If you’ve read my review for Beautiful Creatures, the first book in the Caster Chronicles series, you will know that I gobbled up that book like delicious cake. Therefore, when I discovered ARCs of Book #2 at the ALA Annual Conference, I may have squealed with glee and snatched a copy greedily. (Okay, so I did.) Afterward, I lovingly squirreled away the book as a special treat for when I finished my revisions on my own novel. That didn’t last very long.
Beautiful Darkness is 512 pages, a fact that alarms me when I consider that I read the book in two sittings. I couldn’t help myself, though, because the story wormed its way into my imagination even when I was doing mundane activities like eating cereal or watching TV. If you haven’t read Book #1, go read my review for that. If you have read Book #1, then continue reading this review for Book #2.
Beautiful Darkness satisfies my need for:
(1) Twisted magic that draws upon voodoo and curses from the Civil War. Also, twisted magic in the hands of a likely dangerous girl, rather than a ubiquitous brooding guy.
(2) Romance. But not easy-peasy, standard-issue, star-crossed “we must be together every second of our waking existences!” romance, the bittersweet kind that involves people getting pissed and not talking to each other for realistic reasons.
(3) New characters who are just as crazy fun as the last batch. Though I will admit to liking the new L better than the old L. (Shhh! No spoilers.) Just because the new L is fabulous.
(4) More exploration of the South and its patchwork of cultures. For example:”Decorating graves was another one of Gatlin’s contests–a way to prove that you and your family members, even the dead ones, were better than your neighbors and theirs. People went all out. Plastic wreaths wrapped in green nylon vines, shiny rabbits and squirrels, even birdbaths, so hot from the sun they could burn the skin right off your fingers. There was no overdoing it. The tackier, the better.” I adore paranormal fiction well-rooted in reality.
I will stop this review right here, since I don’t want to tread into the realm of spoilers, and believe me, Beautiful Darkness is chock-full of twists that you will just have to discover on your own.
(I got this as an ARC from ALA, if you didn’t see that above.)