I have been a "Beautiful Creatures" fan since the beginning, and I'm happy to say this is a series that remains strong from beginning to end. This finale did have me worried--with Lena's story more or less over, what was left to tell? But the aftermath of the death of Ethan Wate was perfect fodder for a strong and entertaining ending that was plot enough to stand on its own while still wrapping up the Caster Chronicles.
The jumped-off-a-water-tower Ethan finds himself in the Otherworld, a charming world of the dead that resembles Gatlin. Here, the writing duo makes a ghostly realm that is thoughtful and fun in its rules. However, when Ethan learns he was truly not meant to have died, he digs deeper into the supernatural realm to find a way out. This synopsis, I'm afraid, only scratches the surface of a truly delightful novel that not only aims to bring back Ethan but to tie up all other loose ends of the series.
The fantasy is creative, Southern and gothic--a winning combination splashed with a bit of teen culture and wondrous characters. The writing, which I have always liked, has hit its stride, and the characters know themselves. Garcia and Stohl are comfortable in both the normal and supernatural worlds of Gatlin and it shows.
My husband accused me of reading this in one sitting (not quite true), but it really was one of those novels I had trouble putting down. This is a gorgeously told story and a most satisfying conclusion to what has been a stellar series.
on November 12, 2012
Since this is the last book in the series, I want to offer my review both of the last book itself, Beautiful Redemption, and a review of the series as a whole:
Series: I give the entire series 4.5 stars. I truly enjoyed the characters and the storyline. It was fresh, original and utterly engaging. I also was impressed with the fact that this series did what few manage. It mostly got better with each book (we'll talk about book 4 below). As much as I liked book 1, I didn't think the story line could be sustained, but wow was I wrong with book 2, and then book 3 -- the best in the series in my view. They took me on such a roller coaster of emotions that by the time the end credits rolled on book 3, I was out of breath and my pulse pounding. But there were a few stumbles here and there, fortunately none that big, and they were few and far between. Probably the biggest reason why I'm only at 4.5 stars -- still a pretty strong endorsement -- is the occasional times when events/plot lines seemed implausible or not adequately explained. Without going into chapter and verse, one broad example is that Lena is sometimes portrayed as the uber caster of all times, and then at other times she's just a helpless damsel in distress. But, as I said, this is only a minor demerit.
Book 4: Well, if you have read books 1 -3, you, of course, absolutely must read book 4. That goes without saying, so good was book 3. So, you're not reading this review to help with that decision. It's already been made. So, what can you expect? Well, book 4 is decidedly a step below books 1-3. With this book, everyone knows exactly how the book is going to end (come on, was there any real doubt?). That was not the case with books 1-3, so we can forgive the impossible task the authors had in living up to the pell mell, where-the-heck-is-this-read-taking-me, atmosphere of books 1-3. But, book 4 does provide a satisfactory resolution to the series that all fans of the series will enjoy reading. My biggest fear when I started reading was that the book will end abruptly after the big climax and resolution, and I was pleased that the authors knew they had to add on some epilogue chapters wrapping up some loose ends. My only complaint with the epilogue chapters is that they were too low key. I got the feeling the authors kind of ran out of gas. Yes, all the main characters are ushered out for a curtain call, so we do get a last look at them. But I expected, wanted, more about Ethan-Lena than I got. I just invested like 2000 pages in them and I thought the final send off could have been stronger. But, then again, isn't that the sign of a good series -- leave them begging for more. In the end, I will miss the characters and the story. It is with a mixture of regret and appreciation that I say goodbye to the Caster Chronicles.
on October 27, 2012
I for one will be sad to bid goodbye to the Caster world of Light and Dark and all the characters that have entertained me throughout this series. Told from both Ethan and Lena's POV, this book details Ethan's journey through the Otherworld. A quest he chooses to undergo to find the Far Keep in order to return back home to Gatlin and to Lena. An interesting take on death and the belief that dying is not the end but another journey into the unknown and I liked the idea of the homes being in the graveyard instead of the headstones though it is a little macabre. Ethan will risk his soul and finds allies in the unlikeliest of places and his love for Lena spurs him on. Lena in turn never gives up on Ethan and through her family and friends will achieve the impossible and find the Book of Moons. Ethan has been such a likeable character, someone who you would be proud to call your friend and a boyfriend whose loyalty and devotion is inspiring. Lena has had her moments and sometimes she was incredibly frustrating and a bit whiny at times though she came through for Ethan when it counted. At the end of this book, I came away with having read a wonderful love story of how that love is eternal and that by being loved we are also redeemed even those who feel they don't deserve it, even Ridley our resident bad girl finds love in the end. I am now looking forward to watching the movie of Beautiful Creatures when it opens in 2013.
on February 3, 2014
This is the finale to the Beautiful Creatures series, a series I'm glad is over. It never really lived up to the promise of the first book, although I would say this one was probably the second best in the series. I really feel as if the authors could have skipped books two and three and made this one next.
The cliffhanger from the last book has Ethan jumping off the town's water tower. But, since there's a new book, there must be more to the story. And, there is. Ethan discovers that, contrary to what he thought when he flung himself off the tower, he wasn't really supposed to have died, and he restores the balance of the worlds. Again.
I will say I did not see the final twist coming--which was pretty cool. There were a lot of surprises and twists I just didn't expect. I liked the plot of the story much better than the characters. I would love to read a series about John and the young librarian. I started liking these two and Link and Ripley so much more than Ethan and Lena, who are just so depressing and whiny. I just felt like the characters didn't change at all and I never really understood why the two main characters loved one another. "Just because" is too immature a reason for long-lasting love, but that seemed to be the case. I also find it interesting that the whole story was told from a male perspective, Ethan, but the book is so obviously a book for females. If you love paranormal romance, you'll probably like these.
on March 24, 2016
Beautiful Redemption was somewhat of a shock for me. After my disappointing experience with the third installment, Beautiful Chaos, I had extremely low expectations of what was to come with the finale, however. Everything that I disliked (or hated) about book three, seems to have been remedied in book four!
In the previous novel, Ethan Wate makes a rather selfless decision with the hope that it would remedy all of the major supernatural problems for his loved ones. This book chronicles his journey in surviving the consequences of that decision. I could probably elaborate, but I really don’t want to risk spoiling this for anyone who has not read the predecessors of Beautiful Redemption. I had a vague notion of what the end-goal for this book, and as such the series in its entirety, would consist of. Yet I had no idea just how the authors planned on reaching that goal, and I’m very happy to add that I really couldn’t predict what was going to happen (for the most part) from the first page unto the last.
I really don’t like blatant predictability in my books, which installment three was chalk-full of. Beautiful Redemption was very hard to predict. There is a very important confrontation that occurs midway through the novel with a finale that I absolutely didn’t see coming. It was, dare I say, exciting to experience! There are also a lot of little details from the other books that come into play during Ethan’s gloomy adventure which I didn’t expect to see again. I loved how these seemingly minor things ended up playing huge parts in the plot. It captivated my interest all the more.
Others elements I enjoyed: There is an introduction of a few new characters that leave you feeling haunted as you empathize with their plight. Garcia and Stohl do a lovely job of describing these characters’ emotional and physical pain in such a way that you just can’t help but relate to it. These people are also very different than the crazy Gatlin cast and personas that you become accustomed to; it was a refreshing change!
There is a decent amount of character growth, at least for Ethan Wate. He has been going through one hell of a roller coaster ride ever since he meets Lena, and while there is a substantial amount of personal growth between book one and three, it’s nothing quite like this. His character comes full circle with his realizations of what it truly means to love someone, or to lose something that is so damn important to you. While he’s seen that good and evil aren’t inherently black and white, I think he finally comprehends just what it means to be gray; how difficult it is to stay simply in the black or the white.
My only qualm with this novel is Lena’s perspective. The entire series is told from Ethan’s point-of-view. So when I noticed that we would get a glimpse into the mind of Lena, I was eager to read on. But I’m sorry to say that it was a disappointment and probably the only portion of the book that could have been written much better. I feel like there is very little in the way that she thinks or speaks that could differentiate her from Ethan. If there wasn’t a page that boldly stated “Lena,” I don’t believe the reader would actually be able to tell if was Lena or not. This was a colossal letdown and one of the major reasons for my lowering the rating for this novel.
Overall, I would have to say that Beautiful Redemption was a delightful way to finish off the series. I enjoyed the book, especially the scenery and the new folks we meet. To be perfectly honest, if Beautiful Chaos was written as half as good as the other novels in the series, I think the series would have been pretty damn fantastic across the board. My rating for this book: four outta five crows. My rating for the series: three outta five pies
on March 22, 2013
Well this is the fourth book in this series and after the cliff hanger of book three I was skeptical about just how they were going to pull such a seemingly misplaced twist. They didn't. The books (all four of them) could have been 200 pages shorter and the series as a whole could have been in my opinion, one book shorter. I struggled to get through the third book with its earth quake and crazy storms and the truth is I couldn't finish this one, at least I haven't finished it yet. I hate to give up on books but this one just lost its appeal. I don't believe I will recommend it. The first two book were good though. :( I had such high hopes for this series.
You don't often see love and devotion and sacrifice like you did from Ethan Waite. In the Beautiful Creatures series, we have taken a beautiful (and usually comical) gothic background full of characters, mortal and otherwise, who take sacrifice to another level, but none more than Ethan Waite. And in Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's final book in the series, Beautiful Redemption, we finally find his redemption.
After sacrificing himself by leaping from the water tower to save those he loved and the world as a whole, Ethan is thrust into the afterlife. It isn't so bad, full of people he loved and lost, including his mother. Still, Lena is back in the world of the living, and Ethan can't imagine eternity without her. Everyone tries to convince him that there is no coming back form the afterlife, but Ethan won't give up. Especially when he finds out Abraham and Angelus might be involved in bringing him to the after life in the first place. For a boy who was willing to risk everything, he has nothing left to lose in order to get back to the woman he loves, and Ethan is nothing if not determined.
She won't accept it. Ethan is not gone forever. She knows he is around her, trying to communicate with her, and if she can just figure out how, they can work together to find a way to bring Ethan back. She will do anything she can to get Ethan back, even if it means facing Abraham and Hunting alone (well, with Link, but the Linkubus isn't the most helpful or supportive). Everyone wants Lena to just move on, but she knows what "move on" really means- giving up. And nothing can make her give up on the man who lost his life saving her. She won't give up on Ethan.
Oh, boy. I loved this series, too much at times. And when the third book ended? I was disTRAUGHT! So I knew this book was going to fix things, find a way to make it right. I know he died and all, but in a world with sirens and incubi and sucubi, there has to be a way to cheat death. The problem wasn't the premise, it was the execution. I am sad to report that this book just didn't thrill me like the previous 3 (and a half if you count the short story about Link). In fact, it was a little boring. The whole first 200+ pages about Ethan traversing the after life was a struggle to get through. Once you finally left Ethan to follow Lena, the book found the rest of the series' previous vigor and enthusiasm, but 200 pages is a huge waste of plot, time, and quite honestly, paper. I wished the book was cut in half to ditch all that boring fluff in the beginning that just felt like the authors were trying to live up to the size of their previous novels with half the material to work with. It was sad, really, because I love these authors and adored this series up to this point.
I don't think you can read the series without picking up this book, but sadly, it might not give you the satisfaction you desired from such a stellar series. Who knows, maybe you will love it, but I found myself with a shrug and a "meh" by the time I was done. I think the third book should have had a small section at the end where this whole book was condensed and delivered without all the rambling, but hindsight is 20/20. But I can't clarify these comments enough with how much I loved the rest of the series- it really was genius!
on January 4, 2014
When I was in 9th grade, my English teach spent an extraordinary amount of time teaching us about the Hero's Journey. We read books, wrote essays, and watched the Star Wars movies all so we could better understand this pivotal part of so many stories all around the world.
Beautiful Redemption is the conclusion to the Castor Chronicles series. It ties everything together. As I was reading, I noticed something. There was a Hero's Journey inside a Hero's Journey. Ethan must complete his own journey in order to get back to the person he loves most. More importantly, Beautiful Redemption is the final leg of the Hero's Journey of Ethan and Lena together. That 9th grade English class made me appreciate this even more.
I don't really want to talk much about how the story unfolds; I feel anything I say might give away a secret. I will say that my earlier complaint, about there being some filler instead of moving the story along, wasn't even a minor issue in this novel. Something was always happening and each little thing was important. Every step Ethan takes leads him somewhere and every plan Lena forms gets them closer to the end.
Both Ethan and Lena grow in this novel. They have to face their demons in order to continue along their journey. They have to face a world where they aren't together and find a way to get back to each other. They each learn that they are strong individually, but together there is nothing that can stop them. And they do all of this without having whiny teen moments.
Beautiful Redemption is exactly what I wanted from the end of this series. Loose ends are tied up, personal demons are faced, and Ethan and Lena learn to be the people they need to be going forward. Everything wasn't happy, but it was amazing. Stunning conclusion that makes closing that last page wonderfully bittersweet.
on January 7, 2014
Yeah, this is the last book of the series, it's really good and really sad too. I'm also sad that it ended. I just want to read more of this series. It's just so good to me. The movie based on the first book was pretty good, but the books are way better since there's more storyline involved of course and there's better descriptions of everyone. And there's more back story that helps tie up some loose ends that you never got to really see nor understand.
I just liked this book, but some of the deaths of certain characters, like their demise were a little uh, lame. Like it was cool that they got offed because you just end up disliking the corruption of them, but how they died left me feeling like they could've died in a more satisfactory way. But this is just my opinion, others could probably say that it was a perfect way to go. It just seemed like there was so much build up for the evil baddies throughout the whole series, but then it just ended and it was like, "REALLY?!??! That's it?" But sometimes I know certain series just can't go on forever to make some epic long demise of a character.
Even though I didn't like that one little bit of the book really, I still got some satisfaction from it, so it wasn't a total loss. I still really do love this book. I just wish there was another one after. Maybe it's just the feeling some people get after they finish a book they like and realize that there isn't anything more to read. It's like grief that a story is over and you mourn for more. I read a lot of books.
A wonderful final chapter to this series. After the cliffhanger of Beautiful Chaos I had no idea where this book could possibly go. But I really like the direction I took. No spoilers below
If you've made it this far in the series you are already familiar with the cast of characters, Ethan, Lena, Link, Ridley, Amma and Macon playing the starring roles. It's told from Lena and Ethan's point-of-view so that gives it some more interest. I love all the characters and couldn't wait to see how they dealt with things and how things would play out.
The plot was exciting and had me flipping the pages during my vacation as fast as I could. It was easy to fall right into the setting of the novel. I love that they used the southern gothic setting/plot for this series, it's really what drew me in and kept me coming back.
A great final chapter. I look forward to the next series, but I like how this one is put to a kind of open yet great closing. If you haven't started this series you must. If you are waiting to finish the series, you must. I can't believe I waited this long to finish it up. I will miss more about Lena and Ethan, but look forward to Ridley and Link's story next.