Monday, May 14, 2012

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Reviewed by: Palak
Publisher: Simon and Shuster
Release Date: December 9th, 2003
Pages: 403 (Hardcover)
Cover: 4/5 Stars
Plot: 4.5/5 Stars

     Gemma Doyle was brought up in India, and yearns with all her heart to live in England. But she learns to be careful what she wishes for when her mother dies in an inexplicable accident and she's shipped of to a boarding school.

     When she finds a secret diary in the woods, things lead her to a surreal paradise-like realm with her friends. This world provides a brilliant escape where the girls can be free and have their deepest desires without the narrow confinement of training to be a proper Victorian wife. The girls have no idea what kind of dark magic they're toying with..... until it's too late. Gemma knows she's the only link that can restore the enigmatic "Order" and save her friends, but will she be willing?

     A Great and Terrible Beauty is a book one wants to cower under the cover reading on a stormy night while the world is asleep. Libba Bray's haunting words will keep you well captivated late into the night and burn all the midnight oil.

     The author leads the readers to explore a new enchanting world where anything is possible, but secrets are inevitable. I adored the atmosphere and setting of the book! Libba Bray sparks her book's life with curious intrigue and dark tones that keep suspense a constant. It seems to me that she's devised new fantasy elements, refusing to stick to the typical angels/vampires/ other pop culture fiends fiasco. This book kept arising the question "what's going on here?!" for me. You don't find out whats really going on until the very end!

     A word of warning: this book sports the infamous mean girls clique. I absolutely hate when authors write this! Your typical mean girls are too huge an archetype and are of no use to the story besides annoying the heck out of the hero/heroine. And not just that, but Gemma befriends some of them! Even after they were terrible to her, and not to mention that their friendship starting off with Gemma keeping one of their scandalous secrets.

     Gemma is quite a favorable heroine. She's so normal! Hah, never though I'd get the chance to say that! This makes readers easy to relate to her. She has your typical teen attitude when she breaks the rules, sulks, and disobeys her mother. You know even a fragment of your inner child can relate to that! Gemma is a great heroine, and best of all, she is the furthest thing from a Mary Sue!

     A Great and Terrible Beauty is your go-to book if you like historical fiction and paranormal fantasy. It can memorize any age of readers its graceful words! Since this book is missing that .5, I'll be reading the sequel, Rebel Angels, soon and hope I can give it to the series!

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