by Kami Garcia
and Margaret Stohl
Is death the end . . . or only the beginning?
Ethan Wate always dreamed of leaving the stifling Southern town of Gatlin.
But he never dreamt that finding love with Lena Duchannes would drive him away. Lena is a Caster girl whose supernatural powers unveiled a secretive and cursed side of Gatlin, so powerful it forced him to make a terrible sacrifice.
Now Ethan must find a way to return to Lena – and Gatlin – as she vows to do whatever it takes to get him back. Even if it means trusting old enemies or risking their loved ones’ lives.
Can Ethan and Lena rewrite their fate and their spellbinding love story in this stunning finale to the Beautiful Creatures series?
***May Contain Minor Spoilers from the first three Caster Chronicles Books***
When Ethan Wate jumped off the water tower at the end of Beautiful Chaos to save the world, I told myself, “No problem, it’s not like they can really kill him off. He’s the main character. Book four will be awesome however the authors write it. I have faith.” I also had to bite back the urge to scream “Nooooooooooooooooooo! Don’t jump!” really loud since I was riding the train at the time, but common sense and good commuter etiquette won. As soon as book four, Beautiful Redemption, came in the mail, I made sure I didn’t have anything else on my plate. I purposely cleared my schedule so I could finish out this series distraction free.
So I dug in, and I cried like a baby all through the first hundred pages of this book. Ethan wakes up in his house, finding someone downstairs cooking that he thought he’d never see again. But this isn’t the same Gatlin that he knows and loves, and it turns out that he wasn’t supposed to wind up in this other Gatlin. His long lost loved ones try to convince him that it’s impossible to return to Lena–to the land of the living, but Ethan is determined to get back to her no matter what the cost. This first part of the book was so emotional and raw as Ethan met up with his loved ones–which I won’t spoil who they are–and he realizes that he’s no longer a part of the living world. Lena can’t see or hear him, and it’s very hard for him to break through to anyone on the other side. His frustration as he frantically tries to get messages across to her is so palpable, I just felt the desperation and longing.
But Ethan is given hope in learning that he can travel to the Far Keep to possibly win back his life, but the journey is nearly impossible. He has some great help along the way, and the new characters introduced were well rounded and interesting. The other world he travels through is vivid and imaginative without being too weird.
Meanwhile, Lena isn’t giving up hope that Ethan can somehow contact her from the other side–letting her know that he’s okay. She’s willing to go to extraordinary lengths to get Ethan back. For the first time in the Caster Chronicles books, we get to hear from Lena in the form of the middle part of the book being written in Lena’s point of view. It was a nice change of pace to be inside of her head with her poetry, her magic, her despair, but most of all her hope at getting Ethan back when everyone else just seems to have accepted his death. Even Ethan’s best friend Link, who’s now a succubus, seriously doubts they have a chance at getting Ethan back, but he’s willing to do anything no matter how dangerous or stupid on the off chance that Lena is right.
Beautiful Redemption has the comedic moments you expect from Link, the Sisters, and Ethan to break up the tension, and there are also some serious battles fought within its pages. Death does not escape several of the characters, both major and minor. The writing is solid, beautifully descriptive, and the series ends on a high note. I give this one a five out of five, and I highly recommend this series to just about anyone. But be prepared with some tissues, I’m not a cryer and I sobbed through the first and last third of this book.
“Here Endeth the Caster Chronicles.”
Seriously, that last line of the book just made my heart hurt. I really hope to see some more stories from the Caster universe some day. But I do have the Beautiful Creatures movie to look forward to in February 2013, so I have some solace in that.