Historical Fiction with a Magical Twist
Gemma has a vision of her mother's death which comes true. She moves from India to England, where she is enrolled in a boarding school with a burned up East Wing, snobby peers and an outcast roommate. She finds that a boy from India, Kartik, has followed her to England, and he warns her about her visions which continue to baffle, frighten and intrigue her.
She forms a group with a few of the girls from her school and they call themselves the Order, after the mysterious organization somehow tied to a strange journal and her own dead mother. But as Gemma delves deeper into her own abilities and includes others in her secret, she puts herself and everyone else at risk.
Once again, I've found myself surprised that I've enjoyed a historical fiction so much! Despite Gemma and her peers living in a different time with different issues and worries, I was able to connect with the characters and care about what they were going through, and I feel like this made this book all the better. I was often really angry at what they had to deal with, especially since they lived in a time when women were treated like less and their wishes were ignored. I did dislike some of the characters, for example, Gemma's brother for being so misogynistic and snobby, but on the plus side, the author did a great job of making me feel like I was in the era that Gemma and the others were living in.
I feel like there was a lot of suspense in this book and that kept me reading. I really wanted to know what was going to happen to the characters, both in their normal lives and in terms of the powers and realms of which Gemma had introduced to them. Their personal situations were just as gripping as the mystical dilemmas they had to sort out, and because of this I was reading this book whenever I could!
While the writing style took some time to get used to, I found it flowed extremely well and that Gemma's voice as a narrator was entertaining and easy to follow. Her emotions, especially considering her mother's death, her family in general and her friends' problems were well conveyed and made the situations seem more real and believable. There were some humorous parts within the story as well, like when the group uses their new powers to prank others, and this provided a nice break and variety from the general dark atmosphere of the story.
There wasn't really much romance within the novel except for a few minor scenes. However, I don't feel that they were very relevant to the plot. I usually prefer reading books with lots of romance but this one entertained me even without a romantic aspect which I am very impressed with. I'm glad that I already own the second book, and if I didn't it would absolutely be on my list of sequels to buy as soon as possible.
I definitely recommend this book! YA readers and those who like historical fiction should read this. If you like books about magic and mystery and you want something that will keep you hooked, this book is for you.
This review can also be found at http://fortheloveofbooksreviews.blogspot.ca/2016/08/a-great-and-terrible-beauty-by-libba.html
Gemma is a good narrator with an entertaining voice
This book really keeps you reading! It's rich and full of amazing world-building. It doesn't insult your intelligence and hooks you in. One of my top books ever!
Gemma Doyle is a rebellious young lady who lives with her mother in India in the 1800s. She hates her life there and wishes to go to England, where she can live a more uptown life with her brother and father.
The story starts with Gemma and her mother going through a market on Gemma's birthday. They are heading to a friend's house for tea, when they are stopped by a man. He takes Gemma's mother aside, and speaks with her.
After the man speaks with Gemma's mom, the mom gets sort of weird, and she says that she has to go to tea alone, then leaves. Gemma doesn't know what is up, so she starts to walk around the store. Suddenly she feels very faint. Just before she goes down, Gemma sees a young man about her age, then she is out. She dreams about something terrible, her mother's murder.
When she wakes up, she is shocked to find that her dream was true. It was a vision, the first of many. If you like mystery, romance, and magical/mystical tales, you will love this book.
Great setting to sink into and led through a good story!
I can't wait for more.
Reader reviewed by Alex (Tales of a Teenage Book Lover)
I loooved it!
Reader reviewed by Julie
I started reading this book with a skeptical attitude. It seemed like it would be an ok book, but not very exciting. It is set at a Victorian Boarding school and I thought it would be a normal book. But, it wasn't! The mystery of the book, even in the first few pages got me hooked. With each turn of the page, you uncovered something else. I was left yearning for more information, so I read it quickly. I HAD to know everything! Overall the book was wonderful; it had the right touch of creepiness, along with happiness and fun. The title, A Great and Terrible Beauty fits it perfectly!
5 stars! Perfect!
A great read!
Reader reviewed by Julie
I read this book because a bunch of people were talking about it, and of course, I had to see what was so great about it! I finished it in a couple of days, and absolutely loved it! Gemma, a teenage girl, is sent to a Victorian Boarding school and uncovers secrets there. I thought it would be a boring book, but I was suprises by the awesomeness. :D I recommend it to anyone out there who loves a book with a eerie mood to it, along with happiness and trust. 5 stars out of 5! Loved it!
A Great and AWSOME book
Reader reviewed by sarahsue94
A Great and terrible Beauty is one of my favorite books, along with one of my favorite series. This book always keeps you on your toes waiting for more. The first book was probably my favorite because it was when the characters were made to who they are today, which are very interesting, amazing people. Libba Bray is a very good author, not just because of her very creative ideas, but because she posses the knowledge of what it takes to write an excellent piece of work.
A Dark, Mysterious Page Turner
Reader reviewed by Max
Gemma Doyle is sent to a boarding school in England when her mother is killed. There she meets new friends, begins to fall in love, and discovers her magical background. The realms, as they're called, is another universe, where Gemma and her friends can make things appear by imaging them. But the Winterlands, a part of the realms, is threatening to take over. The spirits of the dead are staying, and threatening to invade the human world.
A Great and Terrible Beauty was suspenseful and mysterious. It was the kind of story where you don't always understand what's happening as it's happening, and when the truth is revealed later, everything seems to snap into place. It was definitely a page turner, and I would definitely recommend it.