by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Series: Dangerous Creatures, #0.5
Released on: December 17th, 2013
Published by: Little, Brown
Rating: 1 star
Word rating: lol nope
Reviewed by: Ellis
Catch up with Ethan, Lena, and Link as they finally graduate from high school and get ready to leave the small Southern town of Gatlin.
But when Dark Caster Ridley makes an appearance, the sometime bad girl can't resist picking a fight with her sometime boyfriend, Link.
Angry and rebellious as ever, Ridley ends up alone in New York City and becomes entangled in the dangerous underground Caster club scene, where the stakes are high and losers pay the ultimate price.
Where's a Linkubus when you need him?
Beautiful Creatures is one of those series I just can't seem to quit. Even with their mind-numbingly slow pace and pretentious tendency to throw around literary quotes like you'll be quizzed immediately upon finishing, these books are mildly amusing to me. So, when I saw Dangerous Dream, the prequel novella to the New Adult-ish spin-off featuring Ethan and Lena's "dangerous" best friends, Link and Ridley, my curiosity got the better of me.
I had hope initially, because the change in POVs meant that I didn't have to deal with Ethan's snobbish and condescending narration anymore. Imagine my surprise when the first chapter gives me exactly that. It's graduation time in Gatlin and apparently we need Ethan's perspective to bridge Beautiful Creatures and Dangerous Creatures. I guess this will be a nostalgic moment for actual fans of the series, but I just craughed my way through the same old UGH GATLIN IS THE WORST, I HATE EVERYONE HERE, and I'M SO GLAD I FINALLY GET TO LEAVE THIS IS WHAT I ALWAYS WANTED.
Of course, these books wouldn't be nearly as predictable if Ridley didn't do something to mess up graduation. Because, you know, Ridley. Apparently her "casting" the diplomas into a basket of snakes is proof that she's a good bad girl, or a bad good girl, or the compromise Ethan eventually goes with: a bad girl with a heart of gold. Not that any of this really comes across, because these books still seem to be very fond of telling instead of showing. I'm sorry, but I don't see short skirts, pink streaks and a habit of eating lollipops 24/7, essentially all of Ridley's characterisation, as indicative of a "bad girl".
With a new series comes a new ship. Ethan and Lena are still as mushy as ever, so I guess that's why we switch to their "dangerous" sidekicks Ridley and Link now. Luckily, after the "Before" chapter, we literally switch to their POVs and Ethan is left far, far behind. This is an improvement. Too bad the attempts at banter fail miserable and that the only thing this oh so dangerous couple does is fight, ignore each other and make out. That is truly dangerous stuff, yo. Hide yo kids. Hide yo wife.
Summer lovin' for Ridley and Link is officially over when he tells her he loves her, which is such an awkward turtle-inducing situation that their friends run off as quickly as possible. There actually is a pretty interesting conflict at the core of this issue. Since Ridley is a Siren, guys telling her they love her doesn't mean anything. That's part of what her power is. I think part of the reason why she doesn't want Link to declare his love is because she wants it to be real but can never be really sure of that due to her love declaration-inducing power. Unfortunately, this isn't really explored, and instead Ridley jets off as well and spends the rest of her summer on a Serena Van der Woodsen fresh out of boarding school-esque vacation. Boys, booze, and bad decisions, basically.
Speaking of B-words, this book (ha!) has the annoying tendency to capitalise the word "babe". Now, whenever I see Babe capitalised, I think of
which I don't think is the effect they were going for. Just like Babe, however, Ridley decides to go to the city. New York City, that is. Being the witchy version of Serena Van der Woodsen, the first thing she does is hit up the hottest nightclub. There she discovers that a new game has arrived on the Caster Scene: Liar's Trade. If you don't know what that is or what the rules are but would like to play it yourself, don't worry. There are whole paragraphs that go into the smallest details of this game. Spoiler: it's the card game commonly known to mortals as Bullshit or Cheat, only now the buy-in is magical powers.
In a craughingly predictable and ironic twist (not really) of events, Ridley ends up cheating at this game (get it?), but lo and behold, she gets caught. Now she owns some evil unspecified Caster something and that's how you set up the central conflict for the following three à four books. Only it will probably have to make way for the real central conflict, which I'm pretty sure is Ridley finally accepting Link's love confession and being able to say those words back. Considering the resolution of the original series was Lena and Ethan finally being able to hold hands without him slowly being murdered by her powers - too bad that never happened - it wouldn't really surprise me if this were the case.
All in all, Dangerous Dream reads like a gigantic recap of the original Beautiful Creatures series, with some randoms threads of new conflict thrown in. It was impossible to keep a straight face while reading this. The thing is, it tries too hard to be bantery and cute and "dangerous" and compelling, instead of just being those things. Large part of that has to do with the fact that everything is told instead of shown. It's hilarious, really, and definitely not in a good way.
Now watch me read the rest of this series. My boobs are telling me there's 95% chance of that happening.