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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?It's not an exaggeration to say that the events of Beautiful Darkness were a game changer. No person in Gatlin has gone unaffected, Caster or Mortal, whether they're aware of the dark and supernatural world that exists alongside them or not. Lena's Claiming had detrimental effects, shattering the Order of Things. Caster powers are unpredictable, Gatlin is suffering it's greatest ever heat wave and Ethan is..... different. Memories are slowly beginning to escape him and cryptic dreams once again haunt his nights. The stakes are raised ten fold in Beautiful Chaos as mayhem and disorder reach an unbearable crescendo, dark forces are striking harder and more often and the emotional weight on the characters is monumental.
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.
There is a terrible secret eating away at Amma's heart and she grows more darker and frantic than Ethan has ever seen. It was shocking to see a character who is ordinarily so strong and knowing, begin to crumble in the way she did - but understandably so. Everyone is impacted in some way or another. Link (or Linkubus <3) is growing into his new found 'superpowers', but his emotional turmoil lay with Ridley. They have such a dysfunctional, back-and-forth relationship, but you can see they truly care about each other. There's a lot of angst and frustration for them and you just want to shake them both and say "BE TOGETHER!" I love Ridley, even if I want to smack her upside the head sometimes for her choices!
And of course, there is some tension between Ethan, Lena and Liv. Don't worry, it's far from ever being a love triangle. In fact, Liv may actually be finding a spark of romance elsewhere.... in quite an unexpected person! (Who, for the record, I totally approve her with). But I definitely felt the frustration while Ethan and Liv avoided one another, because I just wanted them to be friends again! And it was so clear they missed one another. I loved how it played out though, and especially how that tension between Lena and Liv was released... it made for quite an amusing scene!
It's the small details, so masterfully sprinkled throughout that make Gatlin feel so real and familiar each time you dive into a new book. And it makes it all the more heartbreaking when tragedy strikes. More than once I was left devastated by a turn of events and especially during the end, where I unashamedly shed a few tears. Those scenes were so heartfelt and beautifully written, I dare anyone who has come to love these characters, to not feel some emotion for what happens.
Beautiful Chaos is the darkest and most emotional installment yet. The Gatlin you grew to love is torn apart and your favourite characters must each face some of their darkest hours. Not all will survive the crushing wheel of fate and sacrifices are made that will change everything. It ends on a crazy, 'NOOOOOOOOO,' cliffhanger that will have you biting your nails down to stubs until the fourth novel comes out! Which, for the sake of my sanity, I sincerely hope is soon.
5/5 Golden Apples!