Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton

Title: A Beautiful Evil
Author: Kelly Keaton
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 21, 2012
Pages: 287 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: Bought it.
Purchase: Amazon; Barnes and Noble; Book Depository

When Ari first arrived in the dilapidated city of New 2, all she wanted was to figure out who she was. But what she discovered was beyond her worst nightmare. ari is a descendant of Medusa and can already sense the evil growing inside her--a power that the goddess Athena will stop at nothing to possess.

Desperate to hold on to her humanity and protect her loved ones, Ari must fight back. But Athena's playing mind games, not just with Ari but with those Ari cares about most. And Athena has a very special plan for the brooding and sexy Sebastian.

Ari is determined to defeat Athena, but time is running out. With no other options, Ari must unleash the very thing she's afraid of: herself.


My disappointment with A Beautiful Evil and most of the twists it brings to the story hardly surprises me, but it stings nonetheless, especially because reviewing this book would be as easy as copying and pasting my entire review from Darkness Becomes Her here. Sequels are supposed to offer some variety and improvements, not be more of the same in both the good and bad ways.

There are authors both professional and aspiring out there who would kill to have as fantastic of an idea in their heads and/or as well-drawn of a heroine as Keaton has with the world of her Gods and Monster series and Ari. I wouldn't necessarily kill for them, but I would certainly do many reprehensible things to have something with the same massive potential. Seeing it get wasted by way of uninspired and repetitive writing, one-dimensional characters, and lightning-fast pacing that moves far too fast is frustrating.

Thankfully, Ari is not and has never been one-dimensional. Her struggles with finding out who she was in the last book and her fight to accept the gorgon monster within her in this book were fantastic. Every other character in the series is a different story. Sebastian is only the love interest meant to give her the requisite YA snogging and get threatened so Ari will fight; Violet is one of the most adorable creepy children I've ever seen, but we still know nothing about her. The adults, the other orphans--nada. I love having a great main character and all, but it shouldn't be hard to extend that careful characterization to at least one other character.

Well, maybe one other character has depth: Athena. It's not outright confirmed, but one possible motive for why she went mad, murdered Zeus, and took over is discovered. She remains the madwoman she was in Darkness Becomes Her and demonstrates a little bit deeper of a madness with the torture at her banquets (though some of it borders narmy with how over-the-top it is). Her portrayal is honestly one of the best I've seen out of all the Greek mythology-related books I've read because it sticks to her personality and I can see her going mad after so much time.

I complain so much about novels that lag too much or need better pacing, but A Beautiful Evil is one book that needs to slow down. That the book goes from one place to another without slowing down for a minute contributes to the one-dimensional-characters problem mentioned above; how can they be fleshed out if the book won't make time for them? The same uninspired writing and repetitive descriptions that marred the last book appear again and I would happily see them out if only they would leave.

The ending is what really got me. Ari does not one but two fairly horrible things to Sebastian while Athena has them imprisoned and there appears to be no conflict between them over what she did. Really? No anger, no resentment, no nothing? She messes up his life twice and he has absolutely no problem with anything she did? Sebastian has never been anything but a one-dimensional love interest, but he had a chance to get some depth and it gets taken away just like that. I could have pulled out all my hair.

Unless the blurb for the third book of the series is so absolutely drool-worthy that I feel like I just have to read it, I doubt I will be sticking around to finish off the series. At least reading the two books of the series did something good for me: it inspired me to get writing and make my manuscripts as fantastic as possible so they don't end up ruining a great premise like this series did.

2 stars!

What am I reading next?: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

1 comment:

  1. When I finished reading its preview and found out that my cousin is in their bookstore I asked her how good is the book, then she said it's perfectly great so I told her to buy the book for me. Then I found this blog, I have a feeling that it's really nice book, I'll read it later, after blogging.


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