Beautiful Darkness - Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl Ethan thought everything would get back to normal after Lena’s sixteenth birthday, but all is not well in Gatlin. Lena is grieving over the loss of a loved one and has begun pushing Ethan away from her, getting dangerously close to turning Dark. When she runs off with Ridley and an incubus/caster hybrid named John, Ethan decides to go after her. She’s in danger, he can feel it, and it is up to him to save her, whether she wants to be saved or not.

I didn’t like this book as well as the first, mostly because of Lena. She was so mean to Ethan, a sweet, loving boy, utterly devoted to her, for most of the novel. She is nice to him one day, mean the next, she leaves him in the dust as she rides off on the back of John’s motorcycle, but throws a psychotic fit when he is tempted by the new girl in town, Liv. So it’s okay for her to dump him and run off with a strange guy, but he can’t be friends with Liv without her freaking out? The parts of the book that didn’t involve Lena, aside from the climax and everything following it, were the best scenes in the story.

I was a little irritated that Ethan was so strung out over Lena too. A lot of guys would have said, “Screw you, if you’re going to treat me like that!” He did feel that way at first, but he still wanted to try and save her, regardless of whether she was even still capable of loving him anymore. Lena was being so awful, I really wanted him to end up with Liv, who seems like a genuinely awesome character and who likes Ethan for who he is. I love Liv, and I hope she plays a big role in the following books of the series. Link is, as always, the loyal, goofy best friend, willing to do anything for Ethan, and still hoping he can find the good side of Ridley. Ridley, herself, goes through a bit of a transformation in this installment, so the future books of the series should be quite interesting.

I really liked that this book explored the underground Caster tunnels and revealed many secrets about Ethan’s family as well as Macon Ravenwood. The tunnels seem endless and you can make a great time using them to get around, as time passes differently in the tunnels than the mortal realm. I found this exploration fun, and liked the events that happen along the way. Plenty of juicy secrets come to light and transitions made, lives forever changed with one journey.

The climactic scene could have been a little better. I was expecting quite a fight, but it was pretty uneventful. Also, Liv seems to disappear once the climax begins, because the authors no longer mention her, though I assume she was there the entire time. I know this is the story of Ethan and Lena’s romance, but don’t let your secondary characters fade away, especially one as sweet and fun as Liv. We get a brief mention of her current activities toward the end of the novel, so we can assume she made it through the fight okay, but otherwise, no Liv.

I don’t really understand why Larkin is even in this book. He is used so little, I don’t see his role necessary to the plot. He’s a powerful illusionist and very underused considering what he is capable of. I hope this isn’t his last hurrah. If so, his character has been cheated. Also, I wanted to see a bit more of Ethan’s relationship with his father and see how that is mending. Still, the end also left quite the cliffhanger, so I’ll be getting my hands on the next installment to find out what happens.

Overall, it’s decent, but not as good as the first entry due to aforementioned reasons. I hope these things are cleared up in the next two books in the series.