Why you should never judge the book by the movie trailer (but it’s okay to judge the movie)

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Gracia and Margaret Stohl

And that might be unfair. I haven’t actually seen the movie so it might be better than the trailer is making it out to be.

Okay well enthusiastic movie producers are hoping they’ve found the next Twilight in this YA novel. That’s brutally unfair to this book. For one thing it’s way better than Twilight. For another, they are similar only in the most superficial ways.

Straight up, I’m not putting this book on my list of top five books ever. Probably not even on my list of top 100 books ever. But it wasn’t too bad. Certainly better than I expected. Things I liked about it included a fantastic cast of supporting characters, a first person narrator who was male in a book I have to assume is mostly being throwing at girls and the feeling of being trapped in a small town where nothing ever changes. I can’t even really decide what about it I didn’t like. I mean, other than the fact I had to read it in five days because it was due back to the library. I think it was mostly just that the writing was pretty unremarkable. Which you can get away with if the story is completely astounding (completely astounding writing can make up for a mediocre story) but this story wasn’t. The twists and turns were you know, pleasant and drive the narrative, but they’re hardly shocking. If I had more time and fewer library books I’d probably be able to make a really long check list of tropes that this book plays straight. Combined with a generic writing style it’s just kind of … a good book.

But to continue on a more positive note I return to my list of things I liked. Many of the secondary characters were quite wonderful. My favourites include the typical but lovable idiot sidekick best friend Link, the awesome librarian Marion (not biased! I swear) and Macon the creature of the night uncle. Ethan was also pretty lovable, and an interesting choice of narrator since he’s well, male and it’s a …. (shudder) “girly” book. I think it was a good choice even if I’m not sure the writers really got the teenage male internal dialogue quite right all the time.

I love Buffy, I totally do but Joss Whedon abandoned the “trapped in a small town” thing after the first season. It’s hard to set things in small towns. They’re boring. I understand why Sunnydale grew into a university town in four years. Small towns suck.  I’m definitely not an expert on being a teenager in a small town, but I was one not that long ago and Beautiful Creatures did a fantastic job of looking at what it’s like to be a young person with new ideas and interest in a little place where everyone has lived there forever and thinks you’re absolutely nuts for wanting something else.  That was so well handled. If this book deserves a gold star for anything, it’s that.

So anyway, I probably won’t reread it ever, but I don’t regret my frantic reading over the last week either. Beautiful Creatures – check it out and try to be as genre blind as possible or you’ll be able to see the end before it happens.

Last movie I watched: Still Lawless. Man, I got to get on that

Last TV episode: DOWNTON ABBEY. Still can’t talk about it.


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