I literally just finished reading Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. This is the second book in the series. I came across this series because of an article in a magazine. It was discussing what series or book would be the next Hunger Games, and this was one of the possibilities. The first book in the series is Beautiful Creatures. This book introduces the reader to the main characters, Ethan Wate and Lena Duchannes. Ethan is the typical high school student and becomes enamored with new student Lena. He feels an extremely strong connection to her. Quickly, it is discovered that Lena is a Caster, a type of witch. She belongs to a parallel world filled with Light and Dark Casters that are competing with each other to be dominant. Lena is coming to an age where it will be determined whether she will be Light or Dark. She ends up not having her fate determined for her like the rest of her family, but she is giving the choice between the two. However, whichever side she chooses, all of her family members on the other side will die. Then a bunch of stuff happens, and Lena ends up not having to choose either side until her next birthday.
This gets us into Beautiful Darkness. This book begins with the funeral for Lena’s Uncle Macon, who died at the end of the first book because of a spell cast by Lena to save Ethan from dying (however, she did not know that Macon would take Ethan’s place). Macon is the closest thing Lena has had to a father and he has provided tons of guidance during this particular time in her life. This leads to her being completely devastated by his death. She blames herself for killing him because of the spell she cast. Lena begins to pull away from Ethan and starts turning more and more dark. Ethan continuously tries to connect with Lena, but she always pushes him away.
Lots of other worldly stuff happens that helps Ethan understand what he has to do, but mostly it confuses him until near the very end. Basically, lots of stuff that probably wasn’t expected early on happens to make it so that Ethan can save Lena from going Dark, but also makes it so Lena really doesn’t have to choose one side or the other (at least for now). There is also a small skirmish that results in Ethan’s mortal best friend, Link, becoming a weird Incubus/mortal/maybe Caster hybrid. The story continues with the third book of the series, Beautiful Chaos.
I wasn’t necessarily a huge fan of Beautiful Creatures, but I was intrigued enough to continue the series. The second book did a much better job of keeping my interest with a lot more going on the whole time. However, both books do seem to drag a bit with details that don’t seem to matter much getting too much attention and just being wordy overall. Both books are pretty long (I don’t remember the length of the first one, but this one is around 500 pages), and there are points where I just wanted the authors to get on with it rather than describing every little thing. Overall though, I am enjoying the series and am excited to get the third book from the library in the next couple days.