Beautiful Chaos: A Beautiful Creatures Novel
“Eighteen Moons, eighteen fears,
The cries of Mortals fade, appear,
Those unknown and those unseen
Crushed in the hands of the Demon Queen…”
Dark enigmatic charm swims beneath every line of poetry in Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s bestselling series. In the third installment of Beautiful Creatures, Ethan Wate has another mystery to unravel. A cryptic ballad is delivered by his dead mother, and Ethan is charged with finding the answer to the riddle before the night of the 18th moon. He only wonders whose birthday will be the next Armageddon.
"The final pages are shocking, and the ending is absolutely mindboggling."
As before, the song Ethan and Lena can hear holds the key to the prophecy that determines the futures of every living person in Gatlin. In the deep South, they pretend to live normal lives, disguising Lena’s magical abilities as much as they can while their love matures and they go to class just like typical high school kids. But they are continually reminded of the presence of Abraham and Sarafine nearby, the two powerful dark casters who are planning attacks on the Caster World. The all-powerful dark mutant John Breed is also missing now; no clues have surfaced as to his whereabouts or intentions.
Abraham Ravenwood is hunting John while Macon spends his days hiding out with Liv in the depths of the tunnels, tracking the signs of the coming apocalypse. Lamenting the loss of a close friend in Ethan, Liv thinks about the boy she had wanted to be more. These days, Ethan hardly talks to her. But it’s painfully obvious that Lena is the only girl with the key to Ethan’s heart. The situation is complicated. Lena realizes that Ethan harbors residual feelings for Liv, a fact that’s impossible for him to deny because he and Lena share thoughts through kelting. But he’s not alone in having feelings for another person. The couple appears to be blissfully happy in spite of all this and totally in love. These just seem to be the chaotic times in which they now live.
Strange and surprising turns of events come in this third installment, particularly once Marion, the character I’d call the most charming in the series, is suspended from service. She has been accused by the Caster establishment of aiding a mortal and now awaits trial, locked up in her home. If convicted, she’ll be tossed into “the dark fires” of the Caster World. With chaos reigning everywhere, it seems that Ridley and Link are unlikely to be the exception to the rule. Link’s on-again/off-again relationship with the beautiful ex-siren is more interesting and captivating than ever.
Amma, of course, is a timeless person, as lovable and funny as always. But the Amma we know and love seems to be going a little crazy now. The pillar of Ethan’s home life is showing signs that she’s cracking, resorting to much more than filling the house with odd voodoo charms and delectable foods, and all the strange contraptions she’s so fond of. Amma may have gone too far this time. And Ethan is beginning to forget things, focusing too much on others when he should be more concerned for what’s happening in his own mind.
Within the front cover of BEAUTIFUL CHAOS, the authors forewarn of things to come: “Sometimes there’s no going back. And this time there won’t be a happy ending.” You’ve been warned. Reading the first half of BEAUTIFUL CHAOS, there seems to be an awful lot of buildup to get to those last chapters. But the buildup is significant and well worth it. The final pages are shocking, and the ending is absolutely mind-boggling. One of the many strengths of this dark fantasy is its many wonderful and charming characters, all of whom shine more than ever in this third book. That wait for the concluding installment is going to feel like a very long one.
Reviewed by Melanie Smith on December 17, 2011