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Beautiful Chaos (Beautiful Creatures) Hardcover – October 18, 2011
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected - and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What - or who - will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin? For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself - forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask.
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I have realized that the one thing I can count on in regards to this series is that the title will always fit the content of the piece. I rather enjoy that element very much as it’s something that not many authors can get right. Beautiful Chaos further proves this point as the consequences from the previous installment begin to manifest terribly in this novel. Everything is literally going to heck as one chaotic thing after another begins to occur. The storytelling is still from the first-person perspective of our male protagonist, Ethan Wate, and the atmosphere is bleak and filled with a variety of seasoned tension. One of things that this uncomfortable feeling of dread does is that it makes you feel really anxious about what’s going to unfold. I don’t know about you, but when the world feels like it’s going to end, I think a little anxiety and fear is totally called for. Garcia and Stohl do their job rather well in that regard, however…
The main plot point of The Caster Chronicles volume three revolves around the revelation and sacrifice of someone (or something) huge; whatever it is, it’s definitely one that is one of a kind. Garcia and Stohl failed at maintaining an air of mystery as to the identity of said fate-deciding tool. The book is written so that the pacing is slow. It isn’t until about 300 pages into the book that you can feel things starting to pick up. This increase gave me an anticipatory awareness that whatever was about to happen would be pretty darn big and decisive. Based on how this book is written, it felt to me as if the authors wanted to keep this secret until the last fifteen to ten percent of the story so that it could become a huge reveal for the ending, which was a badly written cliffhanger, mind you. Instead of dancing with the element of surprise, they slapped you in the face with uncreative facets of foreshadowing. So this so-called fantastically amazing announcement felt horribly anti-climactic.
Because of this thing that needs to happen, one of my favorite characters behaves a little out of character. When stuff hits the fan, you never recognize how far you’re willing to go for someone until you’re already standing face to face with it. I enjoyed the fact this a certain sassy, prized-pie-contest-winning lady acted so unlike her persona. It made her feel decidedly human and me feel empathetic to her plight. Yet, I didn’t approve of her out-of-character behavior prior to this, which is the vast majority of the novel.
Taking my frustrated subjective ramblings out of the equation, Beautiful Chaos is not a terrible addition to the series. It’s much needed as it ties up a lot of loose ends created in the second book. The tale is actually pretty interesting when you realize that these are all a bunch of kids facing some really tough and impossible situations. When you see the emotional and mental effect of these events taking their toll, then it becomes realistic, adding quite a bit of sentimental depth. You see this in character development as well as character atavism with the cast and how these changes are affecting the happenings of the situation. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in seeing how these personality changes will come into play in the last book.
Overall, Beautiful Chaos was an interesting read, even if I did figure out the ending about fifteen pages into the book. The writing isn’t bad by all means, just not nearly as good as the first two. The story is far from finished, but the whole picture is falling into place decently. Number three gets three rips outta five.
I'm at a bit of a loss for what to say here. We get the same cast that we had in the previous novels, with more of John Breed and Olivia. They are on a journey to set the order of things straight again since Lena messed them up when she "skipped" her moon. I still love Ethan and Lena and their relationship, but it's far from perfect and that shows here more than ever. Ethan spent much of the last book with Olivia because Lena ran off with John and now he isn't allowed to see her because it upsets Lena. So we have this sorta-not-really love triangle thing happening that irritated me to no end. But Lena has no qualms talked to John Breed even though it's the exact same situation as Ethan and Liv. Which pissed me off. Then the predictable thing happens.
Then there is the whole Link and Ridley situation in general. Rid is human now and Link is quarter incubus, so you'd think the majority of the problems are solved, right? Rid can be good and Link can be her almost human boyfriend and they ride off into the proverbial sunset, yeah? Or not...... Is that too much to ask? To have Link and Ridley finally get their crap together. Or rather, to have Ridley finally get her crap together? This was a big forshadowing moment in my lifetime that I missed because from this point on, my opinion of Ridley just sinks lower and lower. That's a depressing thing because I really liked her in Beautiful Creatures, despite the fact that she was a quasi-villain and she redeems herself a tad in Beautiful Redemption...but then she falls again and I just want to punch her in the freaking face.
Besides my obvious hangups about characters, this novel has one big issues, the huge motherf-ing cliffhanger. This books ends in quite possibly the worst cliffhanger I have ever read. Now, I know what you are all thinking: But Tabitha, don't you already have a copy of the next book? Isn't the audiobook queued up just waiting on this to end? Yes, it is, but it's the darn principle. I know a lot of people read these books as soon as they were released and I cannot imagine having to wait for a year or more to find out what happens next. This is not freaking necessary. It's infuriating. I've been letting cliffhangers slide lately, but this was over the line.
Despite my anger and my issues, this was still a highly enjoyable installment of the Caster Chronicles. You get a bit of mystery and a bit of action and a lot of Ethan/Lena romance. You get more of that swoon-worhty southern charm that is Ethan Wate. Just be warned that you'll want to have the next novel close on hand because the ending leaves a lot to be desired.
Beautiful Chaos is the culmination of everything that happened in the previous two books and the price that must be paid. Everything that went wrong in the past two books comes to a head and Ethan and Lena have to figure out how to save the Mortal and Caster world. I did figure out the ending fairly early in the book, but that didn't take me out of the story any. I wanted to see how the characters ended up, even if I wanted to let them all in on the secret.
Ethan and Lena are still the wonderful couple that can make it through everything. They've both changed though and that affect their relationship. They have to learn to trust each other again and to not jump to conclusions. They had to stop being teens in love and start dealing with being in love while in the Mortal and Castor worlds. I enjoyed reading how they grew as individuals and as a couple. Their challenges are only making them work better together.
The subplots were really something else in this book. I would love a Link and Ridley story all their own. With everything going on, getting this other little stories to focus on for a little while was a nice break from the bad things you know are about to come.
Beautiful Chaos was a fantastic book that ended on quite the cliffhanger. I can't wait to get started on Beautiful Redemption and see how this series concludes.