By Cynthia Ayala
Ridley Duchannes is a bad girl. She lets the world know in her skimpy clothes and high heels. She’s a Dark Castor, a Siren. You can never trust her, and you shouldn’t. But lucky for her, her on-again-off-again boyfriend Wesley “Link” Lincoln doesn’t know any better. Ridley’s past, her mistakes, have gotten her into a world of trouble and for her, Link is her key out. But something more sinister is after the pair of them, something that may cost them everything.
Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl is the first published novel of their new series, a spin-off of Beautiful Creatures. Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on May 20, 2014, the novel follows fan favorite bad girl Ridley as she gets into a whole new world of trouble with her quarter Incubus boyfriend, fellow fan favorite, Link.
This was a very fun novel to read that completely differentiates itself from the series it spun from. Switching between perspectives, the story is told in the first person going between Link, Ridley and Lennox Gates, all of which have their own internal problems that drive the story and connect everything together. Characterization is key is making that happen and what the pair of writers were able to do was make very strong characters with vibrant personalities and strong interconnected dynamics.
What makes it easier for the reader is that the story recaps events from the previous story but not in a tedious way that makes the story dreary and redundant. The story recaps the past in minor moments that work to build up the romantic and tension between the characters. This story just takes a darker less romantic direction than the previous series and that includes the characterization. Ridley may have been a minor character, the bad girl, but there really is a lot of depth to her character that was never explored before. There is something very fragile in her character but the way she is portrayed still makes her a strong character, and that’s something very creative.
As for Link, he was certainly a good background character who served as good comic relief, but much like with Ridley, this story has given him the chance to shine. He was always the sidekick but now his character has grown up and has risen to the occasion of being the hero. More importantly, his rise fits within the story and the characterization. Garcia and Stohl were able to reinvent his character without erasing all the charm that is the foundation for his narration.
At the end of the day though, the characterization is the best part of the novel because the story is lacking something. The story definitely has all of its drama and plot twists but there is a spark missing. This is unfortunate considering the plethora of exciting and fun characters within the novel. There are times when the novel just comes off as very juvenile. Moreover, other moments seem repetitive especially those moments when Ridley goes on about her wardrobe. It’s understandable that the readers want to introduce this character to new fans but her clothing, her choice of heels every time when she gets dressed just comes off as superficial when her character is far from superficial and redundant. After a time the reader gets it, this is a sultry bad girl; it is obvious from the opening page.
Dangerous Creatures is a decent enough novel but the story is overall bland and the real redeeming feature of the novel is the humorous and witty narrative between the characters. (★★★☆☆ | C+)