I found this second installment in the Caster Chronicles fascinating, even though the beginning was a bit slow for my taste; there was a point where I had to force myself to keep reading it (just for a couple of chapters), but God, my pep-talk was worth it!
I am always on the look out for stories set in the South; there are so many legends and ghost stories! The South’s magical realism is beyond wonderful, so I’m always thrilled to see (or better, to read) how the author uses this amazing source of story-telling and transforms it into a story. In this case I can easily say that Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl did a fine job. The story is entertaining (and more so when you past the first chapters) and have some moments creepy enough to give you goosebumps.
I really love Liv and I think that her relationship with Ethan is a clever way to make his character (a 16 year old boy) more realistic. He is a teenage boy with a really problematic girlfriend who he can’t be really physical with; of course that he is going to compare it to how easy it could be to have a regular human as a girlfriend. As usual Link is hilarious and in this book his friendship with Ethan reaches the “friend for life” level.
Amma is just as mysterious as always, but I have to recognize that I’m dying to taste one of her pies. She and Marian became the “compass” that Ethan needs to find his own role in the caster world; he is no longer just the boyfriend of a caster girl, and the whole book is his journey to discover exactly that.
With Lena I had some problems, I understand that the weigh of her decisions is huge, but she has an incredible support system (not only her family –including her dark caster cousin-, but Ethan, Amma, Link and Marian) and even with that she made really bad decisions that risked everyone and hurt Ethan in the process. Ok, she is dealing with the guilt and the lost of her uncle, but come on! Her inability to see the consequences of her actions is what complicates everything; she went completely “emo” with the “mea culpa” during the whole book.
The story between Macon and Jane was so heartbreaking! And is a little scary to think that it can be the same with Ethan and Lena, but I have faith that they are going to find a way to be together in every possible way. I really enjoyed the ending; it left so many questions open! I’m so looking forward to the next book!
Review by Marie
Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena’s family of powerful supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.
Sometimes life-ending.Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan’s eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there’s no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town’s tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; October 12, 2010.