I was told to wait on Beautiful Chaos until Beautiful Redemption was out. Well, it's been out for a while I haven't gotten to them. I finally picked up Beautiful Chaos.
The whole Caster Chronicles series is easily one of the best examples I've seen of when a series feels like one long story. Other series are also one story, series usually are, but the divisions in the books are often marked and noticeable. With the Caster Chronicles the divides aren't as noticeable.
Even with typical broken up stories, I have a hard time choosing a favorite. I often I can't. I think Beautiful Chaos is my favorite of the three I've read so far.
This book confirms everything that I love about Ethan. He's selfless and confused and he struggles with everything that he should struggle with. He goes to such lengths to stop from hurting anyone. One of my favorite things about this series has always been Ethan. He's such a wonderful narrator. And the steady resolve with which he went to his fate in Chaos was heart breaking and beautiful. And Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl have this wonderful way of letting the reader see everything through his eyes but at the same time showing the truth in things. Ethan knows when he's being stubborn and when he's right and what he needs to do.
I think it's so hard seeing Ethan begin to fall apart because we knew what was happening. He never stopped being Ethan or being recognizable as the character that both the reader and the other characters love but there were just all of these little bits of himself that were vanishing. And I think that Garcia and Stohl did such a great job picking these traits that seemed innocuous but packed a punch, like Ethan's well known love for chocolate milk. I wondered how far it would have gone if the sacrifice hasn't happened when it had. I absolutely love him. I had been afraid Ethan would take a back seat but he most definitely did not.
I found Lena much more bearable in this book. I mentioned in my Beautiful Darkness post that I thought Lena always felt like her problems were heavier and more difficult than Ethan's and that frustrated me. In Chaos that playing field has been leveled. Her problems are his problems and that allowed me to go back to liking her like I did reading Beautiful Creatures. She allowed herself to just be herself without as much of the angst. I was surprised by that because she is responsible for the broken order. I was surprised but not disappointed.
I was surprised by how John fit into the story. I'm still not sure of him but by the end he'd definitely grown on me. He has the snark that I usually just completely adore but somehow, despite that he pales in comparison to Ethan. I did like the dynamic between he and Liv. They bond over being these outsiders that don't really have anywhere else to go. They don't really belong where they are but don't really belong anywhere else either.
Ridley was a lot of fun this book. I love her and Link and it stung seeing her be too stubborn to accept him. But I also love that Link refuses to give his world up for her. He knows where he stands.
I really liked watching Link come into his powers. He's still Link but at the same time he grows so much in this book. He understands the weight of what's going on and he has input. I love his humor about the whole thing but he still doesn't take everything lightly.
Watching Amma go so desperately dark was terrible but wonderful from a writing perspective. It's all so gut twisting to see her struggle with what's happening. Ethan is not the only one we see deteriorating.
I was so excited to see what was going on with Macon. And his new found light and dark control power is pretty bad ass but I wasn't as into it as I thought I would be. It's nothing wrong with the story but I was so much more involved with that was going on with Ethan.
I love actually being able to see the effects of an action as great as bringing Ethan back from the dead. It's not often that I feel like stories take responsibility for the big actions like this. Cassandra Clare has started that in the second leg of the Mortal Instruments but it comes across as almost an after thought. And, so far, doesn't have results that have been so beautiful as this.
I really loved this book. Everything came together here. And it is the perfect blend of story and character. The last chunk of the book, after Ethan realizes that he's the crucible is just so well done. You can just feel everything coming together in this ending, as terrible as it is (and knowing it's not really the end) that's just wonderful. It's aching and sad and I can't wait to read Beautiful Redemption.
So, I give Beautiful Chaos a rating of: Beyond Epic.
So, there's my gush fest over Beautiful Chaos. Next I am reading Nina LaCour's Hold Still. It's my work's YA Bookclub pick this month so let's check it out.
Have any of you read either Beautiful Chaos or Hold Still? What did you think?
Until next time,