Date: October 12th, 2010
Series or Standalone: Book 2 in series
Format: Hardcover, 512 pages
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 startsto 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.
First line: "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."
May contain spoilers for Beautiful Creatures, book one in the series.
If there is only one word for this book: Brava. I'm not really sure if it applies to a book but it does now. Forever in history, it will be related to this book, this incredible, marvelous book.
I'll be honest. I liked Beautiful Creatures. I remember I didn't love every second of the book but I enjoyed it--and by the end I was hooked. So, I was excited for the sequel. When another blogger friend let me borrow her copy (because I wanted to read it so very badly!) I was nervous. I tried to start it a few times and never got past the past first page or two. I wanted it to be good and I was nervous about what would happen to Lena and Ethan and Amma. Once I started, I could barely stop to work. This book I LOVED. LOVED. LOVED. Honestly.
Link is back. Ridley is back. The crazy aunts are still crazy and Boo still lingers outside Ethan's car. It's a good time for everyone---except maybe Ethan and Lena, who are dealing with Macon's death and the repercussions. The characters are just as real, perhaps more so. They deal with new obstacles and go on new "adventures" and we learn so much about Ethan in this book. The characters all grew through these pages--Ethan, Lena, Ridley and Link especially--and while it was in ways I didn't expect and in ways that left me crying out for everything to work out like I wanted it, I feel like all of it was completely perfect. Every emotion I felt was purposeful.
Kami and Margaret stepped up ten thousand times in the prose department. There are lines that I read that gave me chills, which as we know I like. One of my favorite pieces of writing is toward the end of the Fragment Friday I did a couple months ago. Everything from BC was weaved into BD and referenced and explained in new ways. There are still questions that aren't answered but hey, we've got a couple more books. After reading BD, I know they will be answered--and probably blow my mind.
I love Ethan. (How can you not?) I think I love him more now. The way he loves Lena, the way they sacrifice for each other and the way Kami & Margaret portray all those emotions and details are just...well, you know how it was it in BC? Double it. It's that good.
The other thing I loved are the new characters! We get to meet two important ones: Liv and John Breed. I don't want to give anything away but Liv is unexpected and John Breed is debonair in a leather jacket on a motorcycle. (That's a small a hint into his character.) They are lovely additions to the story and I am very excited to see how their roles continue to develop through the rest of the series.
And the twists! There were so many twisty moments. One in particular that left me kicking myself because I never saw it and I should have.
Yes, Beautiful Darkness has it all. Love. Hate. Death. Life. Loss. Laughter. Twists. Suspense. Confusion. And the incredible urge to run away because it's so much but you can't put the book down. I assure you, once it's over, you will wish a thousand ways that it hadn't ended. But that's another story.
Final thoughts on the book: I love it. It's a great follow-up to the first book with new characters and a moving plot. I can't wait for the next one!
Source: Borrowed ARC