Title: Beautiful Chaos
Author: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Sigh. I think I have a like/dislike complex with this series. It’s well written enough to not be a guilty pleasure, and yet this book, more so than the others, really puts the weaknesses of the authors on display. In fact, I think I might even go so far as to say it’s the weakest of the three.
1. It’s slow to start. Again. Beautiful Creatures was like this, but Beautiful Darkness got going right away. That book also had the by of it being the first book in the series so some time to set up the world isn’t unexpected (even if it did take longer than my patience would normally allow)
2. It feels like almost characterization, save for Link’s, has more or less ground to a halt here. For the most part, all of these characters feel like they’re in the same spot they were at the beginning of the story. Ethan does mature some, but the biggest crime is Amma. I don’t know what they did to Amma here but it just doesn’t feel right at all. She’s always been one of the rocks of the book and it feels like she’s come unhinged. When you find out her reasons for doing so, you kind of get it, but it’s still hard to shake the feeling that she wouldn’t have responded in that manner.
3. The Deus-Ex Machina/hand-waving aspects of this book are stronger than they’ve ever been and that is not a good thing. The books have always had an issue with this – like an adult just happening to turn up where they are needed at just the right time, but I feel this book takes it from minor annoyance to it’s how the whole plot actually works. Like a certain character develops a power it doesn’t really make sense for him to have (that of course becomes very important at the end) and someone calls him out on it and we get a platitude and hand-wave dismissal.It’s feeling more and more like lazy writing.
4. I feel like the plot doesn’t make as much sense as it could. Basically, as a result of Lena’s Claiming, things are batshit cray cray not only in the world but also to Ethan personally. But why? Ethan is, even for his place in the world, essentially Mortal. This stuff shouldn’t be effecting him. There is an explanation at the end that kind of works, but still feels like one of those “oh.” moments. And the big reveal of who The One Who is Two is really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.
In the end I didn’t hate this book, but it certainly didn’t live up to my expectations either.
Recommendation: Borrow it.