AudioBook Review Beautiful Creatures: Caster Chronicles #1 by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

AudioBook Review

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

AudioBook Review Beautiful Creatures: Caster Chronicles #1 by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Title: Beautiful Creatures
Author: Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
Genre: Literary Fiction /Family Saga, Urban Fantasy, Witches
Narrator: Kevin T. Collins
Published by: Hachette Audio
Format:Audiobook
Source: Hachette Audio
Pages: 563
Audio Length: 17 Hours: 38 minutes
Rated: four-stars
Heat: One Flame

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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.

About Kami Garcia

Kami Garcia is the #1 New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal & international bestselling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures Novels (Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos & Beautiful Redemption). Beautiful Creatures has been published in 50 countries and translated in 39 languages. The Beautiful Creatures movie released in theaters on February 14, 2013.

Kami is also the author of Unbreakable, the first book her paranormal solo series, THE LEGION (coming October 1, 2013.

Kami grew up outside of Washington DC, wore lots of black, and spent hours writing poetry in spiral notebooks. As a girl with Southern roots, she has always been fascinated by the paranormal and believes in lots of things “normal” people don’t. She’s very superstitious and would never sleep in a room with the number “13″ on the door. When she is not writing, Kami can usually be found watching disaster movies, listening to Soundgarden, or drinking Diet Coke.

Kami has an MA in education, and taught in the Washington DC area until she moved to Los Angeles, where she was a teacher & Reading Specialist for 14 years. In addition to teaching, Kami was a professional artist and led fantasy book groups for children and teens. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, son, daughter, and their dogs Spike and Oz (named after characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer).(

About Margaret Stohl

Margaret Stohl is the #1 New York Times, PW, USA Today, LA Times and Internationally bestselling co-author of the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES NOVELS (Fall 2009-2012) and author of THE ICONS SERIES (Spring, 2013.)

Writing has gotten me in and out of trouble since I was 15 (back then, mostly just in trouble.) For 10 years, I designed &/or wrote for lots of video games, one of which was nominated for “Most Innovative Game Design,” but I lost to a rapping onion. If you know games you get why my two bad beagles are named Zelda and Kirby.

School: I spent more years in it than a person ever should, because let’s face it, reading books is so much better than having a job. I fell in love with American literature at Amherst and Yale, earned an MA in English from Stanford, and studied creative writing under the late great poet George MacBeth at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. I taught Intro to Film as a TA at Yale and Romantic Poetry as a TA at Stanford. Don’t tell the people at Yale but sometimes I taught the section before I’d seen the movie it was about...

I live in Santa Monica, CA, with my family, most of whom were enslaved into working with me in one form or another on my first YA book for Little, Brown. I’m not kidding; when my daughters wanted to go to school I said “Why are you so selfish? Get back in there and edit,” and by said I mean yelled and maybe threw things, it’s all a haze. Now the Beautiful series has wrapped, but you can see the movie on February 13, 2013 or read my new book ICONS on May 7th. Nothing gold can stay, Ponyboy.

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