Published: May 20th 2014 by Penguin
Format: Paperback, 327 pages
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Ridley Duchannes will be the first to tell you that she's a bad girl. She's Dark. She's a Siren. You can never trust her, or even yourself when she's around. Lucky for her, Wesley "Link" Lincoln can never seem to remember that; quarter Incubus or not, his heart is Mortal when it comes to Ridley. When Link heads to New York City to start a music career, Ridley goes along for the ride-and she has her own reasons. As if leaving small-town Gatlin for the big city, trying to form a band, and surviving life with a partially reformed Siren isn't hard enough already, Link soon learns he has a price on his head that no Caster or Mortal can ever pay.
I haven’t read the Beautiful Creatures series (yet, I have a boxed set of them though), but I have watched the movie (and I loved it!). I was really excited to read Dangerous Creatures because I thought Ridley was pretty awesome in the movie.
The prologue of Dangerous Creatures hooked me right in – Ridley’s voice is so strong and bratty as she describes her state of mind and the rules she lives by. But you can see, even in the first few pages, that the way she sees herself is changing and that she’s desperately trying to cling onto a persona that might not fit her anymore.
But I was disappointed with the rest of the story. The cast from the Beautiful Creatures series are off to their next adventures, and there’s this awfully contrived and clumsy scene where they’re camping and then do a Binding Spell together. It didn’t feel natural at all. As the book progressed, there was more of this: almost every plot development in this book feels forced.
In fact, a lot of potential in the plot was severely let down by its execution. I enjoyed the first half since the set-up was pretty good – we were introduced to Lennox’s plight and the new band, the magical deals and the club Sirene. But it deteriorated into a series of increasingly unbelievable coincidences: Ridley going to a hotel owned by Dark Casters; the information-gathering “date” with Lennox; the forced kiss and the clumsy way she tries to get information out of him; Ridley completely missing the most important person in that photograph. There are also lost plot-lines all over the place. The brief stint Ridley has at trying to lead a Mortal life is a good example, but others include the rings that she and Link wear, and the beginnings of the love-triangle. The clumsy plotting made Ridley and Link out to be a lot dumber than they actually are: it’s hard to believe intelligent people would have made the choices they did.
That’s not to say there aren’t some great scenes, because there are some amazing bits of dialogue and character growth. I think Lennox Gates lit up every scene he was in – he’s a powerful force and I enjoyed uncovering his past piece by piece. The members of Link’s new band are also interesting and I’d like to get to know Floyd and Necro better.
Unfortunately, Ridley never regains the snark she had in the prologue – she’s instead broken and cracked. She desperately tries to put that persona on but failed miserably (in my eyes). She swings unpredictably between thinking she’s all that and being severely depressed, displaying none of the vivacity and charm I’d expected her to. If it was the authors’ intention to show us how unstable she is under her veneer of self-assurance and pride then I have to say that it failed: that veneer was cracked from the very first chapter and I never felt that any of the people around her believed her act anyway.
Remember, I haven’t read the Beautiful Creatures series, but I cannot see why Link and Ridley are together. There’s just nothing there to convince me that they actually like each other. They have an easy, snarky banter, which was fun, but there’s no trust and very little respect in their relationship. Ridley’s just floating around going “Oh but this boy makes me want to be Good but I’m Bad, he should be with a Lena-type person instead, let me Bad for no reason, just because I can be”, and Link is all “She lies and manipulates but I asked her not to and so she won’t and I’m really naïve”. If the only way these two can be together is by one or both changing their entire personality then that’s really unhealthy.
I don’t know. I didn’t feel Ridley and Link in this book. Since I’ve only watched the Beautiful Creatures movie, I’m starting to think that the movie made them out to be different to what they were in the books, and that’s tripped me up. It also feels like this book didn’t have a direction. Or if it did, that the plotting didn’t do it justice. Dangerous Creatures ends on a cliffhanger, and although it did get my heart pumping for a few seconds, it is too easily dismissed as a ploy to get readers to pick up the next book.