Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena’s Claiming. Even Lena’s family of powerful Supernaturals is affected – and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What — or who — will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?
For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He’s being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn’t by Lena – and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself — forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn’t know why, and most days he’s too afraid to ask.
Sometimes there isn’t just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there’s no going back. And this time there won’t be a happy ending.
Good Lord, that summary is not lying. This book was tough to read. Ethan is slowly losing his mind, Lena and the other Casters’ powers are unpredictable and malfunctioning, Ridley is on a mission to take down Savannah Snow and causing general mayhem, and Link is…well, he’s still Link. Linkubus to be exact. Ridley and Link continue to be on and off, and Lena and Ethan are doing fine, aside from Lena turning into Rogue from X-Men. Amma has gone dark for longer than ever, and Link and Ethan see her do something that goes against everything they know about her. John Breed is missing, and everyone, including Abraham, is looking for him.
Reading this book is painful, because ya’ll know my love for and devotion to Ethan Wate. And he hurts in this book. He’s having those living dreams again, only Lena isn’t in these. He fights a monster who looks like himself, and he can’t figure out what it wants. Lena’s powers have amplified to the point that she can cause flash floods in one minute and a forest fire the next. Ethan can barely touch Lena, let alone kiss her. He does it anyway, of course, but they both know what’s happening. He’s losing his memories, things that happened in his life, and he doesn’t know why. Lena digs into her past, and it’s painful for her to see Serafine as she was before she went truly dark. Ridley seems to be able to Cast, though she’s Mortal now, and she’s using these unusual powers to raise holy hell on Savannah Snow. I don’t really like Ridley, so her pain just annoys me. I don’t like Savannah Snow either, so you know, whatever.
Bad things start to happen, and Ethan starts hearing another song–Eighteen Moons. His father decides to name his book, Eighteen Moons. The song is everywhere, but Lena isn’t sure it’s about her. Abraham pays Ethan a visit in the night and then wreaks havoc on Gatlin. Some people you know in this series are seriously hurt, and it sucks. The last book in this series made me cry, but this one had me crying from the very beginning. I even started to sympathize with freaking Serafine. And you know what? That is awesome. It takes a really good writer to shuck the trappings of evil villains tropes and to turn those villains into real people who have been hurt, wronged, twisted, or abused. They give Serafine a reason for being the way she is, a legitimate reason that makes me hurt for her even if I don’t believe that the ends justify her means.
It’s really hard to be vague about the plot, because a lot happens. Ethan’s dreams take up a large portion of the beginning of the book, and a lot of the rest of it is spent showing Ethan falling apart. This book is dark, as dark as Serafine, and it’s a tough read. These characters hurt throughout the entire book, but I love them and I love this series, and I was not disappointed by Beautiful Chaos. In fact, I liked this one more than Beautiful Darkness. I like books that feel real, with destruction and chaos and death of characters you love, because that’s life. People die, relationships end, but the Wheel keeps turning. Maybe that’s why I like dystopias so much. That genre isn’t afraid to kill every character in the book.
I don’t know how to end this, really, because the book is so heart-wrenching and I can’t really find anything witty to say about it. This book will break your heart. Prepare yourselves and dive in.