A Great And Terrible Beauty By Libba Bray

Saturday, 21 April 2012

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)
Cover Rating: 4.5/5 Stars - Love it!
Overall Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
SynopsisA 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. It’s 1895, and after the suicide 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 an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?

I wasn't sure that I was going to like this book. To be perfectly honest I bought it because of the cover alone. I had no idea what it was about until it arrived. I was nicely surprised. I like books that involve visions and psychic's. It was set in Victorian times, only the second series I've read that is. I found the differences between then and now quite amusing. In particular the things Gemma found 'scandalous' like walking unaccompanied. Oh the horror! It is very interesting though. The best way to describe this book is a victorian edition of Mean Girls, only the girls are slightly smarter and likeable. I didn't love any of the characters in this book, a few were okay though. Gemma herself was annoying at times but other times she was a good main character who's thoughts were very interesting. Felicity, the leader of the pack, was mean at first but halfway through you began to see she wasn't so bad after all, Pippa was blunt and not very clever but I quite liked her, Ann had no backbone and was just cowardly. The mysterious guy who's name I have forgotten was okay though he was hardly in the book. He was so insistant with his warnings but he didn't try very hard to make sure they did what he said. I hope to see more of him in book 2.

This book was intriguing and thought provoking yes but it was also very slow and boring in places. Not much happened and the ending seemed a little too neat when there was going to be another book. I liked the setting because what better place to set a victorian story than a boarding school? In the next book I hope to see the characters develop more and I want to see more of mystery guy who's name isn't really very memorable (Kartin? Karton? Something like that). I look forward to the next one but I'm not in a huge hurry to read it. I'd recommend this book to people who like steam punk (I think that's what it's called) and Gothic novels. I would give it 3.5 stars because it was slightly tedious but still good. I hope the next book is better.

My Favorite Quote:
“I want to ask him if it’s possible that a girl can be born unlovable, or does she just become that way?” 

Email me at: confessionsofabookaholic@LIVE.CO.UK

3 People dared to comment.:

Mel@Thedailyprophecy said...

A boarding school, Victorian time, sounds like heaven to me :D But I'm sorry to hear that you were a bit disappointed in this one. I hope that the next one is better for you!

Portugal said...

I picked up this book on a whim because the premise seemed interesting. A Great and Terrible Beauty is one of the most beautiful historical and gothic novels I have read in a while. The story enthralled me from beginning to end. Sixteen-year-old Gemma Doyle is different from the other girls at the London boarding school she lives in after her mother's tragic and strange death in India. In addition to not having the conformist mentality that girls of her class and station are trained to have, Gemma has a deep, dark problem that she does not know how to control.

Unknown said...

I agree it was slow and boring in places but I ended up liking the book though I had picked it up just because I liked the cover. Nice review

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