Sunday, 26 September 2010

Book Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray

It's 1895 and, after the death of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have a uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma finds her reception a chilly one. She's not completely alone, though... she's being followed by a mysterious young man, sent to warn her to close her mind against the visions.
It's at Spence that Gemma's power to attract the supernatural unfolds, as she becomes entangled with the school's most powerful girls and discovers her mother's connection to a shadowy, timeless group called The Order. Her destiny awaits... if only Gemma can believe in it. - From the back of the book.

Although A Great and Terrible Beauty has been billed as historical fiction, this is probably inaccurate. Gemma is not your typical Victorian, more like a twenty-first century girl dropped into the world of 1895. This, however, did not bother me.

I absolutely love this book. The setting is good, and the proper English boarding school feels real. The magic in the realms also felt real, even though we all know that there is no such thing. Gemma is the best part of the book though. She's not afraid to speak her mind, and it's fun to hear her thoughts, especially when they're sarcastic and sometimes rude, and the other girls' reactions are hilarious.

A Great and Terrible Beauty is slow moving, but in a good way. It's very detailed, so it's very easy to get lost in the world of Gemma Doyle and it's not like anything else I've ever read. It sets up the next two books nicely, and I couldn't wait to get lost in those books too. It's high-quality British drama, and will be loved by all kinds of readers, from teens to adults.

I give it 5 Feet!

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