Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's "Beautiful Chaos"
*This review contains spoilers.
Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's riveting Beautiful Creatures and its sequel Beautiful Darkness both come to a head in the third book in the series, Beauiful Chaos.
At the beginning of the third installment, mortal Ethan and Castergirl Lena have gone through a lot together: Lena's own mother trying to kill her on her Sixteenth Moon, the Light or Dark Claiming that was supposed to kill half of Lena's family, Macon Ravenwood's alleged death. Things seem to have finally worked out for the couple. After finding out that Macon was still alive, Lena also discovered a loophole in the Claiming curse: she claimed herself Light and Dark, avoiding the the deadly part of the curse, which greatly angered Fate. She finally returns to school with Ethan at her side. However, Ethan is not quite sure that everything is settled when he begins having dreams of himself fighting for his life against his doppelganger of sorts on top of a water tower. Can the messages in these dreams be interpreted before it's too late to save not only Gatlin, but the whole world?
Garcia and Stohl carried the apocalyptic imagery over from Beautiful Darkness. "The Vexes shot out from the flames of the Dark Fire, black streaks tearing across the sky" (Beautiful Darkness, location 6754). Instead of just Lena's world being rocked, it's now the physical world. "As the crack spread, the ground opened up, and dirt poured into the fissure like quicksand being sucked into a hole" (Beautiful Chaos, location 6689). Words such as tearing and sucked seem to forshadow an unpleasant future ahead of Ethan and Lena, which is exactly what follows. This is detailed throughout the whole book.
At the end, Ethan is not only forced to leave Lena, but everyone he loves, by sacrificing himself to save Gatlin from the wrath brought upon Lena by her claiming. His nightmares are brought to life when he climbs a water tower only to be confronted with the "other Ethan." Despite the other Ethan's best efforts to stop him, the real Ethan Wate throws himself of the side of the water tower, thinking of Lena the whole way down.
Was it necessary for the whole book to be brooding and overbearing with sadness and destruction, or is there forshadowing throughout the whole novel into the fourth and final book, Beautiful Redemption? Following patterns in previous Garcia/Stohl titles, the final installment promises to be an uplifting change from the preceding three.
I personally find the destruction to be overbearing, and almost a waste of my time and devotion to reading the book. There are little glimmers of light dispersed throughout, hopefully a precedent to a happier, final book. Because the destruction of these two lives is not something I care to see dragged into a fourth novel.
Overall, Beautiful Chaos is a very good, but not great book. Garcia and Stohl write an ending that is quite attention catching, and leaves you wanting more, a quality all good authors should have. However, an epic ending and charismatic characters do not make up for the lack of enthralling plot throughout pieces of the story.
If you're looking for a book that drags a certain point through the mud many times, Beautiful Chaos is the book for you. If you're looking for a book with a lot of destruction and, well, chaos, this is the one you're looking for.
If the same repeating idea/plot of destruction and repair bores you, then this is not the series or novel for you. If you're wanting a dynamic novel that moves through many obstacles, keep looking.
While not totally thrilling, Beautiful Chaos certainly has it moments on both ends of the excitement spectrum. Boredom and thrill are relevent to each reader and how each recieves the storyline and emotions portrayed in the text. Perceptions relevent to myself are good, but not quite up to their typical writing standard. I am waiting anxiously for the final book, not totally because of the cliffhanger, but I want to see if Garcia and Stohl can redeem themselves in Beautiful Redemption, the final chapter in Ethan Wate and Lena Duchannes' story.