Sunday, January 3, 2010

HBIC Review Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

A Blog with Bite YA Review posted by Tina at Tinasbookreviews

Beautiful Creatures follows the story of 16 year old Ethan, a normal teenage boy living in a small southern town called Gatlin. Only our poor Ethan isn’t like most normal teenage boys. His mom died in a gruesome car accident and his father is going slowly insane locked away in his office where he only comes out for dinner. The only one who is there to take care of Ethan is his live in nanny Amma, who has been with the family since Ethan was born. She cooks, cleans and practices a little voodoo on the side. Nothing like a little southern voodoo and chicken bone grave reading to get the hairs on the back of your neck standing.

My thoughts:
Perhaps when a book is so hyped up and the reviews so dazzling, when you finally sit down to read it your expectations are set way to high. When I started Beautiful Creatures I was expecting a dark gothic southern fairy tale…as stated by the description of the book. What I was not expecting was a story chop full of political agenda. Maybe that’s why I as a reader couldn’t emotionally invest myself to any of the characters. Everything seemed to have some hidden meanings and the characters felt forced to say things that didn't fit them.The writing was well done; I didn’t find this in anyway poetic but the rhythm of the story flowed smoothly, some of the special effect scenes had great visual detail.Yet there was this nagging feeling I had while reading this, when I read a fantasy or paranormal novel I’m looking for entertainment not stress. I was seriously wondering through half of this how a person living in the south would feel about the representation in this book. Take for example Mrs. Lincoln, the wretched character of our story who most of the stereo typing gets dumped upon. I think the authors were able to portray this character with all the typing they wanted because **spoiler** in the end Mrs. Lincoln (funny they used the last name of the president who freed the slaves on a woman who celebrated the confederacy) wasn’t really doing these things herself, it’s like the authors said “Gotcha, just kidding all that stereo-typing was justified because she really was bad and being controlled by an evil woman!!! I liked Ethan and Lena’s relationship and that it faintly mixed with the older dead couple featured in the book. Although the characters weren’t having sex I thought the physical and intense emotions were a bit overboard for a 15 and 16 year old. Honestly towards the big end….I found myself wanting the story to just BE OVER….…but like a trooper I finished, and after all the build up the ending left me with a cliff hanger of unanswered questions.

I will admit, I won’t be continuing on with Lena and Ethan’s journey. This was a story full of all your favorite paranormal yummies- but don’t forget to look within the pages- the authors are trying to share a political message with you.........BWB Rating 2/4

1.All the lies and deceit that was occurring in the book to the teenagers seemed a bit much, right? Do we lie to our children to protect them, or brutal honesty? It seems like a reoccurring theme in Hollywood and literature, but is it a reoccurring them in real life? Agree, the lies in the book made the adults look like 'idjits......I think its better to be honest with your kids.

2. Do you feel Lena and Ethan were too chaste, with only random kissing? With rampant teenage pregnancies and condoms being distributed in schools, do you feel these YA novels that stick to just kissing and no cursing aren't reality, or do you agree with their good show of morals? GOOD SHOW OF MORALS....come on are we really going to say hey kids go have sex? I wrote in my review I thought Lena and Ethans feelings were to intense, and thats honest. Most kids having sex arent all oh I loooovvveee you please marry me lets live forever together, if I lose you Ill least I can give the authors props on not sex'n their characters out

3. Obviously the authors lean towards a very strong liberal political viewpoint...the story does a great job labeling conservatives as bible thumping, closed minded racists who burn that sense how do you feel about censorship and do you feel its fair to label all conservatives this way? I dont believe in censorship- book burning isnt going to solve problems. How typical that the authors would label the only Christian in the story as the crazy mother who wanted to burn Harry Potter books....but I do think a rating system is smart, just like movies. I’m not one for radical sides of either party. I don’t care for left wing propaganda or extreme right wing politics either. The little digs against conservative politics creep in almost every page of the story. Although the digs are very subtle- some are like a slap in the face, take for example the comments made about us shameful Americans after Hiroshima. Nothing annoys me more than listening or reading an American talk about being ashamed of being an American.

4. Southern, small town close-mindedness is a big feature of Beautiful Creatures, did you find the towns reaction to Lena something that could really happen, or a gross Southern, small-town stereo-type?
Stereo-typing was bad in this one.....but yes I think there are some people (all races and religions of people) who can target a certain person or idea.... BUT do only small minded conservatives say stupid things? It doesn’t matter if you’re a republican or a democrat, stupid is stupid… wasn’t it not so long ago our own president referred to the citizens of Pennsylvania as a desperate people holding onto their guns and religion? I wonder how a Pennsylvanian felt about that.


Emily said...

Your review brought to light things I've not seen mentioned in any other review of this book that I've read so far- it makes me definitely want to keep an eye out for these issues when I read the book (sadly I didn't finish it in time to review it here.) Thanks for posting about this, these are definitely issues to think about!