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Book Review: Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (reviewed by Christie G)

“I had an open mind, at least by Gatlin’s standards.  I mean, I’d heard all the theories.  I had sat through  more than my share of Sunday school classes.  And after my mom’s accident, Marian told me about a Buddhism class she took at Duke taught by a guy named Buddha Bob, who said paradise was a teardrop inside a teardrop inside a teardrop, or something like that.  The year before that, my mom tried to get me to read Dante’s Inferno, which Link told me was about an office building that caught fire, but actually turned out to be about a guy’s voyage into the nine circles of Hell.  I only remember the part my mom told me about monsters or devils trapped in a pit of ice.  I think it was the ninth circle of Hell, but there were so many circles down there that after a while they all sort of ran together.
After what I’d learned about underworlds and otherworlds and sideways worlds, and whatever else came in the whole triple-layer cake of universes that was the Caster world, that first glimpse of blue sky was fine by me.  I was relived to see there was something that looked like a cheesy Hallmark card waiting for me.  I wasn’t expecting pearly gates or naked cherub babies.  But the blue sky, that was a nice touch.”

Beautiful Redemption is the fourth and final book in the Beautiful Creatures series.  (If you haven’t read the first three, stop and read them before reading this one, because nothing will make any sense.  Trust me.  I’ll wait.) In other words, there are series spoilers so read on at your own peril if you are a newbie.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1HQ5OP9E8c]

The series, like Hunger Games, Mortal Instruments, and Jonathan Maberry’s zombie series (Rot & Ruin), is being made into major motion pictures, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens with the casting and plot of the books; already they’ve made some changes with some of the major characters (*cough* RIDLEY *cough*), while keeping others pretty much the same as the descriptions in the books.  (I’m personally in love with the choice for Macon).

When we left off, Ethan had jumped off the water tower to save the Order, and correct the Universe, the Caster and Mortal world, and we were left with a cryptic ending on the last page.  In Beautiful Redemption, Ethan is in limbo, trying to find his way back to Lena, while Lena is breaking the rules to get Ethan back to her side of the world.  Needless to say, since it’s the final book, all the loose ends from the previous three are tied up, and the ending will make fans of the series happy.  Definitely add it to your collection if you already have the series, but not if you don’t have it, as for me it seemed very anti-climatic and forced (see below).  Would recommend the series for teens who love star-crossed lovers and fantasy, like the books of Melissa Marr or Becca Fitzpatrick.

However….  (spoilers sweeties)

I have to say, I LOVED the first three of the series, and I was extremely disappointed with this book.

I love the Southern Gothic genre and the Caster world, the magic and mysticism that flows through along with Amma’s magic and the voodoo thrown in.  I love the twisted histories and the intertwined family trees, and the repeated and tied destinies.  I loved the bad girl Ridley, and Link, and the crazy town with it’s secrets, and the Aunts.  And I want to BE MARION (THANK YOU for reclaiming the Marion the Librarian name from The Music Man). I was SOOOO excited to purchase the final book, thinking that it would live up to the others.

Nope.  Everything was too easy, yet had to be in there for some reason or another.  We touched on every character in the series, if only briefly, so everyone has an appearance.  After all the fights, and all the struggles that they’ve had within the series, it seems like this book was just, we need to tie this off, and this off and this off, so check and check and check.

First, Ethan can actually get himself everywhere he needs to without too much of a trial, even though his mom could only send songs through the Greats.  Then, he has these quests for the magical stones- except it just happens that one of the Greats has it, and Lena has the other.  Done, get it from the Great and then have Lena leave it at the grave.  CHECK.

Then travel to the deep, dark, forbidden place to get the goal.  Except, we never do what the Greats ask (in movies they call that continuity errors) by mentioning things- usually that comes with penalties that never occur in this book.  

Then, he needs The Book of Shadows, so even though we NEVER HAVE before, we get into Lena’s point of view.  She runs around with Link, finds Ridley, somehow Ridley escapes the magic cage she’s been stuck in since the middle of the last book, and then they have to battle the big bad on the Living Side.  And even though Abraham the great grandfather of all evil has the sucker, and has been the almighty boogeyman for the past three books, we can kill him off without loosing anyone else.  CHECK.

So then Ethan has the book, then battles a middle bad on the Dead side, then the BIG Bad on the Dead side (during which we tie up more loose ends), and he’s restored to the Living side, but not before we kill off someone that readers adored (thereby tying up the LAST loose end).  CHECK.

It all felt really anti-climatic and somehow forced, not the spirit uplifting book I was hoping for with the series.  I was left feeling somewhat disappointed and letdown, but I doubt that my teens will considering Ethan and Lena are back together, forever and ever.

Karen’s note: I have already seen the movie trailer and it will be big so you’ll need the series in your library.


  1. Beautiful! I have been scrambling to get this book, this is all I have been able to read so far!?!

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