Beautiful Creatures Book Discussion – Week 9
OMG, can you believe it’s the last week of our discussion! I hope lots of people were able to discover a most excellent book, and, along the way, get addicted to it right along with the rest of us.
This week, we’re doing the discussion ourselves (Greta = normal font, me = blue). Hope you like it! But as always, a warning:
SPOILER WARNING: This post details the plot of the book Beautiful Creatures. If you have not read the book and don’t want to know what happens, don’t read any further.
2.11 Family Reunion
After putting Ethan’s Dad safely into the hands of the reenactment medics, Ethan started to run. He wanted to get to Lena as quickly as possible. He wanted to protect her from who knows what. He couldn’t run fast enough.
Just like in every story key things have to fall into place. You have to make up with your best friend in hopes of having a happy ending with your bro-mance. Check, cue Link following at Ethan’s heels and telling Ethan how right he was about Ridley.
There has to be a mysterious figure to chase after. Check, cue Larkin in the shadows leading the way.
There has to be something that makes you gasp. Check, cue Mrs. Lincoln standing near Lena and Larkin at Greenbrier near Genevieve’s grave.
Things were not as they seemed. Ethan tried to speak to Lena inside her head but she wouldn’t answer. Something wasn’t right. Something was terribly wrong. Someone could smell the rat from a mile away. Mrs. Lincoln wasn’t who she appeared to be. She smiled at the boys and spoke like a Stepford Wife.. all robotic and TUT TUT DEAR. THEN! Then then then she called her WESLEY – LINK-
Red alert! All hands to battle stations.
Oh snap!! Did any of you catch that before Ethan thought it? I sure did. So, who on earth is inside Mrs. Lincoln’s body? Did she just decide that there’s no use in fighting a Ravenwood and to come on down from off her bake sale high horse and make friends? Did she decide that teenagers want a sense of individuality and thus decided to give into her son’s nickname that she has openly hated for years and years? Or…could it be? Well, of course it could be!! A story wouldn’t be a story without a climatic battle with the wicked witch. Sarafine took over Mrs. Lincoln’s body.
Sarafine cooed to her baby girl as she made the bright lights of the sky blaze overhead. Sending bolts of lightening all around then right on top of Lena, herself.
Lena hissed at her mother and renounced their relationship. Of course this is what any teen would do, mortal or not. When your mom is nuts it’s best to keep your distance. When your mom is short a bag of hammers…well, it’s probably best to steer clear. When you’re not sure if you’re going to take another breath in 10 seconds because your mom might just kill you…well, you probably should hope for your sake that you have some casting blood inside your veins because chances are you’re going to need it.
I had been thinking this whole time that Mrs. Lincoln was some sort of supernatural being. I really thought there was a hidden story behind her. There was, but not like I expected. Seems like all those times where we all scratched our heads and whispered to each other about Mrs. Lincoln acting wacky were times when Sarafine was inside her body leading her around like an avatar (not the airbendy type). Now, the story is starting to make sense. It wasn’t Mrs. Lincoln that was out to get Ethan and Lena… it was SARAFINE!! And what a disguise!! Who in their right mind would think twice about a Volvo Driving Soccer Mom going all ballistic about odd things happening at school. Bring out the Steal Magnolia’s cast… you know you’ve seen them. The big haired ladies that just want to cause drama. Trust me… when you live in the south those ladies are always behind something that makes a child’s life a bit more difficult. I would have never thought twice about Mrs. Lincoln back when I was in school. Good disguise, Sarafine!! Good disguise!
And then we learn that’s exactly what Mrs. Lincoln was…a good disguise. For you see my little ducks…Mrs. Lincoln’s body split in two, just like you were taking off your jacket by its zipper…Mrs. Lincoln’s body was falling in half. Once dropped to the ground in a pile of flesh there stood the mother of Lena in all her dark caster glory. Now, I was a little excited that we might have just witnessed the death of Mrs. Lincoln and that Link was now an orphan who might want to seek revenge on the caster world…but dangs it!! That didn’t happen. Mrs. Lincoln’s body became whole again, and Sarafine guaranteed Link that his Mommy would be alright once she woke up.
As soon as Sarafine has shed Mrs. Lincoln’s skin, she asked Larkin to bleed out those beautiful colored eyes of his and show the yellow ones within. That’s right kids!! Larkin has gone dark. The one cousin that Ethan trusted was in on it all along. Now, that makes for a clever twist.
Of course Lena and Ethan are both gasping that Larkin is a bad boy. What? The leather jacket didn’t give him away? And wasn’t the snake in the Bible a bad influence? Yeah, we probably should have seen this one coming.
Sarafine explains that since she was the first Natural to be born in the family it was mandatory that she goes dark. That’s kind of odd but ok… it makes for good storytelling. But the second generation gets to choose. Here we go kids… CLAIM YOURSELF…
While Sarafine explains that good ol’ Uncle Macon has lied to Lena all these years she tells her daughter how there is a choice to be made. That when you are a second generation naturalist you get to pick which side you want to play on. You can either be a hero or a villain. You don’t have to play the Joker if you don’t want to. If you want to be a Power Ranger then kudos to you. But you get to decide.
This strikes a nerve with Lena. She can’t believe that her uncle has never told her and just as if it was staged…WOOSH!!…in materializes Macon from out of the blue with Boo. Macon tells Sarafine she isn’t welcome to tonight’s festivities, and while this is what Sarafine expected to hear she tells Macon that her party guest is going to be rather upset. And do you know what happens? Why another LEATHER COAT materializes and in walks Macon’s brother, Hunting.
What do these author’s have against leather? Is it bad boy code that you have to wear one? Well, maybe.
Hunting has a nice little family reunion with his brother and tells him how he’s a dark creature and needs to accept who he really is. Lena’s not really interested in hearing those two bicker with each other so she starts asking if Sarafine is telling the truth. With a pause and a gulp she learns that her mom was right. There is a choice. Lena is filled with joy to hear this new possible turn of events but now who does she listen to? The mother she just met or the uncle who has been trying to protect her with lies her entire life?
Of course Lena is probably thinking, “Hey, I’ll just go light. That’s what I want.” But tut tut tut girlfriend. Not so fast. There are rules. I know I know. It’s not as simple as buying a vowel and solving the puzzle. Oh noes. That would be a tad bit too simple and the book would come to an end right then and there. We have two more chapters to go. There has to be some obstacles in the way.
If Lena goes LIGHT then all the DARK CASTERS and LILUM in the fam will die. This means bye bye Mommy and Uncle Macon.
If Lena chooses to go DARK then all the Light Casters will kick the bucket and she gets to keep Uncle Macon in her life.
Like I said, it would be too easy to end it with a happily ever after. Where would the sequel be in that?
Just like Dumbledore or the Wizard of Oz, Macon rushes to Lena and tells her that he knew. For this was the secret he has been hiding. Go dark and let him go, it’s the only way.
Ok…back up. Now, I seriously think that if LENA chooses to go LIGHT that MACON will live because he’s a good guy, even if everyone is labeling him with a bad title. Just like the Tin Man there’s a heart of gold inside him. He’s just in the wrong shell. But I can’t tell you what happens till later. It wouldn’t be fair now would it?
Lena is all gasping and going all Kstew in the hospital bed with PattyCake. *sigh* Really? Well, I guess it makes for a good story but if we do this in the movie I’m gonna be a tad bit upset. And then Mommy dearest lays it on thick. Oh what a cliffy. She slinks up to her daughter and whispers in her ear how there is a way for Ethan and her to be with each other. Lena is all “What the french toast mom? We’re already together?” But Mommy then gets out her number two pencil and educates her dear one. Class, today’s lesson is about Casters and Mortals. It doesn’t end well. It always ends in death. “Lena, honey child, you stay with Ethan and he’s gonna wind up dead.”
Now, that my friends, makes for a great cliffy.
2.11 The Claiming
Casters cannot be with Mortals without killing them.
It all made sense now. The elemental connection between us. The electricity, the shortness of breath whenever we kissed, the heart attack that had almost killed me – we couldn’t be together physically?
What?! Okay now, I know there’s three more books in this series, and, being a Twihard, I’m familiar with UST. But come on, wouldn’t a portable defibrillator take care of this little problem?
As Ethan stands there, he realized that this is the truth, that it’s what Macon and Amma have been trying to tell them all along. Lena realizes it, too. Sarafine continues to twist the knife, telling them they can never marry or have children, that a normal life is not possible for them. Macon tells them he didn’t say anything because he didn’t realize the connection was so strong until it was too late.
Although Macon says she’s lying, Sarafine tells Lena that, if she turns dark, there’s a way that she and Ethan could be together, in all the ways they want. Can Lena allow all the Light members of her family to die in order to be with Ethan?
And the storm clouds continue to gather.
Macon explains that, once she’s dark, Lena’s heart will be dark, too, and she likely won’t care anything about Ethan anymore. He then challenges Sarafine to tell Lena what happened to her father. When Sarafine glosses over the story, Macon tells them that he died from a fire…a fire Sarafine set.
With this, Sarafine decides Macon has interfered enough, and sends Hunting to deal with him. In a fierce fight, both Casters disappearing and reappearing on top of each other, Hunting bites Macon’s neck, and they both disappeared then reappeared.
What was he doing? Was he feeding? I didn’t know enough to know how or if it was even possible. But whatever Hunting was taking, it seemed to be draining Macon.
When Hunting releases him, Macon falls the ground. As the noises of the approaching reenactment get louder, so do the growls and howls of Boo Radley, who jumps at Hunting. Larkin morphs into a pile of vipers, scaring Boo back. Hunting appears behind the frightened animal and chokes him until he goes limp, tossing him next to his master’s body.
Ethan can see that Lena isn’t going to join her dark relatives, and, as they form a line to face her, Lena stops them by creating a fire time between them. Sarafine tells Lena that she’ll never lie and can give Lena a future with “the Mortal.”
Lena surrounds the Dark ones with flames and laughs.
A dark laugh, like her mother’s. Even from across the clearing, it made me shiver.
And, the part that made me do a fist pump? Lena to Sarafine:
We all know what a bitch you are, Mother. It’s the one thing I think we can all agree on.
Sarafine blows and spreads the fire until it surrounds Lena. It’s a wild west Caster stand off.
Lena takes a ball of fire into her hands and throws it into the tree behind Ethan, breaking the force field around him and Link. Ethan moves toward Lena, Link toward his mother. Walking over to Lena, Ethan touches her shoulder and, in his head, tells her he loves her. Lena tells him not to say anything because Sarafine can hear them and probably always has. Looking across the flames, Ethan can see the Dark ones and knows they want to kill them.
Lena sends Ethan after Ryan, wanting to help Macon. Ethan runs, concentrating on his and Lena’s love.
Whatever Sarafine had done to sever the connection between us, it no longer mattered. Lena was back in my heart and my head. As I ran through the uneven fields, that was all I cared about.
Except for the fact that it was almost midnight. I ran faster.
I love you, too. Hurry—
When Ethan looks at his cell it’s 11:25 PM. Running to Ravenwood, he can’t get in the house. Link follows, still wondering if anything he’s seen is real. Realizing he can’t get the help of the Light Casters, Ethan calls the one person he knows will help him: Amma. But Amma doesn’t answer, so he tries Marian at the library. No answer there, either. Link reminds Ethan it’s a holiday, and the library isn’t open because it’s a holiday. Then Ethan remembers: she’s at the Caster library! Ethan and Link jump in the Beater and head for library. When they arrive, it’s 11:45 PM.
Running into the library, Ethan calls out for Marian, who sneaks up behind him, scaring him and Link. Ethan tells Marian what’s going on and that he needs to use the tunnels to get into Ravenwood. When Marian tells Ethan that she can’t get involved, he tells her he simply needs her to do her job: deliver a book to Ravenwood. Marian takes the book and begins to lead Ethan and Link through a maze of tunnels.
Finally reaching Ravenwood, Ethan turns to take the book from Marian, who says he doesn’t have a valid library card and says she must deliver the book herself. When he looks at his cell, it’s still 11:45 PM, and he’s confused. You can almost imagine Marian rolling her eyes.
Lunar time. You kids never listen. Things aren’t always as they seem, down below.
Entering Ravenwood’s main hall, Ethan calls for the Light Casters, who all appeared ready to take out the enemy. They’re relieve to see Ethan and Marian, and everyone asks Ethan what’s going on. When Ethan asks Ryan for help, Gramma pats her on the cheek and tells Ethan, “For tonight, I am Ryan, Ethan.” She’s an empath and can borrow the powers of others. She’s borrowed Ryan’s power so the girl won’t go outside and be in danger.
It’s now 11:49 PM.
In order to make it to Lena in time, Aunt Del leads Ethan, Marian, and the others back into the tunnels toward Greenbrier. Aunt Del finds the door, which Marian unlocks, and it leads into the crypt! And the Book is lying on the table!
Surrounded by fire, Ethan struggles to find Lena. Lena tells him to help Macon…and it’s only seven minutes until midnight.
Gramma grabs Ethan’s hand and they run to find Macon. The entire garden is burning, and they run through the smoke, finding Macon. Gramma says he weak but will be okay. Macon stirs and asks where Lena is. They then move to help Mrs. Lincoln. As she helps Link’s mother, Ethan hears Lena in his head, telling him she’s stuck on the roof of the crypt.
Running through the flames, Ethan can feel his skin burning. He climbs on top of a gravestone and onto a wall, grabbing onto a statue on top of the crypt. When he reaches the top, he comes face to face with Sarafine.
And she stabs him!
This is the part of the book where this happens to me:
Me: *GASP* OMFG! (except I didn’t use the letters…I’m a bad, bad girl.)
DH: What?! What’s wrong?! Are you okay?!
Me: She stabbed Ethan! *sob* The bitch stabbed Ethan! *sob*
DH: *shaking head* *rolling eyes*
As Ethan falls, Sarafine is in his head.
Let her try to stay Light now.
Ethan lies dying, thinking of how much he’s like Ethan Carter Wate.
Dreaming about a Caster girl I would always love. Just like the other Ethan.
And suddenly, we’re in Lena’s head.
Seeing her mother stab Ethan, Lena can’t move, everything around her is frozen. She sees Ethan’s lifeless body and goes to take his hand, dangling off the crypt in hers.
I sobbed until I couldn’t breathe and my fingers slipped through his, knowing I would never feel those fingers in my hair again.
Lena begins to say the words from the Book of Moons, and she hears a voice and looks to see Amma standing beside her. Amma says that Lena, not the Greats, brought her there; Lena doesn’t understand the depths of her powers. Amma tells Lena that she’s not Dark, but not Light either. When Lena looks up, there is no Moon, and Amma says that there likely cannot be a claiming if there’s no Moon at midnight.
They open the Book. Amma tells Lena that what she wants to do might not work and that there will be consequences, but her great-great-aunt Ivy and the Greats will help if they can. Lena realizes that Amma brought the Book of Moons to the crypt.
Amma pulls Lila’s ring from under Lena’s sweatshirt and tells Lena Ethan must have loved her “somethin’ fierce” to give it to her. Amma thinks Lila has been trying to help them all along. Taking the ring off Lena’s necklace, Amma puts it on Lena’s finger and tells her that she had something Genevieve never had: the love of two families.
Grabbing the locket form Ethan’s pocket, Amma puts it on the Book, to “remind everyone that you’ve already got the curse.” Then she also lays her own charm on the Book to “remind everyone, if they’re messin’ with my boy, they’re messin’ with me.”
Lena begins to chant, her hands on the pages, and Amma takes her hands and chants with Lena as she repeats the Cast:
A love song — to Ethan Lawson Wate, from the two people who love him most. And we would miss him most if we failed.
Lena, Amma, the Book, and the crypt are struck by what seems like lightening. As Amma is thrown back, Lena can feel Ethan and their love for each other. Lena sees a golden light, which appears to be coming from her, and Ethan is bathed in it. Lena thinks the Cast didn’t work.
Angry, Lena raises her hands to the sky, divining bolts of lightening that strike Hunting, Larkin, and Sarafine. They all disappear in flame, and rain begins to fall. When Lena turns back to the crypt, Ethan is gone. Macon is there in his place. Amma is staring at Macon, wondering how she will bear the weight of the world without him. Lena shakes her, and Amma explains that you can’t get something for nothing.
Letting her anger stir the weather around her, Lena realizes the Book made a trade. She runs to Ethan, who is lying in the garden next to Boo, but, when she touches him, he’s cold. She cries, refusing to say goodbye. Then she feels Ethan’s fingers begin to move.
2.12 Silver Lining
With one minute to go before the end of the day (that’s just a fancy way of saying it’s almost midnight lol), Ethan rouses himself and through a wet drizzle of rain and a display of weak fireworks in the sky his mind is as foggy as a morning in April after a night of rain (that’s pretty foggy, folks). He can’t remember quite what happened after being thrown from the angel statue he was trying to climb to get to the top of the crypt. All he knows for sure is Macon is dead and Lena is in tears.
The next morning, Ethan figures out what happened the previous night. Gramma explains that Macon was not as strong as Hunting because he fed on dreams rather than blood.
Macon always said he would do anything for Lena. In the end, he was a man of his word.
Everyone else is okay and back at Ravenwood. No one can bring themselves to tell Aunt Del that Larkin was Dark. Mrs. Lincoln remembers nothing and is at least civil to to everyone. Ethan plans to try to explain things to Link at school.
Ethan knows that Sarafine, Hunting, and Larking are gone, but he doesn’t know what happened to them. He knows that Lena managed to block the Moon and as a result the Claiming, but Lena isn’t telling him anything or talking much in general. They had fallen asleep, hand-in-hand, on Lena’s floor, but Ethan wakes up alone, finding all her bedroom walls blank save one. Even though the writing looks different, Ethan knows it’s Lena’s. It is a lament for Macon and everything that had died the night before.
something in me died, something in me was born, i only knew
the girl was gone
whoever i was now, i would never be her again this is the way
the world ends not with a band but a whimper
He notices Lena gets a Frost quote wrong, saying nothing green can stay.
Going into the kitchen, Ethan hears Aunt Del and Gramma talking about arrangements, and it reminds him of when his mother died. Asking them where Lena is, Gramma tells him he knows.
On top of the crypt where Macon took his last breath is where he found his Lena. It made sense for her to want to be close to Macon even if he wasn’t there physically. Ethan is sure that a part of Macon will always be there. Wanting to take the pain away from Lena beating herself up over Macon’d death, he did the best thing that any teenage boy could do. Taking her hand he kissed every finger until he came to one with a ring…. his mother’s ring. Learning that Lena’s necklace of treasures broke the night before Ethan’s love for her almost burst. She wanted to keep the ring safe. She didn’t want to loose it. And just like the fairytale goes…. they don’t want to lose each other.
I never loved you any more than I do, right this second. And I’ll never love you any less than i do, right this second.
Ok kids… Did you swoon? Oh my my my…. I know I did!! That whole section… JEPPERS!! What a swoontacular section!
But… now… dig this…. One of Lena’s eyes is her lovely green and another one of her eyes is a hazely gold. Owwws!! Foreshadowing perhaps? Could she be half good and half bad?
Heading home around noon, Ethan decides to walk, needing to clear his head. He feels the locket in his pocket and decides he needs to give it back to the other Ethan, just as Genevieve wanted. He hopes it gives Ethan Carter some peace. Walking home, he thinks about the first drive and the first storm, about almost losing his dad and Lena, and about losing Macon. He knows things with be hard for Lena without Macon and will help her through it. Ethan thinks, though, that Macon isn’t really gone but is somewhere still looking out for them.
The right thing and the easy thing are never the same. No one knew that better than Macon.
Pulling his iPod out of his pocket, Ethan finds a new song and clicks on it.
It’s called Seventeen Moons.
Seventeen moons, seventeen years,
Eyes where Dark or Light appears,
Gold for yes and green for no,
Seventeen the last to know.
1. Do you think anything that Sarafine tells Lena is true? Is she just telling Lena what she must to get her to turn Dark?
2. What do you think the consequences of the Lena’s cast will be?
3. Do you believe, like Ethan, that Macon isn’t really gone?
4. What do you make of Lena’s different colored eyes, and how does this relate to her misquote of Frost?
5. Okay, this is for the wrap up post next Sunday. Tell us what you liked most about this book and what you’re looking forward to in the sequels.
Oh, and you must be sure to come back next Sunday. I have (to borrow a phrase from Cutie) a super secret surprise!!