Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{February 14, 2013}   {Review} Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl:: The Book Versus The Movie

6304335From Goodreads: Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.


Truth be told, I struggled to get “into” this novel in the very beginning.  I think one of the most jarring things for me was that it’s told from Ethan Wate’s point of view, instead of Lena’s, and I wasn’t expecting that based on the synopsis.  As the synopsis begins with Lena, and the story is really about Lena, I thought it’d be her point of view.  Of course, as I thought about it, I realized that it’s fitting that we get Ethan’s point of view instead, and once I wrapped my head around that, I was fine, but initially, that wasn’t what I was expecting at all.  And to add to that, the story seemed to crawl along for a fairly long time.  It wasn’t until the dinner scene in Lena’s house, maybe about 100 pages in(?), that I actually became interested in what was happening.  Up until that point, we’re given the background information needed, and the characters are fleshed out, but as little action went on, I wasn’t that enamored.  Once the dinner scene came and went, though, I was very interested in the story, and I had a hard time putting the novel down.  I loved the twists and turns, the time travel, the mystery and intrigue, and the struggle between light and dark, not to mention the love story.  There are a ton of really great characters in the novel, and though this is a rather long novel, it was very well done.  Garcia kept me guessing as I read, and I highly enjoyed the story she wove, using the deep South, both past and present, to knit it all together.

Both Lena and Ethan are great characters.  Their fight to beat the odds in a town so set in its ways made me love them right away, and even though the adults in their lives weren’t always on their side, I enjoyed the trust and interactions between them all, even when the town went semi crazy over Lena’s presence.  Ethan is a great boyfriend, and his connection to Lena and their past, as it is ever slowly revealed, was so much fun to uncover.  Garcia did a great job on this novel and I definitely recommend it to readers of all ages.  Four stars.

4 stars

I purchased this novel from Borders.


Beautiful-Creatures-Movie-PosterNow, the movie, on the other hand, well… if you’re not absolutely dying to see it, then don’t.  My friend and I went to see this movie together, knowing that, as directors usually do, changes would take place, but I wasn’t expecting more than half the book to be cut out and changed!!  That’s right, I’d say about 70% of the movie is different from the book, and that was quite depressing.  For starters, the accents jarred me.  Now, I know this is a book that takes place in the deep South, but I was pretty sure somewhere in the novel it stated that neither Lena or Ethan had southern accents.  In the movie, they do.  But that’s okay, no big deal (and I could be wrong, anyway).  It was the initial 30 minutes of the movie that drove me nuts, though. Someone, the director perhaps, made a very bad decision regarding the length of the movie versus the length of the book.  Now, I know that movies can’t add it all, or we’d be sitting in the theater for days, but you can’t very well take a 570+ book and turn it into a 2 hour movie.  Nope.  Can’t do it.  Not without cutting out way too much, and changing way too much.  And that’s what they did.  Add in the choppy flow of events, a few sad special effects, some semi-decent acting, and you’ve got Beautiful Creatures.

What really irked me was that the movie cut out nearly all the school scenes, which make up such a huge part of the book.  Ethan’s not a basketball player, and we barely see him, or Lena, interact with those in school.  Never mind the choppiness and jumping from “hello” with Lena’s tattoo stating she had 104 days left, to the next scene of “hi again, instant love” with Lena only having 79 days… but everything that Garcia worked so hard to create in order to give the story backbone was missing.  Characters were missing!  In fact, the entire ending is different… I haven’t read the second novel in the series, but I’m not sure how they’re going to make the second movie align with the novel if the ending of the first movie didn’t align… ugh.  But I think what really clinched it for me was the dinner scene.  The special effects used (or lack thereof) made the whole dinner scene look like a children’s Disney ride.  And… for such a serious scene, the comedic relief added to the movie irked me more than it made me smile.  Not. The. Same. And that “comedy” ran throughout the movie.  But it wasn’t funny.  Not really, and it sort of ruined things for me.  Overall, I found the movie to be too choppy, too short, and too different for my liking.  Which is sad, really.  So, if you don’t have to see the movie, don’t.  Read the book.  It’s a much better use of your time.  One and a half stars for the movie.

1.5  stars

I purchased my theater tickets at the local theater.


et cetera
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