Beautiful Darkness

Beautiful Darkness  - Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl

To be honest, I didn't like the first book. Why did I decide to read the next book? I tend to carry on with series, even if I don't like them. It's just what I do.


That being said, I was surprised to find I liked this more than the first book. Two new characters were introduced that I really liked, Liv and John. Lena and Ethan were broken up for a decent portion of the book. Link amused me. Ridley was back. All of those were things that made the book better for me.


Liv (short for Olivia) is in Gatlin for the summer working at the library. Because she's new to the town (and country), Ethan is asked to show her around. Unlike Ethan and Lena, I actually felt like Ethan and Liv had chemistry. When Ethan was with Liv, I hated him a bit less. I never got up to liking him, but that's all his fault. But I'll get to that later.


John Breed is an Incubus, but a very powerful one that can walk in sunlight. Lena turns to him for help in this book. Similarly to how I felt Ethan and Liv actually had chemistry, I felt like Lena and John had chemistry as well. John understands Lena in a way Ethan never can. He's part of her world in a way Ethan just can't be, and that difference just gave her relationship with John something that I never felt with her relationship with Ethan. Basically, I like the main couple of this series with their other love interests, rather than each other.


And then there's Link and Ridley, both of whom I like because they have the tendency to say when people or plans are stupid or ridiculous. They love sarcasm, which I also love.


Unfortunately, many of my problems with the first book continued in the second. Ethan continued to just be a horrible human being. He insults almost everyone constantly, especially girls that aren't Lena or Liv. He calls make-up crap and insults girls for wearing it. He'll insult girls for their clothes. He calls Savannah, a popular girl, a bitch. He calls Ridley skanky. When Lena takes to wearing make-up, he even judges her for that. Almost everyone in Gatlin is stupid, according to Ethan. He judges everyone and then makes sure to reiterate his opinions often. Ethan complains at one point how he has no friends, but it's really no wonder why he doesn't have any.


The whole Incubus thing is still annoying. Because of the choice in terminology (incubus means a demon that has sexual intercourse with women), my headcanon for this series is that every Incubus/Succubus really is a sex demon and feeds through sex. The Blood Incubus is just a vampire/incubus hybrid for me that feeds off of sex and blood. The fact that every character acts like vampires are such a ridiculous concept when the Blood Incubus is literally a creature that burns in sunlight and feeds on blood annoys me too. Not going to lie, my headcanon makes the book far more enjoyable for me.


I'm also getting really tired of comic book fans in books/shows ragging on Aquaman. I realize that's the view of him in pop culture, but anyone who actually reads comics knows that Aquaman in comics is not the same Aquaman people saw in Superfriends. And yet, Link and Ethan make cracks about how useless Aquaman is constantly. Instead of being funny, it just shows me that you gave your characters a hobby without doing any research on the actual hobby. Instead, you have your characters just spout out the popular view of it. And if you can't even do basic research on something your character references constantly, I'm left wondering what other things didn't get researched.


Once Lena and Ethan split up, the rest of the book was basically Ethan trying to find her again and get her back. Whenever he ran into difficulties in his journey to find her, someone would randomly appear to save/guide him. It got ridiculous really quickly. Characters would just randomly appear out of nowhere with no foreshadowing or anything, help Ethan, and then just leave again. And it just kept happening. The book felt like everyone was just doing everything for Ethan, but he gets all the glory.


This book made use of a number of things I see again and again in young adult fiction (and really fiction in general) that are just really overused. We have the instant jealously from both Lena and Ethan toward them talking to a member of the opposite sex. We have Ethan deciding he knows what's best for Lena and will save her from her own choices regardless of whether she wants to be saved or not (and Ethan does say repeatedly before he knows anything about what's going on with Lena that he doesn't care what Lena wants, he's going to 'save' her). We have females sacrificing their happiness/dreams/themselves for their love interests.


As far as the writing goes, it was just very repetitive. Ethan would say something and then say it in a different way to explain it. It quickly got very annoying.


I know I'm complaining about a lot of things in the book, but I did genuinely enjoy certain parts. Unfortunately, the parts I enjoyed were outnumbered by the parts I did not.