Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

A Great and Terrible Beauty
(Gemma Doyle Trilogy #1)
by Libba Bray
Summary from Goodreads:

"A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy--jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.

Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother's death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls' academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions "for a bit of fun" and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the "others" and rebuild the Order. A Great and Terrible Beauty is an impressive first book in what should prove to be a fascinating trilogy."


A Great and Terrible Beauty opens readers to the world of characters whom you’d love to hate… Seriously! That’s the first thing I felt when I read the book. Gemma was such a brat to her mother, Felicity was a b****, Pippa was annoying and Ann was a suicidal coward. I hated them! But at the same time, it was what made me find them interesting. They had such defined characters, it’s like it was built with much history and foundation. They had solid personality and they become rather funny and intriguing once you get passed the hating part. 

The plot was good. It’s nice to find a book not having to wither on focusing at a love triangle or having damsels rescued by the love of their lives; there’s the urge of power for women, and that’s something I like in a story. I’m too much of a feminist! Ha! Ha! 

Since I’ve already read Rebel Angels, I did find this one a bit on the downer side. It was mellow compared to the 2nd book, although I do understand that this book was meant to establish the trilogy, so basically it would start off on a mild course. 

All in all, it was pleasing to read and I’m rather curious to know how this trilogy would end. 

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