Friday, 16 March 2012

Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

I loved this book, it is a great young adults novel that I immensely enjoyed, the book jumps and mixes different cultures such as India and England and is other worldly by mixing with a faerie world.  Gemma  doesn't belong in any of them, and she recognizes that, she is the outsider trying to find her place. 

I didn't like the other main characters because I felt that the protagonist, Gemma, was treading on thin ice by being friends with them. I liked Gemma although she can be selfish, angry, and petty, cut her some slack she's only sixteen-years-old. The friendship between Gemma and the other three girls is based on a desire for freedom - I don't think the girls were ever meant to appear as best friends.

The story had a terrific flow and had enough suspense to keep me guessing - it's also a easy read. The visits to the faerie realm were amazing to read - a pure dream for the characters but not without a dark edge. Bray is able to not fall for every cliche when inserting her romantic parts, but followed the similar love plot of a dangerous and mysterious boy that is intriguing, making this book a even bigger success.

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.
This book is a definite read for anyone! If you enjoyed this book I would also recommend reading:  The Luxe by Anna Godberson                                                                                                  Anastasia's Secret by Susanna Dunlap 

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