Saturday, November 20, 2010

Beautiful Darkness

Authors: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Pubisher: Little, Brown and Company
Released: October 12, 2010
Genre: YA Paranormal

I was very disappointed with this sequel to Beautiful Creatures. Everything I loved about the first book is gone from the second, and the things that bothered me about the first book are magnified in the second.

The slow beginning of Beautiful Creatures put me off a bit, but once I got into the story, that little pest faded away and I became involved with the characters. In Beautiful Darkness, I had a hard time getting back into the story (partly because I didn't remember exactly what had happened at the end of Beautiful Creatures and the second book does not give any sort of recap), and by the time I got to page 250, I was thinking - OK, so Lena is going dark, Ethan still loves her and wants to save her. Now what? There's way too much downtime, too much time passing without any real development and progression of the plot.

Besides, what I loved about the first book was Lena and Ethan's relationship, and that was totally gone from most of the book. At the beginning, they're together but pulling apart, and then they have nothing to do with each other for a while. But even at the very beginning, when their relationship is about the same, the spark is gone, and I didn't feel like rooting for them.

In addition to the downtime and lack of emotional attachment, there's a lot of telling instead of showing in the second book. There are bits of exposition interspersed in the recounting of what is happening at the moment, and this totally detracts from the story. It messes with the pacing, too, since there are bursts of frantic chapters and reeaally slow chapters.

I'll confess - I didn't read the book all the way through. After I got to page 250 last week, I decided I had to force myself to finish even though I had no interest in doing so, because I can't review the book if I haven't read it through. But today, forcing myself to turn each page was torture. So at one point, I flipped to the end and read the last twenty pages. I didn't intend to read all the way to the end, I just wanted to see where things were going, but I read till the last page. Here's the thing: I was able to understand everything that was going on, even though I'd missed out on over a hundred pages. That shouldn't be able to happen in a really good book. It means that the authors took pages and pages to say what could've been condensed into much less - which is what I was thinking about the beginning of the book.

So all in all, not very satisfying.

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