Review: Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Title: Beautiful Redemption
Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Series: Castor Chronicles series
Pages: 451 pages hardcover, 576 ebook
Rating: ★★★★

When I was in 9th grade, my English teach spent an extraordinary amount of time teaching us about the Hero’s Journey. We read books, wrote essays, and watched the Star Wars movies all so we could better understand this pivotal part of so many stories all around the world.

Beautiful Redemption is the conclusion to the Castor Chronicles series. It ties everything together. As I was reading, I noticed something. There was a Hero’s Journey inside a Hero’s Journey. Ethan must complete his own journey in order to get back to the person he loves most. More importantly, Beautiful Redemption is the final leg of the Hero’s Journey of Ethan and Lena together. That 9th grade English class made me appreciate this even more.

I don’t really want to talk much about how the story unfolds; I feel anything I say might give away a secret. I will say that my earlier complaint, about there being some filler instead of moving the story along, wasn’t even a minor issue in this novel. Something was always happening and each little thing was important. Every step Ethan takes leads him somewhere and every plan Lena forms gets them closer to the end.

Both Ethan and Lena grow in this novel. They have to face their demons in order to continue along their journey. They have to face a world where they aren’t together and find a way to get back to each other. They each learn that they are strong individually, but together there is nothing that can stop them. And they do all of this without having whiny teen moments.

Beautiful Redemption is exactly what I wanted from the end of this series. Loose ends are tied up, personal demons are faced, and Ethan and Lena learn to be the people they need to be going forward. Everything wasn’t happy, but it was amazing. Stunning conclusion that makes closing that last page wonderfully bittersweet.

If Beautiful Redemption sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble
Amazon
IndieBound
Audible

Review: Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Title: Beautiful Chaos
Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Series: Castor Chronicles series
Pages: 518 pages hardcover/paperback, 566 ebook
Rating: ★★★★

The thing I enjoy most about these books is also the thing that I like least. I like that mixed in with all the doom and gloom and supernatural, we get to see Ethan and Lena living their lives. There’s a bit of normal mixed in. However, this adds a lot of extra material that is somewhat filer and that’s the part I don’t like. I’m not sure which side will eventually win out.

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.

If Beautiful Chaos sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble
Amazon
IndieBound
Audible

Review: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Title: Beautiful Darkness
Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Series: Castor Chronicles series
Pages: 503 pages hardcover/paperback, 508 ebook
Rating: ★★★★

Beautiful Creatures was on my meh list. It wasn’t fantastic, but it wasn’t horrible. It was a nice read, but it wasn’t one of my best. Beautiful Darkness was able to expand on the world created in the first novel and make the characters do things and grow in ways I didn’t see coming. I found myself losing sleep in order to read just a little bit more, rationing that decision with the power of caffeine. It takes quite a book to make me consider losing sleep.

The story of Ethan and Lena continues on shortly after the events of Beautiful Creatures. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’m not going to do much of a recap. I will say, however, that the events of the first book make everything that happens in this book make sense.

Lena is pulling away from Ethan and he doesn’t know why or what to do. She isn’t sure who she is or what she can do and that makes her worry about losing herself and hurting the people she loves. It’s more than the typically supernatural teen “I love you, but I can hurt you, so I’m going to leave” plotline. It doesn’t feel drawn-out or like the authors were trying to force something that wasn’t there.

I like that the story is told from Ethan’s point of view. It gives the complexity of the story just a touch of simplicity because we aren’t trying to figure out the Castor world as we try to figure out the problems the novel puts in front of us. We learn about the Castor world as Ethan does and as it ties into the story instead of trying to add more layers to an already complex story.

Beautiful Darkness makes up for what Beautiful Creatures lacked. There was a fantastic plotline, plus we got to explore Ethan and Lena as people. They grew and discovered things about themselves and the world that makes for a promising future in the next novels. I’m looking forward to getting started on the next book.

If Beautiful Darkness sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble
Amazon
IndieBound
Audible

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

I’m a little conflicted about this book. I liked some parts and other parts made me come dangerously close to just giving up on the book.

I enjoyed the attempt at mixing up the traditional YA book by writing in the lead male’s POV; however, he just didn’t seem male enough. As much as the 16/17 year old girls in Young Adult books don’t seem to fit the typical teen girl idea, Ethan was even further from the typical teenage male ideas. I can’t think of any guy I knew growing up that could focus on a girl’s clothing so much or how he was feeling towards her if it went beyond lust.

I did like the newer take on witches (Casters in this book) and their world. It was interesting to see a little bit different spin on the powers and abilities so many others have written about. It wasn’t entirely unique, but there was enough of a change to keep me interested.

The length of this book was entirely too long and the portrayal of the South is way too clichéd. It just didn’t work.

It took me nearly 200 pages to get interested enough to ignore the things I should be doing in favor of reading. This book just wasn’t my cup of tea, but I do know the select few friends I’d recommend this to. However, for the general public, I’m not sure it’s all it’s been made out to be.