Saturday, 12 May 2012

Beautiful Chaos - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

PAGES: 528
PUBLISHER: Puffin Books
FORMAT: Paperback
BUY IT: Waterstones

This review may contain spoilers if you have not read the rest of the Caster Chronicles series. You can find my review for the second book, Beautiful Darkness, here.

Ethan Wate is in love with a caster girl. When he looks at Lena, it's like there's no one else in the world. But Ethan is mortal, and on her seventeenth birthday Lena made a choice that changed everything. The girl Ethan loves has broken the world with the supernatural powers she is struggling to control ...Now, if they are to fix the chaos Lena has caused, one of them must make a terrible sacrifice. Sometimes there isn't just one answer. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending. This is the third installment of the spellbinding love story that began with "Beautiful Creatures".

I have loved this series from the beginning. Sometime a series can falter, stumble and fail as it gets this far in, but for me the Caster Chronicles just gets stronger. There are so many books where the characters lose their personalities and just become stock pawns for a standard storyline. This is where Beautiful Chaos sets itself apart. From the very first book the reader watches the characters change, evolve both mentally and physically without becoming unbelievable. The children have matured, the adults changed by emotions and events and they feel so real. So real that I care about them, to the point where I cried at the ending.

In this, the 3rd book in the series, Lena and Ethan must face the Eighteenth Moon, but who's it is is still in question. Since Lena's claiming went wrong the Order of Things has been broken and Gatlin has been in a state of looming Apocalypse. They must find a way to put things right. However, things are happening behind the scenes that neither Lena nor Ethan know about or can control. They must find out what their places are in the prophecy before they can make any changes.

This book, and arguably the series itself, centres around sacrifice. From the little concessions we make daily to stop arguments, biting your tongue to not hurt someones feelings, to those selfless life changing acts to protect the ones you love. Even though it's a supernatural story and the situations are set apart from the reality of the 'real world' the emotions are no less emphatic to us. There is a time in everyone's life where they realise their parents are human and fallible, when a daughter can understand the sacrifices of a mother. When the love of your partner overrides any ideas you have of self-preservation. These are the themes that makes this series so accessible, and I really connected with this story.

Lena and Ethan are a fantastic couple. Even though there are points where they are one unit, there are so much more than just a couple. They are individuals that make each other stronger whilst at the same time are able to grow independently. What I love about their relationship is that they aren't centred around their physical attractions to each other, there are friends first and foremost and that stops the reader from being shut out. That they can 'Kelt' (speak to each other through their thoughts) gives the reader the opportunity to know and associate with Lena even though the story is completely narrated by Ethan. 

The fact that Ethan is the narrator is, I think, I great move in a sea of over-emotional Young Adult novels. He's not you're typical single-minded bloke that is concerned with bedding Lena and showing her off. He is a family boy, a maturing adult that is head-strong but is still concerned about others.

The writing itself is brilliant; Garcia and Stohl are genius in their ability to drop little hints in the storyline. There are multiple things happening at one time but it doesn't feel overwhelming. There is a whole cast of characters that feel like real complete people. I never knew completely who the prophecy was talking about and that made the story so compelling for me. It twists, turns and winds and its way to a both heartbreaking and compelling ending-that-isn't-really-an-ending. I just kept wanting to come back to it and immerse myself in their world again.

I'm going to be sad to see this series end but I wouldn't want to see it fade out. It's such a multi-layed read that it even stopped my wondering brain (which is usually quite difficult to do). I may well add more to this review as it comes to me. I think the sign of a good story is when you notice things about it long after you've finished it.


  1. I admit that this book completely took me by surprise. As the reader, I was expecting so many others things but never that. I loved that this book took a whole new spin on love and sacrifice!

    What I loved most about this book is the great plot line. So much going on in the book that is kept the reader hooked and always sated. Never once did my eyes stray from the pages as I devoured it. I enjoyed that while the plot line is unraveling secrets, poems, and love popped up where I never saw it. Both authors once again did an amazing job on capturing the essence of the town and the characters!

    The characters development in the story is where it needs to be. So much had changed in them that you know that these characters are at their peak. I enjoyed reading along with the characters in discovering secrets that have been under their noses. The book title is great for whats goes on in the book. Chaos. Total Chaos!

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