Bestsellers to Blockbusters: Light and Dark at War

Skipping a couple of books and movies here since I haven’t seen The Perks of Being a Wallflower movie (will post on it once I have compared the two), and I don’t have much to say about the Beastly (2011) movie.  Therefore, up next is the Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.  This time, I have both read all the books and seen the movie.

Caster Chronicles: Books, 2009-2012. Movie: 2013

The Characters of Beautiful Creatures. Mrs. Lincoln, Ama, Link, Lena, Ethan, Uncle Macon, and Ridley.

The Caster Chronicles starts with Beautiful Creatures, the title being a reference to something a character says about humans being “such beautiful creatures”.  It tells the story of seventeen-year-old Ethan Wate who prior to the start of the story has been having dreams of a beautiful girl his age.  Imagine his surprise when he meets the new girl at school and it’s the girl from his dreams, literally.  Lena Duchannes has also been dreaming about Ethan, and the too become friends and eventually start dating.  But Lena is no ordinary girl, and her family isn’t ordinary either.  They are Castors, essentially witches, and Ethan gets swept into their world and a curse that has plagued Lena’s family for generations.  Lena is the only one who can break the cycle, but will they be able to figure out how in time?  Their story is continued in Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos, and Beautiful Redemption.

I first heard about these in my YA books class, so when I heard a movie version was coming out I tracked them down.  I could not put them down.  I absolutely loved the concept of the Caster world.  Every character was unique and had a unique power, from Macon the Incubus that chooses to be Light despite his nature, to crazy Aunt Del who sees and reads Time.  One of my favorites was Marian the town librarian who has a quote for everything and doubles as The Keeper of the Caster library that is housed right under the noses of the town’s busy body Southern ladies.  I also loved the idea that Casters could chose to be Light or Dark based on their personalities, but that the Duchannes family is cursed to not be able to chose what they become.   The most interesting part was that instead of being told from the girl’s point of view as most books like this are, it was told from the point of view of Ethan giving them a refreshing twist.  These books were also much better written in my opinion than the Twilight books.

When the movie came out in February, I was excited to see it.  It looked like it was going to be good, and I could already see Jeremy Irons as Macon in my head as a read the book.  However, the move changed a LOT.  Number one, only the girls in Lena’s family were cursed with not being able to chose what they are “claimed” as instead of the whole family.  Second, they left out cousins and changed powers around to compensate, including changing what one character was claimed as making him Light instead of having a big shocker reveal at the end that he was Dark.  Thirdly, Marian was cut out entirely and her character was combined with that of Ama (both of which are awesome characters in their own right), the Seer who helped raise Ethan, changing the job of the Keeper from a neutral position that must be held by a human to one that is the Seer’s job, which changes the Laws of the Caster world and The Order, and makes it hard to continue the story since the characters have different over all roles to play.   Other changes were more minor, like cutting out just how much the kids at school hate Lena and condensing the timeline.  I did like the change of scene from the school gym to the church when a hearing is called to decided if Lena can stay in the school, because Macon – whom everyone in town thinks is a devil worshiper – walking into a church and spilling everyone’s secrets, even if a couple were cut out, was pretty awesome.  It did have some redeeming qualities though.  The house used to represent Ravenwood was spot on, it looked like a dilapidated and neglected old Antebellum mansion, just as it was supposed to with the inside being almost as described.  The costumes were also awesome, and were as described as well.  I also liked the casting, pun intended.  Jeremy Irons was perfect for Macon, and I usually don’t like it when Brits attempt to play Southerners since they never can seem to pull off the accent (If you’ve ever heard Maggie Smith attempt it in The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood you know what I mean), but his accent was intact and it didn’t matter.  Viola Davis as Ama was great too, and I loved her costumes and the characterization they brought to her Seer personality.  Overall though, the movie was like a different story.  It was good, but not great.  I don’t think the others will be made since it was not a successful adaptation domestically, and barely broke even after it’s International release.

All in all, the books are better.  And remember, only you can Claim yourself for Light or Dark.

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