Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stoll
Summary(from Goodreads): Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.
Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.
As a general rule, I don't like reviewing books that aren't number one in series, but this is one where I had to make an exception. I loved Beautiful Darkness. It, like the first in the Caster Chronicles, pulled me into Gatlin, and into Ethan's point of view. I could feel everything like I was right there. I could feel Ethan's love, Lena's pain, Ridley's sorrow.
As with Beautiful Creatures, I loved the plot. It was obvious the authors knew what they wanted, and how to write it in an enjoyable way. They did a good job of keeping me in suspense and wanting to read more. Unfortunately, when I started, I hadn't read Beautiful Creatures in a long time, so it kept mentioning Sarafine. I (I can't believe this), had forgotten who Sarafine was. Huh. Turns out she was the main bad guy (well, girl). I was quite horrified that I'd forgotten that.
I'm quite surprised with the characters. Ethan was the same as ever, but I suddenly liked Lena a lot less and her cousin, Ridley, a lot more. Ridley is a Siren, and not a very nice one, at that, but something (I'm not giving away any major plot points) happened to her to make me feel bad for her, and that's when I saw the other side to her. Maybe she wasn't so horrible after all. She began to seem more like a helpless girl than a strong Siren. She is all of a sudden my favourite character in the book, right after Ethan. But Lena. . . I don't even want to get into her. She just started to frustrate me.
I'm looking forward to the rest of the books in the Caster Chronicles, and can't wait to read more about Ridley!