Welcome to the third instalment of our look-back over the Beautiful Creatures series, my review of book three, Beautiful Chaos. It’s not long until new series Dangerous Creatures is out, following the adventures of Link and Ridley in New York. Until then, here’s my thoughts on Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl…
Ethan Wates is in love with a Caster girl. When he looks at Lena, it’s like there’s no one else in the world.
But Ethan is Mortal, and on her seventeenth birthday Lena made a choice that changed everything The girl Ethan loves has broken the world with the supernatural powers she is struggling to control…
Now, if they are to fix the chaos Lena has caused, one of them must make a terrible sacrifice. Sometimes there isn’t just one answer. Sometimes there’s no going back. And this time there won’t be a happy ending.
Beautiful Chaos is part three of the Beautiful Creatures series; I liked the first book, and then very much enjoyed the second, Beautiful Darkness. The stakes are even higher, now that Lena has broken the Light/Dark dichotomy and chosen to be ‘herself’. She has aspects of both sides within her – like all of us – as testified by her now-mismatched eyes, one green, one gold. However, she’s not just broken the mould, she’s broken the underlying glue that makes the world keep functioning and, in order to make amends, one of our cast will have to make a huge personal sacrifice.
Once again, a sense of place is key in this book – Gatlin is the canvas on which the eponymous chaos is painted for all its residents to see, magical or not. To the untrained eye, it seems the weather has gone mad: it’s hot and dry even though it’s winter and there’s even what seems to be a tornado, although we know better. It’s actually the effect of Vexes, Dark creatures summoned by Abraham Ravenwood, wreaking havoc on Ethan’s home town and the lives of his nearest and dearest.
I appreciated the way in which the characters have evolved while still retaining their most important qualities. Some of this is due to what they’ve learned and experienced, but some changes are also due to incidents in the plot. Link has probably made the most significant transformation, due to a close encounter with an Incubus, and Riley has some difficult choices to face up to regarding where her true loyalties lie. After all, she’s experienced being mortal; perhaps she has more choice, like Lena, about how she behaves. It’s good to see some of the adult supporting characters taking key roles too; in so many YA adventures, adults have to be ‘got out of the way’ and a few still are – notably Ethan’s dad – but it’s fun to see these teens being part of a larger world rather stuck in a demographic featuring only fifteen-year-olds.
I don’t want to say too much about the plot line of this book, but I will mention that I was impressed by the way that Stohl and Garcia have been prepared to take risks with their readers’ expectations. There are a number of events in Beautiful Chaos that really surprised or even shocked me, and more than once I was moved to tears, especially by the way in which this book ends. Characters we’ve grown to sympathise with and care about over the series so far are not safe from a potential tragic ending. Equally, a character I thought was going to continue to be a big threat is defeated. I’m so glad that I already have the final book, Beautiful Redemption, waiting for me to read so I don’t have to be in suspense too much longer to find out what happens next. It’s one benefit of only coming to a series once they’ve all been published!
I’ve enjoyed each book so far in the Beautiful Creatures series more than the last. Beautiful Chaos has surprises, shocks, laughs and tears and some fascinating face-offs between characters you’d never expect, as well as being a really fun, fast-paced read. I just hope part four lives up to my expectations.
Dangerous Creatures is already out to preorder… In the meantime, look out next Friday for Kate’s review of the final part of the Beautiful Creatures series, Beautiful Redemption!