Friday, August 23, 2013

A Great and Terrible Beauty Review

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)

Book talk:  There is nothing Gemma wants more than to go to London.  The English fashions she's required to wear were clearly not made with India's climate in mind.  Besides, she longs to come out to society and attend the dances she's heard so much about.  But when she finally gets what she wished for, it isn't worth the price and it's not what she expected at all.  Life in a finishing school is infuriating.  No one sees her for who she is. All anyone sees is the young lady they expect her to become: serving tea and smiling and remaining silent.  Which is perhaps why no one suspects a thing when she starts a secret society to explore the supernatural.

Rocks my socks:  I enjoyed reading about life at an English finishing school and Gemma was a wonderful lens through which to view the era.  Her relaxed upbringing in India has left her feisty and bold and everything else a proper young lady shouldn't be.  Watching her adjust to life in the confines of a boarding school was entertaining.  I particularly enjoyed her insights as to why women were treated the way they were in that era.  My favorite part though was the friendships that Gemma developed over the course of the novel.  A lot of emphasis was placed on the changing relationships of her clique of friends and it was interesting to read about and felt authentic.  I appreciated the way Gemma ended up gaining empathy for girls she once hated as she learned more about them and the story progressed.

Rocks in my socks:  I didn't enjoy the supernatural aspects as much as the historical perspective.  The supernatural plot was often confusing and disjointed and strained my credulity.  This is a personal bias of mine though so take the criticism with a grain of salt.  While I love fantasy I'm not a huge fan of the supernatural.

Every book its reader:  I'd give this to anyone looking for a supernatural story with a strong female lead.  It reminded me a lot of Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, so fans of one book would enjoy the other.  I'd give it to 7th grade and up.


Libba Bray has her own site with a page for the book as well as a blog, media, and more!

Random House has a site for the trilogy that is loaded with extras.

There is a Gemma Doyle wiki that you can explore and edit.

I love this trailer:

Source:  ebook from a public library

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray: buy it or check it out today!

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