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.
(BEWARE! THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE PLOT AND STORYLINE OF BOTH BEAUTIFUL CREATURES AND BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS)
The book starts at Macon’s funeral, who died in the battle with Lena’s Dark Caster mother, Sarafine. Ethan thinks that Macon was killed by his brother Hunting but in fact it was Lena who made the Trade when she used the Book of Moons to safe Ethan’s life. His life for Macon’s. Now Lena, riddled with guilt, is pulling away from Ethan. She’s not talking to him anymore, not Kelting (talking to each other by telepathy), she’s not even writing in her spiral notebooks anymore. Ethan is scared that something might happen to her, or that she might do something to herself. Because while Lena has still not been claimed, her dark side is showing more and more. Her once green eyes have changed, too. One is still a deep green, the colour of a Light caster, the other is a bright yellow, the colour of a Dark caster. Ethan’s fears are increasing with the arrival of Lena’s Dark caster cousin, Ridley and her strange friend John Breed.
Meanwhile, Ethan is dealing with some stuff of his own. He is having strange visions about Abraham Ravenwood, Macon when he was younger and about the girl he was in love with. Without any clue as to what they’re about, why he is seeing these visions and without Lena to talk to, he’s pretty much at wit’s end. This is until relief comes to him in a pretty, blonde and British package called Olivia (Liv), who is Marian’s research assistant. With Lena being all dark and moody, Liv provides a nice distraction from it all.
On the last day of school Lena announces that she and her family are leaving town and that Ethan won’t be coming with them. With the arrival of Ridley and John, Lena’s behaviour is becoming more and more Dark. She spirals out of control on the day of the Town Fair where she, Ridley and John make bugs appear at the baking contest, possibly as payback for seeing Ethan talking to Liv. When Ethan tries to get to her and talk to her, he is brutally pushed aside by John Breed, who turns out to be more than Mortal. However, he isn’t a Incubus like Macon as he walks in the sun.. so what is he?
Lena disappears with Ridley and John into the Tunnels and Ethan tries to go after them but he can’t find them. He then goes straight to the Lunae Libri to find Marian, a Keeper, with the hope that she can help them. However, when they find her, she’s not alone. Liv is with her, who turns out to be a Keeper-in-Training. Liv has another surprise for him. She thinks that Ethan is a Wayward, a Mortal who helps important Casters find their way. Along with Liv, Ethan and Link go into the Tunnels in the hope of finding Lena. Eventually they find her in a Caster Bar where Ethan is shocked to see Lena dancing with John.
When they all make their way back to Gatlin, Ethan goes to see Lena at her mansion where Lena tells Ethan that she is leaving her family to go with Ridley and John. When Ethan tries to convince her not to, she says that she will and that she will put a Cast on Ethan to keep him from telling anyone about her plans.
This book was.. a filler. There I said it. I’m sorry but if you cut out the unnecessary pieces from this book, you would be able to fit the whole storyline in a couple of chapters. Seriously, what really happens in this book? Sure there are some important plot twists and some more people are getting involved and all but that could have been just as easily incorporated into another book. We basically spent a whole book chasing Lena, trying to stop her from becoming Dark and meeting some obstacles along the way. There could have at least been some big stand off in the end of the book, some Abraham and Sarafine action at least, but even that wasn’t happening. Basically all that happened is that Lena claimed herself (finally) for .. wait for it.. both the Light and Dark. As in: she still hasn’t made a decision. Gosh.
I do have to say, I did like the plot twists that came out in this book. I liked the way that they involved Ethan’s mother more, how they brought back Macon and introduced more of the Ravenwood family tree. I adore Liv and her Britishness, Lucille and her tricks and I definitely like that Ethan’s family is more involved than he knew about.
I don’t know what to think about Ethan being a Wayward. To be honest the biggest impact that information had for me is that I couldn’t get the “Carry on my Wayward, son” out of my head. By the end of the book it still hadn’t been explained properly what a Wayward really was, why he’s important and what he’s supposed to be doing as a Wayward. Sure, he has to direct an important Caster but still.. the idea is very abstract.
In the end, Beautiful Darkness continues the theme of impending doom and impossible love. To be honest, I thought that Lena dumping Ethan was easily comparable to Edward dumping Bella in New Moon. That’s not a good thing. Also, it could have moved a little faster, which I also said about Beautiful Creatures. Oh and what happened to Link in the end was completely ridiculous. Not necessary at all.
I’m reading Beautiful Chaos now. I wish I was a little more excited about this.