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Review by Marque Terrynamahr Strickland
Staying true to form, Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia have delivered yet another marvelously entertaining story. Although still set in Gatlin, South Carolina, the environment never quite seems the same. With each book, Gatlin is enrichened with new locations that add even more mystery to this food-filled, ‘fire and brimstone’ county that we readers have so grown to love. My favourites this time around happen to be Macon’s study, Ethan’s pantry (or what lies beneath it), and the Bokor’s little shop of horrors. Marg and Kami are understatedly good at taking you places, whilst never really leaving Gatlin.
Although a well-crafted, well-paced story is typical for Kami and Marg, I feel that the most intriguing aspect of their recent project is the growth of the subordinate characters. They literally carried the story! Our adoration of Ethan and Lena is most unsurprising, as we’ve loved them since the very beginning of the series. But it is the excellent development of characters, like Amma, Liv, Ridley, Macon, Marian, the Linkubus, and John Breed that place this story in my ‘finest reads’ category. They were just too much fun! It was wonderful to get to know John Breed past the point of ‘dislike,’ which was my opinion of him in the second book. Here, he’s just awesome, and he gained all of my respect when he took control in a certain situation. And Ridley, my goodness...our precious Ridley! She has a moment that’s even better than a certain critical scene in the first book. I guarantee you all you’ve never seen her wreak so much havoc! I loved it. And there were certain scenes in this novel in which my heart nearly bled for Olivia–that’s how much I like that character! And though this would seem to be more than enough entertainment, we readers are still given the Sisters, who are funnier than ever, and an Incubus Link, who still has his former shortcomings (or charm, depending on your point of view) in the brain/personality department, but is also now a supernatural. He was perfect!
If I’m to complain about anything at all in this novel it would, once again, be the lack of vegetables in Ethan’s diet! C’mon, Kami, Marg...REALLY?! Amma claims to want to keep this boy from harm, yet everything she cooks is eventually going to kill him! What’s the deal? Give this boy some broccoli or something, please. In a series that is so filled with delectable-sounding food, still, you’d be hard pressed to find something green amidst any of it. Good grief, get it together, ladies! If Ethan keeps up with the diet he’s on, he’s going to have a gut by the time he’s twenty! I’m sure you don’t want your young female readers drooling over him any less than they already are.
After the cliffhanger the story ended with, I have to say I’m quite eager to see what Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl come up with for the tale’s conclusion. It will be interesting, to say the least. I’m of the opinion that Ethan will be more powerful in the next story, or at least more ‘special.’ And for those of you sillies worried about whether or not he’s actually _ _ _ _, calm down. Remember, without the protagonist you have no story! That’s not a spoiler, ladies and gentlemen, that’s COMMON SENSE.
In short, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl cease to amaze me with their adept skill to entertain. Two thumbs way up for Beautiful Chaos!
(c) Marque Terrynamahr Strickland/2011