I doubt this review has that many spoilers, if any, so I didn't put the block on. But if you consider the use of examples to explain why I have my opinions, then yes, there are spoilers. Oh dear God. What happened, Kami? You were doing so well. And then BAM. We get this piece of shit. Crash and burn, Garcia. Crash. and. BURN. I was expecting some kick-ass epicness that swallows me whole and makes me want to build a shrine to the author. I was expecting a character-based fantasy in which all the people in the story are believable and lovable in their own way. I was expecting awesomeness. I was expecting anything that was not this. Ethan is annoying as Hell, with his dramatic inner monologue and dorky/over-done admiration for Lena. Lena was oblivious to pretty much everything going on with Ridley and and just plain stupid. Ridley whined about every godamn thing you could possibly imagine. I wanted to throttle her. I don't know if this series was always this melodramatic and I'm just realizing it now, or if it's only this book. There was so much angst and pessimism and just.... ugh! This trainwreck wasn't even saved by it's sparkling plotline, either. It was so see through I only needed a few chapters to figure out how this book was going to go. I wasn't surprised at all, and there was no feeling of suspense since I pretty much knew how it would end. Here's advice to everyone ever planning on writing a fiction book: if your plot has too many twists, the surprises become unsurprising. Everyone knows what happens next and then we get frustrated because the POV character hasn't realized what is so blatantly obvious to the rest of us. Then we get annoyed and skeptical. And that's when our opinion of your book goes straight to hell. The Caster Chronicles series is a perfect example of that theory. I can't recall how many "major" revelation scenes I have read in these books: Lena being a caster, Boo being a seeing-eye dog, Macon coming back from the dead, Liv being a Keeper-in-training, etc... There were lots. After a while, you get used to the author's way of thinking and start to unravel the mysteries ahead of the time you're supposed to. That's exactly what happened for me here. I figured out who The One who is Two was before Ethan even deciphered the meaning of the words, I knew where John Breed was, I knew who Liv would end up loving. Through most of the story, I was like, "Dude, are you drunk or something? MAKE THE CONNECTION!", facepalming and groaning and waiting for their annoying slow-paced minds to catch up. Also, the character's personalities amplified my irritation a ton. Lena was, as Liv had called it, being a total "emo Caster girl." Normally, I would write a long lecture bitching about how "emo" is a pile of bullshit and just a stereotype and all, but in this case, the term seems somehow right. Really, if I did believe in emo, Lena would fit the description perfectly. She's constantly acknowledging how terrible life is, trying to be deep, always saying crap about how Ethan is her whole world, and just overall extremely angsty. She made me want to sit her down in front of a TV and just force her to watch a My Little Pony marathon until she would cheer the hell up for once and smile [image error] SEE THAT PONY, LENA? THAT PONY IS HAPPY! WOULD IT BE SO FREAKING HARD TO SMILE WITHOUT HAVING TO MAKE OUT WITH ETHAN FIRST? SERIOUSLY! Then there's Ethan. God, was he annoying! He's lovesick with Lena, and very very metaphorical. It was like he was trying to impersonate a forty-year old English teacher. His narration was way too wistful to be believable that it was thought by a teenage boy. He kept being all wise and crap, and I'm just so sick of it. [image error] That dude in the picture gives me the creeps. Anyway! John Breed was Ethan's nuclear bomb trigger. Ethan would not shut up about how much he hates John and how he's not to be trusted and probably lying and blah blah I don't give a shit. I wanted to pat John on the back and apologize for Ethan, because apparently he's incapable of acting any more mature than an irritable five year old when you put them in the same room together. So basically, he's very calm unless you put John Breed in his path. Then he's all "MUST. DESTROY. ENEMY." I pity John. I really do. There was one more character that I wanted to slap... Who was it?.... RIDLEY! Yes, Ridley. I had seen some true potential for her, what with the badass personality and "F you, I'm awesome" kind of attitude. I thought she'd be that one character who ends up saving the day with their awesome last-minute idea, or slicing off people's heads with an axe of death or whatever. Turns out, if you take away her siren powers, she's no better than Lena. Ridley spent the duration of this book whining about being human. I hate being a mortal. Mortals are so weak. I am better than mortals. Mortals suck. I need my powers back. Life sucks. I'm wearing my skin tight stripper clothes, so therefore I'm better than you. Look how immortal I am. Mortals are the bane of my existence. Mortals, mortals, mortals... For the love of Christ, SHUT THE HELL UP ALREADY! She does nothing but complain! I complain all the time, too, but not the way she does it! She's just hatred, denial, and more angst. Whoopsy. Didn't mean to try and kill you with a vase, Ridley. Just a muscle spasm. Really. On top of Ridley's ear-shattering shrieks of depression, she decides to make everyone's life just that much harder by messing with the Tunnels and casts. Then we have Lena, whose so involved with her misery that she's absolutely oblivious this. Looky what I found on page 68: Lena shrugged. "He didn't want to keep his old room. And he sleeps in his study in the Tunnels most of the time, anyway." "Good choice for Ridley's room. Because she's not the kind of girl who would sneak out a secret passageway in the middle of the night," I said. Lena paused, her hand on the doorway. "Ethan. She's the least magical person in the house. She's got to be more afraid of going down there than any of---" BRILLIANT, LENA. Just brilliant. Your evil diabolical cousin who thinks that breaking cheerleaders' necks is a fun passtime would never do something as complicated as going into a dark tunnel. I mean, if I were a sadistic whiny bitch, I know I'd be just terrified of a scary cave. Totally. This is not the first show of Lena's stupidity towards Ridley in this novel. She also casts a spell on Ridley to make her appear to be wearing casual clothes and not her hooker revealing outfits. Keep in mind that The Order is broken, and Lena's accidentally setting things on fire all over the place. She could've lit her cousin up like a fire work on the 4th of July, and yet she does it anyway. And for what? So that Ridley looks like a "proper young lady"? Lena could have easily just said to her Grandma, "My powers are acting weird, so I shouldn't cast on Rid, because she might spontaneously combust instead." No, let's take a chance. She may as well been screaming "INCENDIO!" with a magic wand. Also, another thing about Lena I find hard to believe: She broke the universe. Okay, how would her claiming herself break the entire goddamn universe? Do you really think lifeforms on a planet 50 bazilliontrillion galaxies away from the Milky Way actually gives a shit about some girl and her coming-of-age issues? No, they don't! So why should they have to die because of her stupid problem? WE MEAN NOTHING TO THE REST OF THE UNIVERSE! WE ARE MEANINGLESS! Sorry. That's the realist/pessimist in me shining through. I was so happy in Beautiful Darkness when Macon came back. Practically jumping with joy. But even he has a mild case of stupiditis. His once charming manner has become more frantic and spacey. He's also lacking in sense. Page 78: "Olivia, it's not only the universe that could be destroyed. It's my niece." Illogical. If there is no universe, there is automatically no Lena. There's no reason to separate the two that have the same outcome: Lena dead. I think really the only characters I didn't have a problem with were the Sisters, Link, and the Lilium. The sisters were hilarious, and I love reading about forgetful argument-prone old ladies. The Lilium I liked because she was just cool. She was all calm and relaxed and yet intimidating, and she dissed Abraham Ravenwood without hesitation. Speaking of dissing, I really liked Liv in this book, especially when she was under the Furor spell. She pwned Lena and she said what I've been dying to say to Lena for this entire book: "That is for all the whining, Princess." "What?" Lena's hair started to curl, her green and gold eyes narrowing. Liv went on. "Poor, beautiful me. My gorgeous boyfriend is so in love with me, but my heart is broken because---hey---that's how beautiful emo girls like me are supposed to act." "Shut up!" Lena looked like she was about to punch Liv in the face. I heard thunder rumble in the sky. "Instead of being happy that a great guy loves me, I'm going to slap on some more black nail polish and run off with some other gorgeous guy." "That's not what happened!" Lena swung at Live, but I caught her arm. Rain started to fall. Liv kept talking. "And---wait for it---I'm the most powerful Caster in the universe. In case the rest of you lowly mortals didn't already feel like total crap." OH. MY. CHIZNIP. Liv is a gift from the gods. I couldn't have put it better myself. I was hoping Liv's little speech would make Lena stop and think, "Hey, what am I doing with myself?" and then maybe she'd stop being so "emo," but no. She just went back into denial. Again. Sigh. This novel was a disgrace to the other books. It's a disgrace to other wizard/witch books. It was a disgrace to the apocalypse. It was just sad. I think I liked the last ten pages. That was about it. I beg you, Kami Garcia: Get your act together. I don't want to deal with this crapload in the next book.