Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.
Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.
Beautiful Darkness is the second book in the Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, and as much as I’m enjoying the storyline, I feel like I’m constantly wading through molasses. This book was much darker and gloomier than the first one, and I’m honestly more interested in the story of what is going to happen to Link in the third book, rather than of Ethan and Lena. For me, the books are very slow paced and it feels like you can draw a line down the center of the story; on one side you have Southern culture and on the other you have the magical world of the Casters, but the two are not blended seamlessly enough to really pull me into the story. The setting of the book, a small town in South Carolina almost seems to take over the pages and become a main character of the story itself. That being said, I did love the characters, especially Ethan and his best friend Link, who stood by Ethan no matter what crazy, or sometimes dangerous, paths they begin travel. Lena I could kind of take or leave in this story; she understandably changed because of the death of her uncle Macon, but she pulled away from Ethan at a time when she needed him most and let herself be influenced by the darker forces surrounding her. Things in the Caster world are thrown out of order when Lena chooses to be neither Dark nor Light Caster, saving most of her family members from the curse surrounding her decision. What really did spark my interest was the interesting mystery shrouding Ethan’s family history and as more secrets are revealed, the deeper entwined into the Caster world he becomes.