And with that, the final book in the Caster Chronicles is read. Cue hallelujah. This is the first time I have read Beautiful Redemption, and I decided that I needed a refresher. It took me fifteen days to read all four books clocking in at 2,033 pages in just over two weeks (135 pages a day, because I like averages).
I’m only making a note of that because the next time I decide to reread the series that’s how much of my life I need to devote to it, at the very least. Mental note.
Beautiful Redemption is the final book of the four part series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl that began with Beautiful Creatures. In this book, the final leg in Ethan’s journey is followed. This is, quite literally, a quest book for our hero. In the last moments of Beautiful Chaos Ethan sacrificed himself to right the rift between the Caster and Mortal world. In Redemption we begin with Ethan’s journey through the afterlife. Ethan wants to return to the world of Mortals to be with Lena, the woman he loves, but the road is perilous. He may not make it back to her. In Gatlin people mourn for Ethan but no more than Lena, who misses him with every fiber of her being.
Can Ethan get back to her?
Ethan’s journey has always been a joy to watch and this book is no exception. Wandering with Ethan through his final trials is a treat. However, I did not enjoy all of this book for one reason – Lena, the love of his life, has a 150 page chunk where she is the narrator for the first time in the series. Strike that, the book opens with a few pages of her POV just to give you a taste of what is to come. And I was just as excited about it as everybody else might be. I found Lena’s point of view to be hard to get into for a couple of reasons. The first is that it felt like needless filler, that the authors stretched it to give something else to the book (besides Ethan’s quest). Now, I have spoken before about the first two books, Creatures and Darkness, and about how the middle bits felt long (Chaos did not have this problem). Well, this whole POV felt long, and unnecessary except for one, spoilery thing that HAD to happen from Lena’s POV in order to propel the plot. That bit I understood, and it made sense, but her entire narrative could have been condensed by a hundred pages and I would have been fine with it. As is this felt like one long conversation you cannot extricate yourself from. Frankly, I skimmed the latter chunk of her scenes. It just didn’t feel right to have her POV after reading 1500+ words from Ethan’s for the entire series. Ethan is our storyteller, he’s the one who leads us through this world, not Lena. Besides that I found Lena’s voice to be unbearable. True, she is mourning through much of it but being in her head was whiny, and annoying, and I got over her poetry REALLY fast. At the end of her chapter I realized one thing – I have been reading this series all along for him, not for her. Lena’s character is tempered through Ethan’s eyes because he is in love with her. If this was just Lena’s narrative I would have veered long ago. She is better with him than without him. Perhaps that was the point, but it was unnecessarily ground into me.
Besides that one (lengthy) complaint I really enjoyed this book. It is very different than the first three and I think a lot of readers did not like it for that. To me this smacks more of Stohl’s video game background and I think she contributed a lot to the outlaying of this particular story. It feels very grounded in that world. I found that part very enjoyable and were it not for the drag in Lena’s POV I would have thought this was a perfect book. However, the drag bogged me down. So I have to give as good as I got.
4 out of 5 stars.
But, it’s still a hell of a read.