Saturday, October 10, 2009

Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty

Title: A Great and Terrible Beauty

Author: Libba Bray 

Publication Date: December 9, 2003 

Pages: 403

Series: A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebels Angels, The Sweet Far Thing

Rating: 8.7/10- Great Book!

Synopsis from
           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.

Gemma, 16, 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.

           Libba Bray is a very engaging writer, who truly draws you in with her descriptions and her unique writing style in this 1800's Victiorian Era. A Great and Terrible Beauty is a great beginning to what I expect to be one of the best trilogy's I have ever read. I usually do not read anything historical at all. But recently i've had the wimsical need to add a few to my library and so I got this book. I found this book to be very unique in its plot line. First of all,  very rarely are the historical and paranormal genres combined, but Libbra Bray does it beautiful way. The main character Gemma was a great character to read about. She is a strong leading female character who would rather be her own person and run her life the way she wants it than to conform with the ways that society has categorized woman to be in. The paranormal theme is a unique take on witches. Gemma starts having visions which she cant control and cant predict. The plot really starts to develop as Gemma learns more to the origin of her visions and the dangers and responsibilities she has along with them . As Gemma along with her friends become more dependent on the newfound discovery of their magic consequences that they are not sure how to deal with also come along. Adding mystery and suspence to the novel as well. Overall this was a great book to read, and I cant wait to pick up the next in the series.

With the realms, magic, secret societies, gypsies, and the occasional romantic spark, this book was a interesting book and reccomended to all those who love paranormal, and historical reads.

Characters: 9/10
Plot: 8/10
Originality: 10/10
Entertainment: 7/10
Ending: 9/10
Writing Style: 10/10
Cover: 8/10
Total: 8.7/10



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