Beautiful Creatures Book Discussion – Week 5
This week’s awesome guest post is by Heather @ Call of Duty Widow – thanks so much Heather!! Without further ado, on to her awesome post!
Thanks to Fragile and Erikasbuddy for letting me add my two cents. I’ve really enjoyed reading Beautiful Creatures and hearing what everyone else thought of it. I don’t have much time for graphics or to find videos, so enjoy a bunch of rambling wordy sentences! 🙂
SPOILER WARNING: I’m giving away all of the secrets for my assigned chapters of Beautiful Creatures. Don’t blame me if I spoil you and all of your fun, you’ve been warned!
10.31 Hallow E’en
At the end of the previous chapter, we learn that Marian the Librarian (I always think of Conan the Librarian from UHF when I say that) is in charge of the Gatlin County Library (For the regular folks) as well as the Caster Library (for the extraordinary folks). The Caster Library is only open during county holidays like Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Easter with open hours from 9 pm until 6 am. Poor Marian never gets a real day off. They better compensate her very handsomely for her devotion to books!
Lena and Ethan want to check out The Book of Moons which might hold the answers they’ve been seeking. Since the next holiday was still weeks away, Marian gives them the box of research materials that she and Ethan’s mother have collected on Genevieve and Civil War Ethan (aka CW Ethan from here on out). The cardboard box contains letters between Genevieve and CW Ethan along with other documents. Lena loves reading the letters, but Ethan sums their content up as “a love story with a really bad and really Black ending.”
For the next two weeks Lena and Ethan focus on the Locket papers, as they call the documents. The deeper they get into them, the more it becomes clear that Genevieve and CW Ethan’s story mirrors their own. The hardships of being a Mortal and a Caster in love are the same during the Civil War Era as they are in present day.
The eight hours they spend at school during the week get harder and harder to bear, but Halloween is especially hard. Lena and Ethan stop at the Stop & Steal before school and the entire basketball team is there dressed as cheerleaders.
When Lena, Ethan, and Link arrive at school most of the students are dressed up. The cheerleading squad came dressed as their version of Lena: short black dresses, pointy black shoes, witches hats, and brooms. The thing that made it clear the popular girls were meant to be dressed as Lena was the addition of eye liner crescent moons drawn right below their right eyes.
While Lena internally seethes, Ethan and Link decide to call the cheerleaders out for their hateful choice of costume. Lena silently tells Ethan to just drop it, he’s only making things worse for himself but he doesn’t listen. Once class is getting ready to start, they all head their separate ways. The cheerleaders have lockers right by Lena’s and she takes the opportunity to get revenge. The crescent moons the girls had drawn on their faces change from eye liner to Sharpie and they can’t scrub it off. The more the girls rub the spot, the larger it becomes until their cheek is covered in black permanent marker. Ethan sees this and comments that he thought Lena couldn’t control her powers. Lena chalks it up to Beginners Luck but we’re seeing the increasing power and control that Lena has over her magical powers. Ethan also is amused that the marker will take several days to wear off the girls’ faces (You can actually use fingernail polish remover, the acetone will take it right off. In my lab we label all of our glassware with Sharpie markers. We use pure Methanol to remove the marks, any alcohol will work).
Later that night, Ethan is at home with his father. Amma has gone home to read cards for people, which is a booming business on Halloween. Lena is expected at the mansion since the day is a High Holiday. For all intents and purposes, Ethan is all alone at home and decides to spend the time watching horror movies. After falling asleep for a while, a knock on the door awakens him. On the front porch is Mrs. Lincoln, Link’s mother, with a plate of brownies. Ethan can’t unlatch and open the front door to let her in. He finally rips the door open, but Mrs. Lincoln becomes increasingly irate when Ethan won’t let her cross the threshold. She tries to push the brownies through the open door where they bounce off an invisible force field, falling onto the porch. She leaves, defeated since the house won’t let her in.
After falling asleep on the couch, Ethan is jolted awake by Lena’s screams for help. He races to Ravenwood in his family’s Volvo, hearing her screams and experiencing the same pain that she is feeling. He arrives to find many ghostly visitors dancing throughout the mansion, which has been transformed into a medieval castle for the holiday. Boo Radley leads him to Lena, who is in a room that has transformed into a conservatory with only the blackest sky over head. Lena is lying in the fetal position on a stone slab, surrounded by her family who are holding hands and chanting in Latin.
Sanguis sanguinis mei, tutela tua est (Blood of my blood, protection is thine)
When Ethan can no longer hear Lena inside of his head and that the family’s chanting is not helping, he bravely breaks through their circle to get to Lena. Some invisible force is pushing him back, but he makes it to Lena. The sky begins to swirl in the circle and the air is sucked up into the black sky, causing an explosion and knocking everyone down. The room has reverted back to normal and the family talk over Ethan and Lena, who are still on the floor. Some family members think that Ethan has power, otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to break the Sanguinis circle to get to Lena.
Finally, Macon’s mother Arelia realizes that their entire family of Casters cannot protect Lena. Only Ethan can protect her and she whispers in his ear “Cruor pectoris mei, tutela tua est” (Blood of my heart, protection is thine).
11.01 The Writing on the Wall
The next morning, Ethan wakes up in Lena’s bedroom after sleeping on the floor. His cell phone’s alarm clock goes off, but instead of playing Bohemian Rhapsody (Cue Wayne and Garth) it is playing the song Sixteen Moons. Lena wakes up and hears the next verse of the song:
Sixteen moons, sixteen years,
Sixteen times you dreamed my fears,
Sixteen will try to Bind the spheres,
Sixteen screams but just one hears …
Lena has understandably had all that she could handle ending with the attack last night and she snaps at Ethan. He decides to be bold and crawls onto the bed and pulled Lena into him, even though he thinks he must smell. “I must reek like a wild possum by now” he thinks while Lena buries her face into his sweatshirt. I snorted out loud when I read that line and got weird looks from my fellow train commuters.
We finally have a name for the telepathy that goes on between Ethan and Lena. It is called Kelting and it is very unusual for it to happen between a Mortal and a Caster. As they discuss how Ethan can interact with Lena in this way, Ethan remarks that he’s not a Caster so none of this should be possible. Lena ponders that someone can have power without being a Caster, but Ethan has an entirely different idea. “Maybe you just have to fall for one.”
After Ethan’s spoken declaration, Lena unconsciously makes one of her own. “You’re not the only one falling” appears in black handwriting on her wall. Ethan and Lena have their first kiss and she wants him to tell her all about how he saved her last night. They discuss the Binding of the house for the New Year and what Lena remembers. A Dark Caster named Sarafine is behind the attack on Lena.
Ethan reassures Lena that she will go Light when she turns sixteen. Then the make out session begins! Every touch between them jolts Ethan with electricity like lightning strikes. Lena starts to get worried, yelling “Ethan” urgently and silently. The bed lifted into the air and Ethan went cold, the lights seeming to turn off in the room.
The next thing Ethan feels after the bed crashes to the ground and the windows shatter was a small, warm hand on his chest. Ryan has come to his rescue and resuscitated him with one touch of her hand. Lena now knows that Ryan is a Thaumaturge, a healer.
11.27 Just Your Average American Holiday
For the next several weeks, Lena and Ethan have settled into a routine. They spent all of their time together, and only 3 people would ever dare eat lunch with them at school. One of those people was Ethan’s best friend Link. When they weren’t in school, they were holed up at the library rereading the Locket Papers and hoping Marian would slip up and reveal some information she wasn’t supposed to reveal.
Their calm and routine changed when Amma invited Lena to Thanksgiving dinner at Ethan’s house. He warned her about most of the eccentricities of his family, but he couldn’t totally prepare her. When they arrive, Amma is cooking up a storm, the Aunts are playing scrabble (Itchin ain’t a word?), his mother’s sister Caroline pulls Ethan into a hug, and Marian arrived with more food.
Once the food is all laid out and the table is set, everyone sits down to enjoy a nice meal. Lena is enjoying it, never having experienced a Thanksgiving dinner before. After uncomfortable slights about the Civil War with the Aunts and about the novels that Ethan’s father has written, the room and its occupants suddenly become frozen.
Amma has received a favor from the Greats to get some time alone with Lena. What Amma doesn’t know is that Ethan can hear everything that is said. Amma grills Lena about the bracelet and how she wasn’t wearing it. Lena tells her that it was blocking the visions from the locket. Amma remarks that Lena’s family isn’t going to tell her the truth so she has to be the one to do it. The person who is after Lena is her not-so-dead mother, Sarafine. Her mother is the darkest living Caster.
When Lena questions Amma about why she is helping her, Amma simply tells her she’s protecting Ethan and the whole situation is bigger than Lena and Ethan. When time resumed, Ethan said “What the hell was that?” Amma was caught off guard but quickly recovered, chastising him for his language.
After dinner, Ethan drove Lena home. He followed her in after a few minutes when he heard her yelling at her Uncle Macon. He opens his bedroom door looking disheveled, but steps through and is dressed and clean. She confronts him about her mother and while she gets angrier, objects in the house start to rattle and light bulbs blow out. He finally admits that her mother is alive and evil, but he won’t give her any more information than that. She uses her powers to shatter a vase close to Macon’s face, proving that she can control some of her powers.
My favorite lines of the chapter came at the end when Macon remarks that Marian can help them find a book about Lena coming into her powers. “Yeah, right. Choices and Changes. A Modern Girl’s Guide to Casting. My Mom Wants to Kill Me: A Self-Help Book for Teens.” Those book titles are pure comic genius!
11.28 Domus Lunae Libri
On Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, Marian arrives at Ethan’s house to take him and Lena to the Caster Library. The library is underneath the Gatlin Historical Society, also home to the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) headquarters. They entered through a hidden and cloaked entrance in the foundation at the rear of the building. Marian warned them about the powerful books housed underground and that only Lena should handle them. When Ethan asks Marian how she got the job as Caster Librarian, she drops the bombshell that Ethan’s mother gave her the job.
Marian cannot help Ethan and Lena, she must remain neutral. They don’t know where to start looking for The Book of Moons and they decide to use the locket to show them the way. He could tell that Marian really wanted to see the vision, so all three held hands and he touched the locket. In the vision they see Genevieve using the book to bring CW Ethan back to life. It works long enough for him to give her the locket before dying for a final time. Suddenly she felt as if she was struck by lightning and she passed out. When she came to, Genevieve had yellow eyes with cat’s eye pupils.
Ivy consults with the Spirits to find out what has happened. They tell her that Genevieve has cursed herself and the fate of every Duchannes child born after her. On the person’s sixteenth birthday, the book will decide if that person goes Light or Dark (meat).
When the vision ended by Ethan dropping it, Macon and Amma were in the library and they were very angry. Lena didn’t regain consciousness when the vision ended however. Macon realizes that Lena is drifting and he thinks he is the only one who can travel to bring her back. Marian remarks that casting doesn’t work in the library, but Amma tells her that only Macon’s kind can go where Lena has gone. So obviously Uncle Macon is not a Caster like Lena and the rest of her family that we have met so far.
Sarafine was holding Lena and Macon can’t bring her back. Tiring of watching helplessly, Ethan grabs Lena and kisses her hard. He kelts to her “Wake up, L. You can’t leave me now. Not like this. I need you more than she does.” Lena immediately wakes up and has an intimate moment with Ethan before she realizes her uncle is there.
Marian, Amma, Macon, Lena, and Ethan go further into the tunnels and argue about the entire situation. Ethan and Lena explain the vision, but Lena is convinced she will go Dark. Ethan and Macon try to convince her that Sarafine just wants her to think that she will turn, but she will definitely be Light when she is claimed on her birthday. The book that cursed Genevieve is brought up along with the need to find it to somehow break the curse. When Ethan straight out asks Marian where The Book of Moons is, she has to tell him that it isn’t in the Caster Library.
When asked “How do you know?”, Macon replies that the library was named for that book. It is the most powerful book and it has been missing for over a hundred years.
Food for thought for this week’s chapters:
1. Who or what do you think kept the front door closed when Mrs. Lincoln comes for a visit? Why do you think it was a bad idea for Mrs. Lincoln to come inside?
2. What do you think is going on with the dog, Boo Radley? Why does he seem to have human eyes and follows Lena everywhere she goes?
3. We learn the next verse of the song Sixteen Moons. What do you think the lyrics represent?
4. Uncle Macon believes Ethan has power. Ethan can protect Lena and break through protection circles, he and Lena can Kelt, and Ridley was able to get into Ravenwood using him. Do you think Ethan is more than your average human? If so, what do you think he is?
5. Ethan finds out that Marian got the Caster Librarian job from his mother. Do you think that his mother was the previous librarian or does she have connections that would allow her to pick the new librarian?
6. The four chapters that I have recapped are dark and serious, with bursts of humor painted in. What are your favorite lines from these chapters? I’ve given my favorites in the recap above.
One final item of note. Guess who is planning on going to the authors of Beautiful Creatures book signing this Wednesday? Well duh, me and onepushyfox! No one lives anywhere near me but her! Anyone jealous?