Literature: The Caster Chronicles

aka: Beautiful Creatures

The Caster Chronicles, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, is a young adult fantasy series that began in 2009 and concluded in 2012, with four books and one short story.

The book introduces Ethan Wate, a teenage boy living in Gaitlin, a small town in the southern United States. Ethan cannot wait to graduate high school and get out of what he believes to be a boring small town where nothing ever happens. Then he meets Lena.

Lena Duchannes is a beautiful new girl with a dark secret. She is a member of a family of Casters, short for Spellcasters. Each child born into her family has special powers. Lena's family is unique among the Casters because they are cursed. Every girl in their family, on her sixteenth birthday, is Claimed by either Light or Dark. Lena's cousin and former best friend, Ridley, went Dark recently, and she is terrified that the same thing is going to happen to her.

She and Ethan also face the challenge of the impossibility of the relationship between a Mortal and a Caster. For the Mortal, every touch or kiss is an electric shock, and to "be together physically" would result in his death.

  1. Beautiful Creatures (2009)
  2. Beautiful Darkness (2010)
    • Dream Dark (2011, short story)
  3. Beautiful Chaos (2011)
  4. Beautiful Redemption (2012)
    • Dangerous Dreams (2013, short story)
  5. Dangerous Creatures (2014, first in the Ridley-focused spinoff trilogy)
  6. Dangerous Deception (2015)

A film adaptation of the first book was released in February 2013 by Warner Bros. . Trailers can be viewed here and here.

The books contain examples of:

  • Big Damn Heroes: In Beautiful Creatures, Macon interrupts Lena's trial in the gymnasium and verbally destroys pretty much everyone who dares to try to defend their persecution of Lena.
  • Blank Book: In Beautiful Creatures, the book that Ethan's father was working on. It turned out to be a large pile of squiggles.
  • Breakout Character: Ridley, who was popular enough to get her own spinoff (Dangerous Creatures).
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • Macon, being an Incubus, is of the Dark, but chose to side with the Light.
    • Also, as John Breed stated, there is Light in the Dark and Dark in the Light. So, it could be assumed that Genevieve, Ridley and Macon could do good things and help other because they were not completely evil.
  • Dramatic Entrance: In Beautiful Creatures, Macon blasts open the doors to the gymnasium to interrupt Lena's trial, striding in with Marion on his arm and not a single drop of water on him despite the raging storm.
    Macon: I'm so sorry we are late. The weather is just treacherous out there tonight.
  • Follow the Leader: For Twilight , being a gender-flip of its "angsty teenage girl falls in love with the hot new boy at her school who turns out to have a supernatural secret" plot.
  • Hate Plague: The spell Ridley casts on everyone during Savannah Snow's party in Beautiful Creatures amounts to basically this, and it causes everyone in the party to start screaming at each other.
  • High School Dance: The Winter Formal in Beautiful Creatures. Ends up resembling a much tamer version of Stephen King's Carrie, but the mayhem's not actually Lena's doing.
  • Love Dodecahedron: In Beautiful Darkness. Ethan is in love with Lena, who he believes left him for John Breed, and is begining to be attracted to Olivia. Link is also attracted to Olivia, but at the same time he's still pining for Ridley. Ridley and John are often seen together, so subtext could lead to interpretation of them as a couple. Lila Jane Evers' first love was Macon Ravenwood, but he had to leave her because he was afraid of hurting her, so she met Ethan's father. She's still enough in love with Macon to save him from dying. He never stopped loving her.
  • Noodle Incident: Since the first book, Link and Amma had been quarrelling over something Link did in Ethan's basement when he was a kid, and Ethan never knew what it was, because Link refuses to tell anyone what bad thing he had done. In the end, you learn that he had put on a union soldier's uniform.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: A Blood Incubus is basically the same thing as a vampire. A normal Incubus is similar, but it feeds off dreams and emotions instead of blood. Beautiful Darkness is very unclear about what a Succubus is, aside from being a female Incubus.
  • Out with a Bang: What happens to any Mortal who has — or tries to have — sex with a Caster or Incubus. It's doubtful how far anyone would actually get; just a heavy make-out session with Lena nearly kills Ethan in Beautiful Creatures. He would have died, had it not been for Ryan's intervention.
  • Sadistic Choice: One is offered to Lena near the climax of the first book. Choose the Light, and every Dark Caster in the family dies, never to harm anyone ever again — but Macon will die as well, and Lena will never be able to have a physical relationship with Ethan. Choose the Dark, and every Light Caster in the family dies — but Macon will survive, and Lena will be given the means to be together with Ethan physically and emotionally.
  • Signature Item Clue: In Beautiful Darkness, Ethan finds Lena's iconic and personalized charm necklace on a beach near the Great Barrier, and knows something must have happened to her and that she passed by that spot.
  • Stalker Without A Crush: Macon to Ethan in the first book. He was sneaking into Ethan's room while Ethan slept to eat Ethan's dreams in order to "replenish" himself. Ethan is understandably freaked out when he realizes.
  • Title Drop: By Macon, for the first book.
    Macon: [Mortals] are such beautiful creatures.
  • Tragic Mistake: Genevieve's attempt to resurrect her beloved cursed her and her family for generations to come.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman / What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: The main character, Ethan Wate, is a Wayward - a mortal whose destiny is essentially intertwined with that of a specific Caster. Waywards are also essentially a guide or compass for their Caster, and instinctively know where they need to go and what they need to do, especially when Casters are about as lost as the next person in the room. Needless to say, this only ever comes in handy when all other options have been exhausted. Comes with plenty of Lampshade Hanging that explicitly references Aquaman and his usually useless powers.

The film contains examples of:

  • Follow the Leader: The film was green-lit as an attempt to fill the void of "teen paranormal romance" films left behind once the last Twilight film was released.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Everyone in the film is doing a (bad) attempt at a Southern accent except for Jeremy Irons, who simply does a light English accent. Guess he was saving himself the embarrassment.
  • Pop-Star Composer: thenewno2, Dhanni Harrison's (son of George Harrison) band composed the score to film, which got acclaim even from people who didn't like the movie.
  • Trailers Always Lie: There was one shot of Ridley screaming in what looks like anger in the trailer (at 1:52, after Lena snarls "I want you outta here!"). Thing is, what actually happens is that Lena tells her to get out, and then Ridley screams in anger that she's so sick of everyone treating Lena like she's special, to which Lena coldly replies "I said, get away from my boyfriend, you witch." Ridley's face changes to surprise and fear, and then she goes flying.
  • World of Ham: Everybody in the film adaptation camps it up with great enthusiasm, with the champion of ham being Emma Thompson as Sarafine.

Alternative Title(s):

Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness