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Everything’s Beautiful – A speedy review of Beautiful Darkness, Chaos and Redemption in one

June 30, 2013

You might wonder why I’m reviewing three out of four parts of the Caster Chronicles series in one go, when I went to the effort to separate out Beautiful Creatures when I read that a month or so ago. Well, I’ve read the concluding three parts, Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos and Beautiful Redemption in quite quick succession, and also, it just makes sense to talk about them all together. So, starting at the almost beginning:

beautiful darkness cover

As an installment in a series, Beautiful Darkness isn’t the weakest I’ve ever read (but nor is it the strongest). New characters are introduced, but only a few and they’re perfectly palatable, if not a little on the side of cliche. The plot, being centred around a journey, moves at a relatively good pace, and has enough going on to keep you reading without feeling like it’s turning into a chore. And you still can’t really tell that the book was written by two people as the narrative voice is completely joined up. A quick summary, but all that needs to be said. Onto the next:

beautiful chaos cover

Beautiful Chaos is my favourite of the Caster Chronicles, I think. Lena has split her Seventeenth Moon, rendering herself both Light and Dark (because all power is born from darkness, and so there’s some Dark and Light in each of us, of course), Macon is back, and you’d think everything was all fine and dandy and other things that people from the Southern US say. But of course, it’s not. Splitting the Seventeenth Moon and declaring herself both Light and Dark has upset “The Order Of Things”, and now “The One Who Is Two” has to sacrifice themself to set it right. Now, this “The One Who Is Two” could be anyone – it could be Lena, who’s both Light and Dark. It could be John, who’s both Incubus and Caster. It could be Macon, for the same reasons. It could be Liv, the Keeper in Training who’s not really a Keeper in Training any more, or it could be Link, who, for reasons I won’t give away (spoilers!) is both Incubus and Mortal. It could even be Ethan, for more reasons I won’t give away. There’s virtually nobody from the main character pot it definitely couldn’t be. Finally, something for the reader to figure out – a puzzle they can work on at the same time as the characters in the story. And on top of that, there’s even more going on in that at the end of Darkness, the thing that Liv does that means she’s not really a Keeper in Training any more means that in Chaos, Marian, the fully-fledged Keeper, is in a whole lot of trouble with the Far Keep, who guard the Caster Chronicles and record Caster history. There’s tons going on, and it’s all handled really well. Plus, the ending is mind-blowing. Almost a shame about what happens next.

Beautiful redemption cover

Beautiful Redemption is the weakest conclusion to a series of books I’ve come across in a while. First, they pick the LAST ONE OF THE SERIES to change the structure, and split the narration between Ethan and Lena. I completely get why, it just seems like a weird thing to decide to do this late in the game. They also break from the tradition of dating the chapters to show how time is passing. Again, I get why, especially for Ethan’s narrative sections, but it could have been an interesting touch in Lena’s section. The ending is ultimately predictable, even though it involves a character who I’d forgotten had died, and once I realised I knew what was going to happen, it was really difficult to push through and make sure I was right (I was). Of course it’s a “Happily Ever After”, or about 75% of one, at least.

If you like this sort of thing, The Caster Chronicles are probably right up your street. There are some interesting quirks to them, like the male narrator, which is unusual for this type of book given the audience (but also refreshing) and the dual authorship really isn’t a problem as you might expect, but in other places they’re painfully cliched and predictable. Overall, they’re a fun read, not too taxing, and a relatively compelling story. Recommended.

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