Monday, June 18, 2012

Kelly Keaton's A Beautiful Evil

A BEAUTIFUL EVIL, by Kelly Keaton, picks up shortly after the end of DARKNESS BECOMES HER. 17-year old Aristanae (Ari) Selkirk has decided to stay in New 2 and has been granted access and the opportunity by New 2’s Novem families to start school at Presbytere and learn how to fight with Bran Ramsey.

Presby is a place where students are taught a curriculum that consists of normal as well as paranormal studies. It is also where the Novem’s library is located and only a few have access to the secrets held within. The library is Ari’s best way to find information on her gorgon curse, and a way for her to stop Athena in her tracks, and to rescue Violet.

Ari is a descendant of Medusa and knows that unless she finds a cure before she turns 21, she will become just like her legendary relative and she will end up turning people into stone. After seeing what her future could hold at the end of DARKNESS BECOMES HER thanks to Athena, Ari will do almost anything to avoid a fate she considers worse than death itself.

For the first third of this book, it was all about Ari’s training and her desire to find a way to avoid her curse as well as finding a way into Athena’s well-fortified castle to rescue Violet. This means a lot of world building and character development. While it wasn’t mind blowing and action packed, it wasn’t something that could be avoided. Ari understandably needs to find a way to help herself before she can help others.

Then things really start to pick up as a new character that may, or may not be able to help Ari in the future, Menai, is introduced and Sebastian undergoes a drastic change at the hands of Athena. We also get to see more of Ari’s own father-Theron-who has been tortured repeatedly by Athena for what she sees as his betrayal for not doing what she asked of him.

Ari really grew on me as a character this time out. She understands the consequences of her actions, yet remains steadfast and true to her willingness to protect those like Violet who are a bit of a wild card. Violet really comes through in this installment, and I want to know what her powers are that allowed her to walk away from Athena relatively unscathed.

For Sebastian, he came away changed and more powerful than anyone can imagine. What that means in the general scheme of things and the war against Athena, is anyone’s guess. His relationship with Ari also is something that has grown after he was shocked to learn what will become of her when she turns 21. Those looking for romance will have to wait a little longer to see if Keaton actually goes in that direction.

If you are looking for a villain among villains, then Athena is your choice. She is sick, evil, twisted, and terrifying. She truly believes that she is indestructible and able to use Ari to do her bidding and that Ari will bow down to her wishes. We even get a look into her background and how she was able to defeat Zeus.
I loved the continued presence of Crank, Dub, and especially Henri. Henri plays a major role in this storyline and we learn more about his abilities. He is definitely worth reading about all on his own.

For me, there MUST be another installment in this series since many questions are left unanswered, and the status of Athena is left opened to interpretation by the reader. There are so many different ways for this series to come to a grand standing ending, that it would be ashamed if the third book wasn't better than the first two.

Author: Kelly Keaton
Title: A Beautiful Evil
Published by: Simon Pulse
Released: February 21, 2012

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