For Ethan and his hometown of Gatlin, South Carolina, it is the End of Days. The world is crumbling under their feet. The rivers are drying up, the grass is long dead, and the temperature rivals that of hell. The Mortal World and the Caster World are both in peril. Everything is splitting at the seams. Once again, Gatlin, seemingly the most quotidian, monotonous place in both realms, is the backdrop for the final showdown between good and evil. Light versus Dark. In a war like this, casualties are expected. Everyone will be tested. And not everyone will survive.
I have loved this series since the very beginning. In Beautiful Creatures I got to read about forbidden romance, magic, and the Southern lifestyle. That book is all of my favorite things rolled into one intoxicating story. Then Beautiful Darkness took it up a notch, leading me deeper into the depths of the Caster Tunnels. Now Beautiful Chaos takes the world I love and blows it to pieces—but I still love it.
Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl have created spectacular realms and beautiful worlds. However, I think the place I admire most is regular old human Gatlin. It is stuck in time, almost untouched by the world around it. Gatlin is a town the lives in the past, as exemplified by the members of the Daughters of the Revolution ruling the land and the annual mandatory Battle of Honey Hill reenactment. However, for all the gossipy, crazed antics, the people of Gatlin are kind of like one big family. They drive you crazy, but you love them anyway.
Ethan and Lena share a love story as old as time. Their forbidden love is so strong that the very fabric keeping the world together is tearing apart. True, this romance is echoed in almost every bestselling young adult book today. Yet readers keep flocking to and adoring books that all seem to have the same formula. Why? Belief in a love that is unattainable seems to break its way into the human heart, despite the fact that usually at least half of the doomed couple is not, technically, human. Forbidden love is always wrong and dangerous. Yet there is something in the beauty of that love that makes us hope. No matter how much supernatural flare a book possesses, love always seems to be the key ingredient. Maybe because, in so many ways, love is the closest thing we have to magic.
The characters all have remarkable chemistry. Beautiful Chaos isn’t the story of one single person or couple. It is very much about the ensemble, the entire cast of characters, each one cleverer then the next. The Southern flare mixed into the dialogue is full of fun and laughter. Considering the rather bleak subject matter of the end of the world, it is very refreshing to see that the characters maintain their humor.
Beautiful Chaos questions fate. Are humans really helpless against a greater power? Are we confined to our path without any hope of taking another direction? Or is there some way for us to change the cards we’ve been dealt? Better yet, do we want to? These are questions that are difficult to understand, and impossible to answer. Yet Beautiful Chaos gives us hope that if we try hard enough to do the right thing, something magical might happen.
Victoria Testa lives in New York City but is a beach bum at heart. When not writing or reading, she can be found surfing, swimming, and singing!