Friday, July 1, 2011

A Great And Terrible Beauty: Libba Bray

Don't you hate it when you pick up a book and only after getting involved in the story, find out that it's the first in a trilogy? Because now I'm totally hooked and I will not be able to sleep until I find the other two books in this series and devour them.

It's the late 19th century in India and sixteen year old Gemma Doyle has started having visions--visions that quickly become reality. After witnessing her mother's strange death, Gemma is sent to an all girls boarding school in England where she encounters an unusual gypsy named Kartik who warns her against using her new-found powers. As a social parriah, Gemma befriends Ann, "the scholarship girl", who is the victim of ceaseless bullying from the most popular girls. When Gemma finds leader-of-the-pack Felicity in a compromising situation, she enters into a manipulative friendship with Felicity and her cohort, the beautiful Pippa. After Gemma finds the secret diary of Mary Dowd--a former student-- that explains the powers that Gemma has uncovered, life takes a turn for the wonderful. Gemma, Ann, Felicity, and Pippa form a kind of coven in which they wield powers beyond mortal recognition. Gemma acts as a conduit for the "great and terrible" powers, making her very popular while honing her skills. It doesn't take long for the power-hungry Felicity to get carried away, and soon Gemma is forced into making a decision that may cost her everything.

This review is difficult to write because there is SO much happening. The cast is wide and diverse and the story is complicated. I loved it! I'm just not sure how to tell you readers what I loved about it. Gemma is awesome, I like her as a person. I loved the Realms and the possibilities they offered. The scenes of magic are technicolor in their descriptions and creativity. The prose isn't stunning, but Bray is a wonderful storyteller. I don't know what else to tell you about this book except, go get it!

Rating: $$$

1 comment:

  1. I liked reading your review. I read half of it and it seemed so dark. I have the next one but since I didn't get through the first one (on the Kindle) I haven't picked it up. I know that many of my eighth grade students liked the series.