Study Guide

Beautiful Creatures

By Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Creatures Introduction

Ready to read 2,000 pages? Oh, you want to know a little more before you jump in? We guess that's fair. Beautiful Creatures, along with its sequels (Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos, and Beautiful Redemption), is part of the Caster Chronicles, a series that began in 2009 and is about to change the world. Or at least the teen paranormal romance world.

Speaking of teen paranormal romance, the School Library Journal says, "Give this to fans of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight or HBO's True Blood" (source). Heard of those? Beautiful Creatures has all the intense romance of Twilight and then some, plus the hot, haunted atmosphere of True Blood.

But if for some strange reason you're sick of vampires, don't worry. No vampires here. The rich supernatural world of Beautiful Creatures is steeped in traditional Southern Gothic lore: ghosts, magic, its own special brand of witchcraft, and secret worlds hidden right before your eyes. The Gothic elements have all been given a modern twist—so if you couldn't wait to find out Boo Radley's secret in To Kill a Mockingbird, you'll love uncovering what Gatlin has buried deep underground.

Since the movie isn't out yet (coming soon!), we'd like to give you our own trailer (to be read aloud in that booming movie-theater guy voice): In a small Southern town with innumerable secrets, a new girl with secrets of her own rolls in. Ethan Wate, who has lived in Gatlin all his life, thinks he knows everything about his family, his hometown, and its inhabitants. But he's about to discover that nothing is what it seems.

Sound creepy and awesome? Well the book's two authors, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, are avid readers with backgrounds in art, teaching, and video game writing. That's quite a combination, and Beautiful Creatures is filled with evidence of their eclectic tastes. And the protagonists of Beautiful Creatures, Ethan and Lena, are just as unusual. These two really know how to generate some sparks. The love between them is palpable, almost as thick as the humid Southern air. You know you're intrigued—go ahead and check it out.

What is Beautiful Creatures About and Why Should I Care?

Bella Swan. Buffy Summers. Sookie Stackhouse. Elena Gilbert. What do these characters all have in common? That's right, they're ladies. Ladies who are in love with some not-so-human men.

In Beautiful Creatures, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl turn our girl-loves-vampire expectations on their head. This time, our narrator is a boy, and he's the one who's in love with the not-so-human. (Bonus: she's not a vampire! How's that for pushing the envelope?)

Hearing this (by now) age old story from the point of view of a boy really spices things up. Ethan isn't a Bella or a Buffy; he's not a Sookie or an Elena. Writing a male protagonist just shatters our stereotypes and creates an entirely new type of teen romance hero. And in our humble opinion… they nailed it.

Beautiful Creatures Resources

Websites

The Source of the Magic
The official website for the Caster Chronicles has all the news you could ever want about two teenage lovebirds. But be careful of spoiler alerts!

Margie's Musings
Want to know more about the Beautiful brain? Head over to Margaret Stohl's blog. We'll wait here for you to come back.

Kami's Comments
She's more than just half of the Beautiful Creatures dream team. Find out more about what Kami Garcia is up to from her own personal blog.

For Fangirls and Boys
Castergirls.com is the go-to fansite for everything Beautiful.

Movie or TV Productions

Box Office Hit
Beautiful Creatures hit the big screen in 2013.

Historical Information

A Battle Between the States
Ethan's ancestor fought in the Battle of Wilderness. Turns out it's a real thing, and now you can check out how it went down.

If These Stonewalls Could Talk
The name of Ethan's high school might sound familiar. Read the biography of the Confederate general after whom Ethan's high school was named. We wish we had that kind of nickname. Any suggestions?

Video

Rock On
"Sixteen Moons" comes to (creepy) life in this music video. Is this how you imagined it would sound?

Audio

Mood Music
Check out these free podcasts of author interviews and the song "Sixteen Moons," in both "moody" and "rock" flavors. That's kind of how we'd describe Lena: moody rock.

"Cool" Song
The song that Ethan is singing in 9.14, by "that Georgian songwriter [his] mom loved" (9.14.80), was written by Johnny Mercer, who also wrote "Moon River." Listen to it here.

Images

Fresh Faces
What do you think—does Jack O'Connell match your vision of Ethan?

Caster Casted
Alice Englert better invest in some green contacts.

A Grave Statement
Lena uses Charles Bukowski's epitaph as her motto. See it for yourself. It's a cute little thing… for a grave. Thanks, findagrave.com!