Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review: Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Published by Little Brown
Date Published: October 18, 2011
Rating: 5/5
Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected - and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What - or who - will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself - forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask.

Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.

What can I say about this book to properly put into perspective how much I adored it? I don't think a string of random letters could do it justice. (i.e: akhdksfdlskajf) Which in the social media world basically means you are freaking out. I was like that the entire time I was reading this. Page after page, new things made me feel a wide range of emotions.

Whoever first said that sequels can never live up to the original was an idiot. In most cases I would agree, but not here. No way. This series has progressively gotten better and better. I know not everyone will agree, but for me that is the case. Beautiful Creatures was so amazing. It was our introduction to the world of the Casters and how Ethan would fit into it. Beautiful Darkness was even better with its expansion of the "known" Caster world connected by tunnels that weren't bound by human space/time. And finally--or better yet--so far, Beautiful Chaos which, if you can believe it, was even better than the previous two.

That's not to say that this was more action-packed or had more kickass moments or whatever, but just that the story line just keeps getting better and better. The further we go along in the series, the better we get to know the characters and the more we get to see of the Caster world. It's definitely some of the best world-building I've read in any series.

Though it takes place in a small town in South Carolina, it is so much bigger than you can imagine. I like to think of what stories could lie just on the other side of a few of the Caster tunnel doors. Is there a French family of Casters that Macon visits? Maybe some Blood incubuses (incubi?) in Bulgaria? In Beautiful Chaos, we get to travel further by tunnel than we did before. This time to the most haunted city in America, New Orleans. The tunnels were absolutely one of my favorite parts of Beautiful Darkness and the fact that we got to see more of them this time around, plus a few new "additions", was great!

The characters of Beautiful Chaos (the whole series really) are such an integral part of the story that there isn't one character that you could lose without compromising a lot of key elements in the plot. I love that we get the "old" Lena back in Chaos. In Darkness, I know I wasn't the only one pissed off by her actions, so it was great seeing her back to normal. Or as normal as any Natural Caster who claimed herself, split the seventeenth moon, and is now both Dark and Light.

Ethan is the same old Wayward. He thinks he's a glorified Caster compass, but he is far more than that. His character grew so much in this book that by the end he became less of a "supporting role" (even though he is the narrator) and more of a leading character.

Link, nicknamed "Linkubus" after being bit by the infamous John Breed in Beautiful Darkness, is now faster, stronger, and more appealing to the ladies now that he is (one-quarter) Incubus. His on and off girlfriend, former Siren, Ridley, after losing her Caster abilities at the end of Darkness, now has to live as a mortal and she hates every second of it. Though she still knows how to flaunt herself even without her Siren compulsions.

I could go on and on about each individual character (Macon, Amma, etc.), but we would be here forever. I am just impressed by how much character development goes on into each book.

If I haven't already made it clear, Beautiful Chaos is my new favorite book in the series. I am drawn in by the expanse of the story more than anything. I have true, unconditional love for this series and the two ladies that write it.

As an end note, I know that Beautiful Creatures is currently in the works for a movie deal, and I have nothing against that, but I see this story as much bigger than the silver screen. I think that the characters and the Caster world would fit perfectly alongside, say, The Vampire Diaries or The Secret Circle. Each distinctive in their own way, yet totally awesome! I doubt most of you would agree with me here, but I would much rather see this series developed for television where we actually get to see the character development and world-building that Kami and Margie put into the story rather than a quick two hour summary of the book.

What do you guys think? Would you be more excited for a television series or are you equally excited for a movie deal? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear your thoughts!

-Reviewed by Jeffrey


  1. I haven't read any of the other books in this series yet, so I just skimmed your review, but I have to say- this level of enthusiasm makes me kinda want to read this series now, even though I had been on the fence about it, since I am kinda over paranormal YA. I'll have to look into it more, but I'm definitely willing to be convinced! :D

  2. I'm excited to hear there's more about the tunnels in Beautiful Chaos. I enjoyed reading about the tunnels in BD. It was actually one of my favorite parts.
    Yay for Lena being back to normal! That was definitely one part of BD I didn't like.
    Fantastic review, I'm looking forward to reading Beautiful Chaos even more now :]

  3. Wow. Just wow. I have just finished reading Beautiful Chaos and I must say that your impassioned analysis does the myriad of reasons why this book is amazing justice. The character development, the wide range of emotions it evoked, and just that good old Beautiful Creatures feel are just one of a few.

    Great review, I have more to add but for that I should wrote my own rather than waste space on yours :P any thoughts on what the next book is going to be about/what happened to Ethan?

  4. I haven't read any of the books in the series yet but I have them all on my bookshelf. I can hardly wait to get to read them. I've heard a lot of really good things about this series.

    I'm a new follower :)

  5. Totally agree! fantastic series , each one better than the prior...can't wait for Book #4 to come out!

  6. I might sound dumb for asking this (beautifully written review, btw- you really hit it dead on with the description of the story) but do you know if there will be another book after Beautiful Chaos? I know I read that they planned for there to be four books in the series, but I just saw that there is another book out that follows Link and I'm not sure if that will count for all four books in the series (or if that book about Link is just a sister Novel)?

  7. The story you are thinking of is Dream Dark, which was just a short novella. Think of it as book 2.5. There will be another book, currently untitled but is finished, that will be out some time next fall. I hope this cleared up your confusion :)

  8. BubblerationableMay 21, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    NEW BOOK NEW BOOK NEW BOOK. HAPPY HAPPY. I am sooo excited for a new book after this. I love it even if it is cheesy. I don't really want to see the movie for the exact reason I don't want to see The Host movie or Matched. It wouldn't be the same. But I do hope the actor for Lena is pretty I haven't checked yet.