After turning 16, Lena has to choose between the light and the dark forces that operate through her. The terrifying consequences of her choice are a blight to her mortal friends and foes, particularly at the high school, where a sarcastic comment or withering look can lead to a sudden spontaneous fire, or worse …
Sensitive, gallant Ethan Wate has fallen in love with Lena, and cannot get her out of his mind. But Ethan is a mortal, and loving Lena poses a threat to his own existence. They are linked not only by love but, more starkly, by grief: the novel begins with the loss of Lena’s uncle, while Ethan’s mother has died only a year before. Lena is deeply affected by grief at her loss. We begin to realise that hers is no ordinary family.
Steeped in the Southern Gothic tradition, the novel effectively delivers atmosphere and intrigue in a crafted style that keeps you turning the pages. Escapism it may be, but of a more refined kind than that of the straightforward romance genre. Beautiful Darkness sucks you in and under the surface, like a kind of literary deep-sea adventure. This collaboration is a considerable and fascinating achievement.
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Penguin) £7.99