Beautiful Darkness picks up where Beautiful Creatures left off with the death of Macon Ravenwood. Lena is in a gigantic brooding funk that made me hate her after about three chapters. Yeah, your uncle died…yeah, you feel guilty…yeah, no one understand you. Blah, blah, blah. And poor Ethan is just trying to be a good supportive boyfriend, but Lena is so engrossed in herself that she gives no thought to how he is. In a book where you are supposed to be rooting for the hero and heroine to live happily ever after, it’s a really bad sign when all I want them to do is break up.
To complicate things on the love front, two new characters are introduced. John Breed is some sort of mysterious supernatural who of course “like totally gets” Lena, and she is suddenly running off with him without questioning what this creep really wants. Liv Durand is a Keeper-in-training who is working with Ethan in the library over the summer. Liv is smart, fun, uncomplicated and British…everything that Lena is not. There is definitely some chemistry between her and Ethan, and I found myself wishing her would just forget Lena and give Liv a chance.
The plot thickens in this book as we begin to realize the are more secrets in Gatlin, South Carolina than apple pies. Despite being told by Lena several times to leave her alone, Ethan decides to go into the Tunnels looking for Lena and rescue her from danger. With him are Link & Liv and they get assistance in their quest from just about everybody they know (meaning that a whole lot more people in town know about the Caster world than Ethan thought). Along the way, Ethan discovers secrets about his deceased mother and Macon Ravenwood that add a whole new dimension to the plot. In fact, Macon Ravenwood is becoming my favorite character in this series…behind Ethan, of course.
The Southern charm is fun and adds wonderful color to characters like Amma and The Sisters. There is a great scene at the county fair where they talk about the importance of pageants and baking contests in the rural South. With the introduction of Liv, we are able to get a feel for how a foreigner would view the Southern culture. Loved that!
Even though Lena bugged the hell out of me, I do plan on reading the next installment Beautiful Chaos when it comes out in October.
Overall, I give Beautiful Darkness…
Plot – 3 ½ bookmarks (maybe would have been higher without Lena’s obsessive brooding)
Character Development – 3 bookmarks (Again, Lena is dragging this down. Love Ethan, Ridley, Macon, Liv, Marian, Amma, The Sisters…heck, I even love the cat! But when you hate the heroine, it’s a bad sign.)
World Building – 5 bookmarks (Combination of the Southern Charm and the Caster World)
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Hunter Parrish (Ethan), Vanessa Marano (Lena), Billy Zane (Macon), Thomas Decker (John Breed), Jake Able (Link), Gemma Ward (Liv)