A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle #1)

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I loooved it!
Overall rating
 
5.0
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5.0
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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!

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One of the most captivating books I've ever read!
Overall rating
 
5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Andrea

A Great and Terrible Beauty is what it's name implys, beautiful. The story is about sixteen-year-old Gemma, who grew up in India. All her life she wanted so badly to go to London. On her sixteenth birthday, she gets into a fight with her mother and her mother ends up being murdured. The scary part is, Gemma saw her mother being murdered in a vision while it was happening. She is then sent to a finishing school in London. There, Gemma faces more visions, strange happenings, and makes enemies and life-long friends with three girls. A handsom, mysterious man named Kartik follows Gemma from India and warns her against the visions. Gemma develops a sort of odd, hateful love for Kartk but ignores his warnings and continues her visions. She and the other three girls - Felicity, the popular and bold one. Pippa, the pretty, fanciful, and rather ditsy one. And Ann, the quite, yet clever outcast - make a secret club after Gemma finds the diary of a mysterious Mary Dowd in a vison. They soon learn the weird magic, unbelieveable and horrible events, and the powerful Order in the book about Mary and her best friend Sarah are real and find themselves in a beautiful land where Felicity is strong, Peppa has true love, Ann is beautiful, and Gemma can talk to her dead mother. At first, they love this new place and nw abilities they take back with them, but Gemma learns dark secrets about the school and the Mary and Sarah they have been reading about. In the end, Gemma had to face tremendous obstacles in a fight against good and evil, and the tough real world against 'paradise.' It ends in tragedy as one of Gemma's friends dies. She now had to learn to fix her mistakes, get Kartik to forgive her, and bring back together the Order.

I think this may be one of the best books I've ever read, infact I put it into my top 5. (incase you care, it's Winter of Fire, White Fang, Elvenbane, The Iron Ring, and now 'Beauty.) I actually stood up all night reading it, I couldn't put it down! It is so interesting, the minute you think you have the end pegged, the auther totally spins ya through a loop! I also liked how not even the central character is perfect, they each have qualities you like and don't like. It is such a breath of fresh air from the typical fantasy. And the it's not afraid to take that "extra step". On a scale of 1 to 5, I'd give it a 7! Bravo!
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amazing!
Overall rating
 
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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A chilling tale of the Victorian era
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by linda

Set in the Victorian ages in a finishing school, 'A Great and Terrible Beauty' chronicles the boarding school life of Gemma Doyle. Gemma's dreams of going to London are marred by her mother's suicide and visions that plague her. After finding out more about her visions, her mother's death, and the diary of a mysterious girl named Mary, Gemma and her new friends go into the realms of paradise only to find in the end that it isn't paradise at all. Plagued by the troubles of being beautiful girls during the Victorian era they realize their true power and make the same mistakes as others did in the past forcing one girl to leave forever.

Reprinted here with author's permission.
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A Great and Terrible Beauty: The Best Oxymoron Youll Ever Read
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Janelle

Since Ive never lived in a Victorian boarding school in London, England in 1895, it is often hard to imagine what it would be like, but author Libba Bray creates an environment thats so real, it makes you forget its the year 2006!
This is the story of an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl, Gemma Doyle of Bombay, India, whos sent off to boarding school in London after tragedy strikes her family. Upon arriving at Spence Academy, she realizes that shes different from the other girls. She does not enjoy taking lessons on manners or devoting her life to England, which the English girls succumb to willingly.
Gemmas true difference is her spooky visions of the future, which have a disturbing way of coming true, for example the death of someone close to her. Another important character is the mysterious boy, Kartik, who has been following Gemma, constantly warning her to close her mind to these visions. &He loosens his hold, lets me go. My eyes water. I rub at my throat. Who? Who wants me? The Order. He spits out the name. Circe. Circe.
Gemma is not the type of heroine who lives her life not caring whether or not she fits in. She tries to get the more powerful girls, Pippa and Felicity, to like her by doing their crazy initiation, which ends up with her being locked in an abandoned church. Despite this initial turmoil, when they begin to read Gemmas mothers diary, a sort of friendship forms between them. Within this diary unfolds a story about a mysterious group called, The Order, and two girls named Mary Dowd and Sarah Rees-Toome, who were killed in a fire at Spence years ago. Soon, the girls are sent on a wild goose chase to save a world called The Realms from the evil Circe who is out to kill Gemma. Can Gemma and her friends fight the evil in the Realms and preserve the Order? Youll have to pick up your own copy of A Great and Terrible Beauty to find out!
I gave this book five stars because the writing is incredible! This novel is filled with suspense, including the cliff hanger at the end which sets up the sequel, Rebel Angels. Author Libba Bray creates two worlds within her novel which both seem realistic. Her writing makes you feel like you are frolicking with the girls in the Realms. Gemma Doyle is such a complex character and Bray makes her seem like one of your very best friends. At the end of the novel you find yourself attached to her, wondering what trouble shes going to get herself into in the sequel. I recommend this book to any girl who wishes that she could be anything but ordinary. They might be able to live vicariously through Gemma, because this novel is nothing short of extraordinary.
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One of the Best Books Ever!
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Ria

A Great and Terrible Beauty is about a girl named Gemma. She's living in India when her 16th b-day rolls around. She begs her mother to take her to London, but her mother refuses. Then, an accident takes her mother's life and Gemma is sent to Spence boarding school. Gemma notices an Indian man following her around.
The first girl Gemma meets is Ann, her roommate, a scholarship student who the other girls don't like. Gemma is soon acquainted with the popular girls, Pippa and Felicity, who torment her until Gemma puts a stop to it.
One night, Gemma is outside when a girl appears and takes her to a place where the diary of Mary Dowd is hidden, but she doesn't start reading it immediately.
Soon, Pippa and Felicity start asking Gemma to spend time with them. And slowly, Gemma starts reading Mary Dowd's diary. One day, while going on a trip to some caves, the girls come across some drawings. The topic of the Order, a group of powerful women, comes up. Felicity and Gemma entertain the thoughts of starting their own order, which they do, inviting only Pippa and Ann.
The ritual was to read part of Mary's diary each meeting. With more and more information about the Order, Gemma realizes that she has a certain power which she doesn't know much about, and her powers are developing. After a while, Gemma figures out how to travel to the other world, where she meets her mother. Slowly, her mother teaches Gemma about her gift, and tells her that Circe is out to get her.
Gemma brings her 3 friends to the world, and soon they are obsessed with their secret. They visit daily, until Gemma finds out disconcerting information on who Circe is. It then becomes a battle between Circe and Gemma for the ultimate power.

This was one of the best books I have ever read. The story was so powerful. The suspense kept me reading until I finished. The characters were so developed that the reader felt like they really knew them, especially Gemma. The light romance kept the story from becoming too sappy. I didn't really like the ending as much. The entire book was sooo good until it came to the ending. The book was really well written. I'm sad that it's over! I definately give this book a 5 out of 5.
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Exhilarating
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by abscae

This book was surprising. I never thought I'd like an old era book ever, and yet I find myself reading the book in barely three hours.

I am a true romantic so the thing that pleased me best was the romance, yet the entire concept of the book thrilled me, and the plot was full of excitement. Just the twists and turns discovered, especially nearing the end of the book was amazing.

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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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poignant and breathtaking
Overall rating
 
5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Noxzeema

A Great and Terrible Beauty follows the experiences of Gemma Doyle, who gets sent to the Spencer Academy for Girls.

There she meets Felicity, Pippa, and Ann. Ann is her roommate, and while she is not a very strong character, everyone can relate to her feelings of invisiblity.

On a night trip to a cave, Gemma realizes that she has magic powers, given to her by her mother who had disappeared some years ago.

Gemma is the key to unlocking the realms, and Karsh is determined to keep the two worlds separated. But Gemma wants to see her mother, even if it means braving Circe, and the horror of unleashing an unearthly power.
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Lady with Power...
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by *lyssa

What would you do if you knew the way to another realm, another world? One in that you can turn the dew into butterflies and make your greatest wishes come true? Where nothing is impossible?

Gemma has the power to go there, through the door of light she alone can conjure. She's what the Order's waited 20 years for, what Circe hunts for.

Miss Moore tells her there are no good or bad decisions. Only different choices. Now Gemma has a choice--should the Order be reinstated after Sarah Rees-Toome's betrayal, or should the magic be left alone?

Read this tale of friendship, darkness, power, and illusion to find out.
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