Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: December 9, 2013
Rating: 4 Stars
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. (Goodreads)
I love Libba Bray, I really do, I even met her once. That being said I did like this book, although not as much as I liked the Diviners. I liked the story, it was an interesting fantasy concept. I've never read anything quite like it, I also liked the historical fiction aspect. I don't want to say too much because I don't want to give things away and I think the description tells you a lot about the book. My teeny tiny problem was an Gemma's friends. They. Were. Horrible. They were the worst, and even when they turned on her she still went back to them. They're basically the worst kind of people and Jemma does whatever she can to befriend them. I don't really like that message because it can be really hard to tell the difference between friends and enemies in middle school and high school. The people who are nice to you when you give them what they want, and turn from you when you don't are not the kind of friends you want. I know there are two other books and I hope that gets better, but right now , I'm a smidge miffed at Gemma and I hope innocent readers realize they aren't the best people.