A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle #1)

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69 reviews with 5 stars
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A great read that's hard to put down
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Chey

This book is a great read! I've never liked historical fiction until now. Gemma Doyle is thrown into a stuck up school for young ladies where she clearly doesn't belong, and to add to her difference she learns of the magical rhelms, the powers she holds, and her mother's dark secret. The entire book was captivating, although the first few chapters of the book set in India was hard to get into.

My only negative to this book is that the main character befriends the evil stuck up girls.. it doesn't seem very true to life to me! But regardless of their initial cruel intentions, you learn to love them anyway!

A Great and Terrible Beauty had me rushing to the bookstore to pick up its sequal!
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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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Absolutely wonderful!
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Sara E.

A friend of mine who learned I liked Twilight, recommended I read this book. I went into it thinking it was about vampires, but as I read the first chapter I realized that probably wasn't the case. (I was too dumb to read the book jacket, I guess...lol) At first, I thought it didn't have any supernatural elements whatsoever. I was wrong. This book, part of the Gemma Doyle trilogy, is the most lovely book I've read in a long time. (Did I just say lovely?) It's creative and original, and I love the victorian time period it's set in.

This is the story of a young girl, Gemma Doyle, discovering who she is and the secrets her mother kept. And a place called the Realms, where many different creatures live and the dead go before they pass on to the other side. This is also a story of friendship, love, and death.
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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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Reader reviewed by Nina

Before reading this book, I thought historical fiction was the most boring genre ever! I only read this because my friend forced me to, but I am very thankful that she did, because otherwise I would have missed out on a great book. The story is captivating and beautifully written and the main character Gemma and her three close friends at Spence Academy form a great quartet. Each one of them has their own faults and it is these faults that create the strong friendship between them. The book is not only about friendship, though, but about the Order, an old group of sorceresses, and the connection that Gemma may have with them. The book is suspenseful until the very end and is never the least bit boring.
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A Terribly Beautiful Beginning.
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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 fantastic fantasy
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Kayla

This book is all about Gemma Doyle. She is living in India until her mother is mysteriously murdered. She then moves to England to go to the boarding school, Spence Academy. While there, she begins to see visions. She begins to unlock how she is involved with the Order.

This is a great book. It will keep you guessing and wanting to read the rest of the series.
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A great and terrible mystery...
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Lilli Partyka

Upon turning 16, Gemma Doyle, the books protagonist, encounters a life-changing event. Haunted by this event for months after, Gemma escapes to England to live with her father and brother and is ultimately shipped to a prestigious finishing school called "Spence Academy for Young Ladies".

There she becomes an outcast, her differences setting her apart and making her a target of the other girls. Soon, however, she befriends the lovely, and troublesome student Felicity, the beautiful and jealous Pippa, and the plain and homely Ann.
Together the form a strong alliance and friendship away from the constraints of the "real" world.

You see, Gemma has magic. She is one of the Order - a group of female magicians with magical power and control. At one time, they were allied with the Rakshana - a strong male warrior group, but are now at odds with this power. The Rakshana, fearing the visions Gemma has been witness to, begin to search her down and try to contain the horrible events they feel are to happen.

Gemma, however, refuses to comply and delves deeper into the mysterious magic that is her destiny. Eventually she finds herself falling for Kartik, one of the members of the Rakshana. Brutally honest, cold, handsome, and unique, she finds him appealing, dangerous, and too much to handle.

But all the while she questions, what exactly is in the old east wing of the school? What is this magic capable of?
What is real? What is a lie? What does she really know? What is love?

This novel is one of magic, self-discovery, excitement, and fantasy. It truly leads the reader to understand the burden of emotion, dedication, personal moral, and the "right" thing. It is, indeed, a great and terrible beauty.
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Great and Beautiful!
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Mary

The book commences with the mysterious death/suicide of Gemma Doyle's mother. A death that tears Gemma's family apart and ends with Gemma going to an Academy for Young Ladies. But soon Gemma finds herself uncovering the mystery that led to her mother's death.

A mystery that leads Gemma and her friends to the Realm, a place of danger and of magic.


This is an excellent gothic fantasy, one so good it is amongst my absolute favourites. Filled with amazing detail that create the pretty atmostphere, this book is a must read!
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amazing!
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Jen

A Great and Terrible Beauty is the story of Gemma Doyle and what happens after her 16th birthday. Gemma begins to have strange visions, that actually come true. After her mother commits suicide to escape a fate more terrible than Death, Gemma must leave her home In India and attend Spence Academy in England. She discovers her mother was a part of a mysterious group called the order and traveled to a place called the realms where anything was possible.

I personally loved this book. It was creepy, sad, and exciting all at the same time. Gemma is easy to relate to, even though she was living so long ago. It was wonderfully written and left me wanting more.
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Exhilahrating
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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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