01 November 2012

Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Is death the end . . . or only the beginning?

Ethan Wate has spent most of his life longing to escape the stiflingly small Southern town of Gatlin. He never thought he would meet the girl of his dreams, Lena Duchannes, who unveiled a secretive, powerful, and cursed side of Gatlin, hidden in plain sight. And he never could have expected that he would be forced to leave behind everyone and everything he cares about. So when Ethan awakes after the chilling events of the Eighteenth Moon, he has only one goal: to find a way to return to Lena and the ones he loves.

Back in Gatlin, Lena is making her own bargains for Ethan's return, vowing to do whatever it takes -- even if that means trusting old enemies or risking the lives of the family and friends Ethan left to protect.

Worlds apart, Ethan and Lena must once again work together to rewrite their fate, in this stunning finale to the Beautiful Creatures series.
For the final installment in the Caster Chronicles, I had in mind a sweeping conclusion with a racing, pulse-wrecking climax and heart-fluttery ending.  I didn't get what I had hoped for.  I had wanted to like this book so much; I was so excited to finally read it, and yet I was left going, "What the heck?" around the two hundred page mark.  What had started out as an interesting, complex plot turned into a twisting, incomprehensible mess.

Unlike the first three books, Beautiful Redemption is broken into three parts: the first and third in Ethan's point of view, and the second part in Lena's.  While the first part had built up the suspense nicely, carefully stacking up conflict until the characters seemed backed into a corner, I felt things began to fall apart when Lena's narration took over.  (It's quite possible that Lena's POV and the plot fumbling have nothing to do with each other, they just happened to come at the same time.)  The plot became rushed and random things happened.  (And not in the charming, Rick Riordan style.  These things were random and unexplained.)  The confusion made for lack of interest.  By the time the (entirely predictable) ending came around, I was left going, "What is supposed to be going on here?"

Also, Lena's POV only solidified how much I didn't really like her.  I didn't dislike her the same way I dislike Bella Swan types.  Lena was just unimpressive to me.  She cried too much and fell apart at all the wrong moments.  And she had all this power at her fingertips and yet she didn't use it when a crisis called for it?  That stuff was a major turn off.  On the flipside, I saw a lot of growth in Ethan.  I felt like he had actually changed in the course of the story, whereas Lena remained suspended in time.

The writing in Beautiful Redemption lost a lot of the charm of the previous book.  With all the telling and no showing, it had lost a lot of the cleverness that I had so much admired in Beautiful Chaos.  Half the time, I was groaning at the truly awful dialogue that had suddenly degraded halfway through and the rest of the time, I was left in utter confusion.  Several times I had to backtrack and try to figure out what was going on.  Not an appealing trait in any book, let alone the conclusion to a series.

My lack of love for Beautiful Redemption makes me want to shed a few tears since I've had the chance to reflect over the entire series and I've realized that I haven't truly loved any of the books.  While I appreciated the depth of the world and frankly adored Amma's little sayings, the romance was the driving force behind it all.  And I never could fully get into the romance because I never liked Lena.  I'm glad to have read the entire series, though.  Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl built a fantastic world and very detailed (if sometimes confusing) plot, peppered with a cast of amazing characters.

Book Info
  • pages - hardcover, 464
  • published - October 2012
  • publisher - Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • genre - paranormal romance 
  • received via - Amazon :)
  • rating - 4/5
  • series - Caster Chronicles
    • Beautiful Creatures
    • Beautiful Darkness
    • Beautiful Chaos
    • Beautiful Redemption