Beautiful Darkness.

This couple, meanwhile, is looking for some mysterious action. Ozymandias and Danger Crumples would definitely throw themselves into solving the mysteries of the supernatural universe if I’d let them off of this chair.

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