by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Plot Summary:Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
Review:My feelings towards this book are lukewarm at best. There are things I liked about it - some exciting scenes, some interesting plot twists and developments and a romance that felt well-developed and... well romantic. Most of the characters seemed authentic, and the family aspect adds a touching depth to the narrative. Ethan, with his sharp, observant wit, is an entertaining narrator. The Caster mythology is interesting and intelligently worked out, although I felt like towards the end there are more than a few too convenient changes to the rules we were constantly told were absolute.
And then there are the things I disliked about it. I was disappointed and annoyed by some of the things Lena and Ethan would decide to do, when it seemed like it was clearly a bad idea (But, teenagers, right?), and the story paints the South in a highly negative light - I could barely stand Gatlin and the inhabitants just like Ethan. The pacing of the novel was a little uneven, and I wished some things were not so overly described. I also wished there were not so many loose ends - after the characters have gone through so much, very little is resolved! There are almost no answers to how, or what, or why.
I listened to the audiobook and I have a few comments on the production. I found the way the narrator would speak Ethan's words in more of a pronounced Southern accent than when he spoke his thoughts, a little odd. And the pauses for dream-like sounds when Ethan was dreaming was annoying as well. I do think the readers did a great job overall with the story though, and really loved the reader Kevin T. Collins rendition of Ethan's Great Aunts. It was eerily spot-on for the character and age!
This book did hold my interest and was suspenseful enough to keep me listening. I'm also really looking forward to seeing the movie because it looks great. I think with a little streamlining this book could have been much better.
And darn that audiobook - that Sixteen Moons song is stuck in my head!