Beautiful Darkness, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.
This town owned us, that was the good and bad of it. It knew every inch of us, every sin, every secret, every scab. Which was why most people never bothered to leave, and why the ones who did never came back. Before I met Lena that would have been me, five minutes after I graduated from Jackson High. Gone.
Then I fell in love with a Caster girl.
She showed me there was another world within the cracks of our uneven sidewalks. One that had been there all along, hidden in plain sight. Lena's Gatlin was a place where things happened - impossible, supernatural, life-altering things.
recently reviewed. I also recently saw the film adaptation of it, and I liked it a lot, although they changed a lot of things from the book. I was eager to get back to "book Gatlin," then, and I started devouring Beautiful Darkness rather quickly.
SPOILERS - SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU HAVEN'T READ BOOK ONE:
The previous book ends with the death of Macon, Lena's uncle, after Sarafine, her Dark Caster mother, stabs Ethan, and she brings him back to life with the Book of Moons (in the movie, Ethan is still harmed, but not by Sarafine, and no spell is cast). This book starts with Macon's funeral, and then we skip ahead two months.
You can start re-reading now!
Lena has started hanging out with Ridley and a new boy, John Breed, who Ethan and his friends think is an Incubus of sorts. Meanwhile, Marian has a new assistant for the summer, Liv (Olivia), who is from England, and Ethan soon finds out that she's a Keeper-in-training. When Lena starts becoming more and more Dark, her eyes even changing to gold from green, and distancing herself from Ethan, they become concerned about her, and must follow her and John Breed to the Great Barrier, a "utopia" of sorts for Casters.
I will say that although the story here was still captivating, I didn't like it quite as much as the first book. There's a MAJOR twist at the end which sets up the next book in the series nicely (Beautiful Chaos) and which definitely caught my attention; however, most of the book is about Ethan figuring out who he is, and him and his friends Link and Liv trying to find Lena using the Caster tunnels throughout Gatlin. This novel actually reminded me a bit of the second Twilight book, which was not my favorite, in that the two main characters were separated for most of the book, with one trying to find and "win back" the other.
However, I will say that the Caster Chronicles are very well-written, and the story will still leave you wanting more at the end of the novel. I recently purchased the final two stories, Beautiful Chaos and Beautiful Redemption, for my Kindle (through Amazon's Gold Deal of the Day - $2.99 each!), and I am looking forward to reading those and seeing how Ethan and Lena's story concludes.
3.5 stars out of 5.