Spoilers ahead! If you haven’t already read the first three books in The Caster Chronicles (Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness, and Beautiful Chaos) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, do so immediately! They are AMAZING, and you can’t possibly understand the fourth book without reading these first!
Yesterday, fans of YA literature descended on Charleston, South Carolina, for YALLFest. Sadly, I was not among them. I’ve been feeling kind of crummy lately, so I decided to stay at home and get some much-needed rest. (This turned out to be a very good decision as I’ve been sick all weekend. Wouldn’t have been a good idea to be three hours away from home with the way I’ve been feeling.) Anyway, even though I wasn’t at this young adult book festival in person, I was there in spirit (and I hope I can be there physically next year).
Since my weekend was rather uneventful, I did get to spend a lot of time reading. This week’s pick was Beautiful Redemption, the fourth and final book in The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (one of the driving forces behind YALLFest, by the way). I had been looking forward to this book for a while, and my appetite was only whetted by seeing the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation of the first book, Beautiful Creatures. Beautiful Redemption was released on October 23rd, and I waited a little while to start reading it. (I had to finish a couple of other books, and I needed to re-familiarize myself with how Beautiful Chaos ended.) I started Beautiful Redemption at the beginning of this week, and I finally finished it this morning. At several points in this book, I had to put it down–not because it was bad, but because I had to calm down, breathe, and remind myself that the characters I’d come to love in the previous three books had to have a happy ending in this final one…even though things weren’t looking good for them at present. You see, I’ve become attached to these characters (as so often happens when I get absorbed in a series). I think part of it is because the major part of the action in these books takes place in South Carolina (my home state), in a community that’s not at all different from the one I live in now. I relate to these characters. No, I’m not a Caster (witch)–at least, I don’t think so–but I do know what it’s like to be different in a small southern town. It’s not easy, so I tend to root for anyone, real or fictional, who’s trying to survive when the odds are stacked against them…and when others keep telling them that what they’re trying is impossible. And things don’t get much more impossible than rewriting history and coming back from the dead…
Ethan Wate has sacrificed everything, even his very life, to restore Order to the world. He fell from the Summerville water tower to save everyone he loves. But death is not all it’s cracked up to be, and Ethan is determined to find a way back to his small town of Gatlin, his family, his friends, Amma, and the love of his life, Lena. He becomes even more determined when he realizes that his death was not something that had to happen. Horrible forces are rewriting destiny to suit their own ends, and Ethan may be the only one who has any hope of stopping them (and restoring his own life in the process). But Ethan needs help. This is a huge, seemingly impossible, task and one he can’t complete on his own. He needs to find a way to communicate with Lena and Amma and get their help to save the world…again.
Lena is heartbroken by Ethan’s death, but she knows that he’s somewhere out there watching over her. Ethan, however, may be even closer than Lena knows. When she sees things moving (things that only mean something to her and Ethan) and gets strange messages in the local newspaper’s crossword puzzles, Lena knows that Ethan is trying to reach her. It’s not always clear why Ethan needs the things he’s asking of her–river stones, an audience with the Greats, the Book of Moons–but Lena knows she must find a way to help him if she has any hope of uniting with Ethan one day. Getting these things, though, is the easy part. It then becomes Ethan’s job to use what Lena–and Amma–send him to fight the evil that is threatening to destroy the world that he sacrificed so much to save.
Ethan will face unspeakable horrors in his quest to return to Lena–old and new enemies alike. He’ll also encounter some unexpected allies along the way, those who have been tortured by the very being that Ethan must now destroy. But will Ethan’s quest to reverse his fate and prevent even more atrocities be successful? Can one young man defeat what he believed was his destiny and make it back to the life and love that mean so much to him? What bargains will he and those he loves have to make this time, and will they be worth what comes next? Nothing that Ethan is facing is easy, but he and his loved ones will do what they must to be reunited once more…no matter what the cost. Will it be enough? Is redemption possible? Read Beautiful Redemption to discover how far people are willing to go–and what hells they’re willing to travel through–to get just one more chance to be with the ones they love.
It should go without saying that I love this book…and the three books that preceded it. This whole Caster Chronicles series is made of awesome, and I just wish I had been able to make it to YALLFest to hear the authors talk about the series in person. (I would have also like to get my books autographed! Maybe next year.) Even though the ending of this series made me cry (which isn’t difficult since I’m a big softie), I was very satisfied with it. It ended the way it needed to, in my opinion. I applaud Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl on a truly excellent supernatural series, and I can’t wait to read more of their work in the future. Kudos!
If you’d like to learn more about this series, the authors, or the upcoming movie adaptation of Beautiful Creatures, I urge you to visit one (or more) of these sites:
You may also want to check out this book trailer for the entire series. It doesn’t give away much, but it does look pretty cool.