AudioBook Review Beautiful Creatures: Caster Chronicles #1 by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
I was a little late to this party, and while I had this title on a list of “when I get time” books, I hadn’t progressed further than that. Then the opportunity to review the AudioBook version of the title was offered, and I am very glad that I took a chance.
Totally unlike what I was expecting from a few moments of the film version I have seen, this story manages to transport the reader to a small South Carolina town, where everyone knows everyone else, and the leeway for being different or from elsewhere is miniscule. Told from Ethan’s point of view, the sixteen year old boy and his best friend Linc are very present and felt very realistic with moments that range from very ‘teen’ to very adult, and every emotion in between. Aside from a fairly normal small-town life, Ethan’s got nothing special going on. Until the dreams that alternate between spooky and realistic, and keep him puzzled
Lena Duchannes is a new arrival, niece of Malcolm/Melchizedek Ravenswood the town’s pariah that occupies the haunted Ravenswood Manor on ‘the other’ side of town, and Ethan sees the girl from his dreams. His fascination with her, and their growing bond is the crux of this story; with all of the townsfolk, including Ama, his family housekeeper, having their own say in the story.
The story is well-paced and secondary characters are introduced to fill in information that is needed as Ethan and Lena come to understand both the choices ahead of her, and the secrets that, it seems, everyone is keeping from them both. Occasionally the story went off into a tangent that didn’t necessarily feel as if it was needed, but I did discover that those tidbits of information became pertinent as the story continued.
Narration in this story is from Kevin T. Collins and I cannot say enough about his delivery and performance. First, as Ethan, his narrative voice felt proper and right, and sounded appropriate for a sixteen year old boy. In addition, his manipulations of voices to enact his elderly relatives, his housekeeper and the other women he encounters sounds like a boy recounting his day. He does not over-reach to be particularly ‘female’, as we are always clear that he is retelling, but there is a clear distinction for each character. His slightly condescending and drawling tone for Malcolm Ravenswood, the dopey yet enthusiastic voice of Linc and his rather vacant responses from his father all present those characters with a sense of difference and allow you to fit a description and mental picture to their character. Most importantly, Collins manages to incorporate that sense of sadness, confusion, anger or utter contentment that are required throughout the story, and this emotional flavor is present and palpable without overwhelming the reader or interfering with the reader’s impression of the story. It is rare that I complete an audiobook and don’t have the urge to read the written story, but I cannot find a reason why this narrator’s version cannot stand alone as a wonderful presentation.
The Audio version that I received had several insets of music, dream sequences, weather noises and other sound effects that worked particularly well with the story, with the ‘theme’ music of the haunting melody of what comes to be known as Sixteen Moons has a lovely transformation as the story continues, changing moods, speed, musical genre and even lead singer; all of which added to the tone and enjoyment.
Stars: Overall: 4 Narration: 5 Story: 4
Title: Beautiful Creatures
Author: Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
Genre: Literary Fiction /Family Saga, Urban Fantasy, Witches
Narrator: Kevin T. Collins
Published by: Hachette Audio
Source: Hachette Audio
Audio Length: 17 Hours: 38 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦Audible ♦Tantor Audio ♦Direct from Publisher
A copy of this title was provided via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.