First a reminder you can win an autographed copy of Beautiful Darkness here.
If you're read Beautiful Creatures you know it had a rather open ending, and you probably like me, were counting down the days to the release of Beautiful Darkness. The sequel totally lived up to the expectations set by the first book in this series. The thing I love about these books is that while the romance is very stong, it's not the whole book. There is so much more going on, the struggles of good and evil and the both protagonists' struggle to find their identity. Identity--another thing I love about these books. Very often, in a series you have one book with a very strong theme and the next either has a completely different theme or no theme at all. Beautiful Creatures had a strong theme of identity mostly shown through Lena's struggle to claim herself. Beautiful Darkness continues that theme mostly through Ethan's struggle to determine where he fits in a universe where he's more or less rejected by and rejects the mortals and cannot be supernatural, but doesn't abandon Lena's need to claim herself.
I've said more than once that if Twilight is a love story with vampires, The Caster Chronicles is a magic story with love. That's one thing I absolutely love about this series. The romance is up to par with paranormal romances but the magic is so strongly weaven in that I think it could appeal to others, like my husband, as well. I've also enjoyed that Beautiful Darkness was from Ethan's perspective. I know the first one was as well, but that didn't matter to me. Lena isn't really a girly girl and it was a new relationship. I don't think either perspective would have changed the story that much. But this book was more about the struggles of maintaing a relationship and the feelings you experience when you lose someone you love. I think from a girl's perspective it would have been annoying, sorry. (I will own up to my political incorrectness). Finally, my last brag for this book is that I do not think it was a filler. The story unfolded, not the way I expected it to, but was an authentic story. There was a need for a sequel the way the first one ended which supported the authenticity.
What I didn't like--the end. Yep, I said it. The book wasn't a filler the end sets up a filler. Lena's claimed herself, but messed up the order of things setting up one sequel. This was skillfully tied in and did not bother me. The claiming moon was called out of season and with the choice she made, there is still the need for a sequel. But some other things happened in the last ten pages that I felt was really just to set up a sequel and served no other purpose. It makes me think the third book might be a filler. Of course, with the way this one ended I'll have to read it anyhow.