A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle #1)

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Wonderful Book, Captivating
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Alexandra

Gemma Doyle has been shipped off from her home in India to attend a "proper boarding school" after the suicide of her mother in 1895. At Spence, her initial reception from the other girls is chilly at best, and she begins to have visions which more often than not come true. When she lets three girls in on her visions and they begin to explore her powers, she finds out more than she wants to. Libba Bray's debut novel is captivating, well-written, and nearly impossible to put down.
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A Terribly Beautiful Beginning.
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Erica

This is a great book that starts out the Gemma Doyle Trilogy. Gemma's mother dies and she's shipped of to a finishing school in England. She discovers a new power, and needs to master it. To top it all off, Gemma has many obsticles to face, including a mysterious Indian boy that catches her every move. She makes new friends while attending Spence, and shares with them the amazing power she has been granted. While frolicking in the new world, she discovers someone she thought to be gone. She receives help and discovers her destiny. If she fails, terrible things could happen. She has to believe in herself, and not flinch from the truth. Will she prevail or will she fail?
This is a great novel for anyone who enjoys fantasy and has an open mind! I applaud Ms. Bray on the first novel to a great trilogy. This is one of thoses books you simply cannot put down, you have to keep reading. I have read it a fair few times, and still enjoy it every time discovering new things I missed each time. She hooks you in and doesn't let you go til the book it done. If you enjoyed this one, don't forget the next two books in the series: Rebel Angels and The Sweet Far Thing.
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A Great (Not Terrible) Book
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5.0
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5.0
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0.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by Jocelyn

A Great And Terrible Beauty, the first of a trilogy by Libba Bray, was certainly great rather than terrible. It's the beginning of the story of Gemma Doyle, who, after the unusual death of her mother in India, is sent off to an English boarding school. Gemma's experiences at Spence Academy, however, are not typical of the Victorian boarding school environment that she has been shoved into.
There's a bit of a supernatural twist on things, and it all began long before her mother's mysterious death in India. Gemma is pulled into a story of secret societies, other worlds, and mysterious old diaries, and the reader is pulled along with her.
You will be immediately drawn into this book, with its brilliantly created characters, fascinating setting in Victorian England, and amazingly original plot. It is most certainly worth the time it would take to read it, as you'll find. You will, in fact, want to read it over and over! This book is sure to become a favorite for teens for years to come.
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I love it!
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5.0
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5.0
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0.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by kaitlin

This book explore the life of Gemma who has recently lost her mom due to circe, the antagonist in this story. She goes to Spence, a girls school in England. There she makes a couple unlikely friends, and together they make a sort of coven that uses gemmas supernatural powers to go into the other realms. Along with all of that, Kartik, a member of the orders enemy clan constantly buts heads with Gemma. I really enjoyed reading this book, especially because it was set in early england, and i love historical fiction books.
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so extraoridinary
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by noxzeema

Gemma Doyle is still reeling from her mother's death when she is shipped off to an all girl boarding school. There she meets Felicity, Pippa, and Ann. Soon after Gemma arrives, supernatural things start occuring, and the four girls dig deeper and deeper into the past of Spence Academy for girls, the past no one wants remembered.
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Something you might not read..
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Nourdjan

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray may not be something that you might be inclined to reading, but you might surprise yourself by picking this book up. 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. She has visions of tragic things that come true and has the magic key to enter an alternate place called the Realms, where every desire -- as well as every nightmare -- can come true. When she finds the diary of a girl with similar powers, she learns about a secret society called the Order, and she and three friends decide to explore the magical and strange world. But there are things that Gemma doesn't know about, secrets and mysteries that she will have to figure out on her own. And she tries to do this while a rather strange Indian boy keeps an eye on her and demands that she put a stop to her visions. There are various twists throughout the novel.

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Awesome
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by 4 ever me

This book is really good. It took me a while to understand some parts of it, but overall it is good. I especially like the way Gemma sometimes can't tell if Felicity is her real friend or not. I won't tell if she is or not though, just in case you decide to read it.
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Historical Fiction with a Magical Twist
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5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0

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
Good Points
Great world-building
Gemma is a good narrator with an entertaining voice
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Intriguing Gothic Teen Novel
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by ibelieveinbeauty

Set in India and then in London, this story follows 16 year old Gemma Doyle from the day of her mother's death. Having witnessed her mother's murder in a strange vision Gemma's life is turned upside-down, not helped by the fact that she has been sent to SPence, an academy for young ladies near London. Here she befriends Ann , a quiet, plain girl, Felicity, charming and power-hungry, and Pippa, beautiful and destined to be married off young.
With them and their teacher Miss Moore, and the help of an old diary, Gemma discovers her mother,s secrets and what they mean for her.Thje handsome Indian boy Kartik who follows her to England tries to prevent her from uncovering the past but ends up with Gemma falling for him.

This novel, Libba Bray's first, is going to become a classic for teenage girls. Fast-paced and well-thought out it will give enjoyment time and again.
The sequel 'Rebel Angels' and the third book in the trilogy, not yet published will mark Miss Bray as an author not to be underestimated.
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Exhilahrating
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by ammarah

Great and terrible beaty is very supense and exciting! It keeps you on the edge of your seats waiting for more.

Readers want to know what causes the chains of events occuring during poor Gemma Doyles life.

Are her visions real? Is somebody actually after her?Is their another world except this one?

Read this book and find out what really happens to this poor girl.
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