Mook Review: Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures – Novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl



As a huge fan of young adult fantasy, I was disappointed to find such a well-talked about novel to be so boring.  “Beautiful Creatures” was really nothing to write home about.  I found it quite erratic, the characters underdeveloped, and the plot line muddled.  When I first read the synopsis, I really felt this concept had potential but it was a story perched up on a fence, teetering one way and then the other.  Basically, I felt Beautiful Creatures was doomed to fail in general.

One issue I really had with this novel was the various story lines that all were supposed to “come together” in the end.  The problem was, they didn’t.  The way each plot line written seemed very processed and artificial; from the Civil War flashbacks, to Casters and Seers, and secret libraries, there was nothing truly concrete about it.  Each character was lacking depth and was so cookie cutter and stereotyped I just couldn’t get into it.  The character of Ridley in particular was most disappointing; when she first shows up in her sexy outfit, blonde and pink hair, and sucking on a lollipop I couldn’t stop my eyes from rolling.  It took a lot for me to even finish Beautiful Creatures and I was totally dissatisfied.

When it comes to Young Adult series, skip this one.  There are so many better series out there to read (Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, even Divergent and the Matched trilogy) and Beautiful Creatures will just leave you disappointed and feeling like you’ve wasted your time.

“Beautiful Creatures” – Directed by Richard LaGravenese 



My expectations for the “Beautiful Creatures” film were somewhat in the middle.  I felt that there was a standout cast here and sometimes a good script is all you need to amplify a story.  Specifically, I was looking forward to seeing Viola Davis, Emmy Rossum, and Jeremy Irons and their portrayals of Amma, Ridley, and Macon, but I was well aware that the movie could be a total bust.

Frankly, the movie could have been a lot worse.  I’ll start by saying Emmy Rossum totally put Ridley in a new light, rather than just the sexy Siren who is so stereotypical and far fetched in the book, she was attractive and sultry in a much more realistic way in the film.  I was shocked to find myself smitten with Alden Ehrenreich as Ethan Wate; he was incredibly charming and adorable – everything the character in the novel was lacking.  However, I couldn’t say the same about Alice Englert as Lena.  She was just so…. blah, for a character that was supposed to be so powerful.

Truthfully, there wasn’t much that could have been done to make the movie amazing given the story line, but I found they did a good job.  Taking away all the little sub-plots that seemed pointless (the “Sixteen Moons” son, Ethan’s Dad, etc) really helped focus on what was important with the story.  But even with all that the story was just ok.  In light of the recent franchise movie surge, I doubt “Beautiful Creatures” will really take off.  There is too much competition out there, and this story is just too contrived and artificial.

Mook Rating  ★


22 thoughts on “Mook Review: Beautiful Creatures

  1. I completely agree with your evaluation of the novel. I, for one, was looking forward to reading it due to its concept seeming like something right up my street. Unfortunately the ending was a huge anti-climax, offering no resolutions and a forced ‘sequel gateway’. The only character I felt had some form of dimension to her was Amma, and I think that was more because of the authors’ sense of place and environment in the book, which, to be fair, they nailed.

    I have yet to see the film, but I am looking forward to it as this may be one of those films that makes a better screenplay when condensed to film length. The one gripe I have with it so far, having only seen the posters and trailers, is how generic and small town they seem to have made Lena. Yes she is beautiful, but one of the things I loved about her in the novel is her quirky, alternative style which sets her apart from the other girls in her school. While she is ultimately judged for the being related to the town ‘hermit’, it brings up a great parallel with being bullied for being ‘goth’ or ‘alternative’ or just generally different in High School, and I am worried that will be lost.

  2. I could not agree with you more. As someone that has read all the books (just because once I start a series i need to see just how bad it is or if it does get better!) I too think the characters were a lot blander on text rather than on screen. But again, yes Alice Englert gave Lena nothing, as she is the ONLY developed character in the book and in film lacks everything she is written as! Such a fair review!

  3. I just started reading the book two days ago and I’m already getting bored. :( I thought I would enjoy this one after hearing all the hype and seeing the movie previews. I definitely get the feeling this is one of those rare cases where the movie is better than the book! I enjoyed your review!

  4. I almost read this book… it kept popping up everywhere, and I thought, why not? Then I saw reviews like yours, and decided against it. There’s a bunch of other YA books that are or will be movies soon, though. Some of them have to be more worth the time.

  5. I read the book a while ago and it was okay- it wasn’t my favorite, and i bought the second one and i started and haven’t finished because i was so bored. Then when I heard they were making a movie out of it I was astonished because I didn’t think it was that interesting! I’m glad we have the same view point because I was doubting my memory on this one and you restored it!

  6. Pingback: Mook Review: Beautiful Creatures | Blog of Brie

  7. Thank you for this. I have been curious about the book, and looking for a new Young Adult read. I think I’ll check out Matched and Divergent instead, I’ve been curious about those as well.

  8. Being a fellow book blogger and book reviewer i must say i absolutely love your blog! Soon i hope my blog and my content is half as good as yours! I Appreciate all the hard work you have done here so that i could have the opportunity to enjoy these reviews and all the information on topics i love and find interesting. Beautiful creatures was not on my radar and it certainly was not on my “to read list” i have been curious about it but did not think it was for me but my opinion has changed thanks to your post/Blog and now it is,Thanks for the great content! I Subscribed and Liked your blog you most certainly deserve it and i enjoy your material and work.

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  10. I completely agree with your review! I was so disappointed by the books. I was expecting something akin to Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, but it was so run-of-the-mill that it was almost extraordinary. I did like the fact that it was written from a male POV, though. The movie was quite a bit more enjoyable, but still didn’t rate highly for me. Love the concept of your blog, you have a new subscriber in me! xx Kalystia

  11. I’ve never the book so I can’t comment on that.
    But I went to watch the movie because the trailer looked really amazing. And I was so disappointed with the movie. Like you, I found Lena really blah. This movie certainly didn’t inspire me to read the book!

  12. I don’t really agree with you. I think the book was really really great. However, the movie was worse than anything I had expected. The actors were horrible, I really hated Ethan and Lena in the movie. I was bored to death when I was watching it, and I was so disappointed.

    • I can’t say I enjoyed the book. I could barely get through it, and I read a lot of YA fiction. The movie definitely was awful, but for me it was much better in comparison to the development of the novel. But thats just me!

  13. Hey there.
    I actually came across this book many years ago in a bookstore. The cover was nice and the summary seemed promising enough so I bought it. I ended up regretting it.
    I got through the whole book, simply because I don’t like not finishing a book I start, but I had to drag myself to the end. The story was boring and completely forgettable to me. Before I saw the movie I honestly couldn’t even remember what happened in the book or really what it was about. I’ve never been great with summarizing books, but for me to not even be able to remember what the book was generally about was proof that it was quite bad.
    Then when people started talking about it and saying it was amazing I was really surprised, to be completely honest. I couldn’t connect the book I had read with this amazing thing everyone was marveling about.
    Due to not liking the book, I was reluctant to see the movie. I thought it would be just as boring, but it wasn’t so bad. I liked the movie much more.
    I keep wondering if maybe I should re-read the book to see if maybe I’d like it more now? Maybe when I read it I was just too young to actually enjoy it.
    I’m glad I found your review though, because I always wondered if I was the only one who didn’t absolutely love the book.
    Have a nice day,

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