A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle #1)

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Not Terrible At All
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
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0.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by Katie

Gemma Doyle, a teenage girl who is forced to move to England after the death of her mother, learns that she is not just a normal girl. She discovers a new power, a secret door to the realms, and the reason that she doesn't fit into proper Elizabethan society. But nobody knows who she really is except her mother; her friends Felicity, Pippa, and Ann; and Kartik who is meant to be her protector. But even through all the beauty in the realms, there is always trouble with the evil Circe.
I loved this book because it was unlike any other book i had read before. It is a unique, fresh story where anything is possible. I recommend the sequel Rebel Angels and the end to the trilogy The Sweet Far Thing.
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A great and terrible mystery...
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
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!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
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0.0
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0.0
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!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
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
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
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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Welcome to the Realms
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by the book muncher

Gemma has terrifying visions starting on her sixteenth birthday. But the scariest part is where they come true. After her mothers death, Gemma moves from her home in India to a finishing school in England called Spence. There, she makes tentative friendships, discovers a diary of a girl named Mary Dowd, and receives a warning from a mysterious boy to block out her visions.

Despite the warning, Gemma keeps having her visions because she cant control them. It is through one of her visions that she discovers the secret diary of Mary Dowd. She soon learns of a mysterious Order of women, and that she possesses the power to enter the realms. She just doesnt know how powerful she is; she can bring her friends in with her.
Inside the realms, Gemma sees her mothers spirit and learns all about the magic of the realms. Unfortunately, not all is well inside this beautiful place. There is a tracker, a corrupted spirit, seeking a way into Gemmas world.

In this exciting novel, Gemma learns a portion of the history of Spence, about herself and her friends, and that her mother wasnt who she pretended to be. A Great and Terrible Beauty is one of my favorite books for many reasons, but mostly because it is such a thrilling story. There is plenty of action and magic to satisfy anyone, and even a bit of romance too. Libba Bray has woven a fantastic story that will be remembered for a long time. I recommend this to all readers who dream about the existence of another world.
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Fantastic! A Thrilling, Chilling Debut!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Stephanie

End-of-the-nineteenth-century London meets beloved coming-of-age story meets paranormal occurrences in this smashing debut by the promising author Libba Bray. For anyone who loves historical fiction, fantasy, the paranormal, romance, coming-of-age stories...okay, that covers just about everyone...this book is a great read.

After her mother is murdered in the streets of India, where they had lived, Gemma Doyle is sent to a girls' boarding school near London. Spence is a ghastly place with cold staff and even crueler classmates, particularly the clique of power-hungry Felicity and beautiful Pippa and their group of followers. Gemma is determined not to get sucked into their manipulative lives and instead tries to focus on understanding the strange visions she has been getting recently. It doesn't help that Kartik, a young Indian man who was present with her at her mother's death, has followed her to England and is now watching her, warning her to close her mind to the visions. Which only makes the headstrong Gemma even more determined to figure out her visions, which she believes will be the clue to understanding her mother's murder.

Surprisingly though, she, Felicity, Pippa, and a doughy scholarship girl Ann form a clique of their own. Theirs consists of sneaking out away to the caves in the surrounding woods, drinking, reading out of some girl called Mary Dowd's diary, and talking wistfully about what they could do if they were not all restrained to a life of pleasing men and running households...except for Ann, whose poor status will force her to be a governess to snotty children somewhere. It's a dismal future, but such is the life for English girls.

Then, suddenly, Gemma and her friends realize that her visions about a place called the Realms is real, it's all real. They visit the Realms, a wondrous dream world where everything they want can happen. They spend almost every night there and can even bring magic back into the real world for a short period of time.

It seems almost too good to be true...and it is. There are those who want the magic of the Realms all to themselves, and they will do anything to deceive Gemma and her friends. A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY begins a fantastic trilogy about Gemma and her decisions regarding her friends, love life, and the magic of the Realms.
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Bitter-Sweet Ending
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by The Story Siren

Ive finally finished the eight hundred some pages of The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray. And I must say that in the last two days I have felt what I believe to be every possible emotion there is. I almost find myself at a loss for words in the shock that I still feel.

We once again join in the adventures of the girls of Spence that we have grown to love. The story once is centered on the magic of the Realms and what Gemma must to with it now that she has bound it to herself. Although I rather enjoyed the underlying storyline of Gemma and Kartik, which is just one of many that concludes this tale.

It seems that everyone and everything are against Gemma. She cant seem to open the portal since Christmas and she no longer feels the magic within herself. She fears that the magic has not chosen her to continue in the Order. The mysterious East Wing is being rebuilt and a masked ball is to be held in its wake. And Gemma has still not seen Kartik, and his whereabouts are also a constant strain on her thoughts.

When all else fails Gemma feels she will never return to the realms until a mysterious stone is found in the midst of the East Wing construction. Which turns out to be a secret door in which she has seen in her visions complements of a Miss Wilhelmina Wyatt, former Spence Lady and author of A History of Secret Societies.

Once back in the Realms, Gemma cannot deny the changes that are happening around her, but yet she is still not ready to share the power. Gemma must carry around the responsibility of the magic, figure out whom she can trust, try to help her friends and also work toward her debut season! No wonder it took eight hundred pages!

Bray does not disappoint in the final chapter of Gemmas tale. The plot twists where plenty! Felicity was her brash self and Ann as insecure as ever, but in the end these girls surprised me for the better! The writing was detailed and painted vivid pictures even more so than the two previous books. I couldnt put it down, and now thats it over I fear I will miss these girls.
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Deliciously Spooky!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by ambeen

A Great and Terrible Beauty is about Gemma and her mysterious powers to enter other realms. Gemma starts as the outcast at Spence Academy for girls but soon has a few friends that she is able to share her powers with. Gemma's powers come with a consequence, though, and someone is after her and her unique power. The suspense from this mystery, gothic styled novel is thrilling and will keep girls reading late into the night!
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Amazing Book!!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Emily TT

A great and terrible beauty was a good book
Really splendid, tons of twist and turns and the characters (most of them except Circe and ya know the bad guys) are pretty much likable.
Gemma Doyle's narration is witty and at times humorous. The book is well written and the ending will leave you wanting to read the sequel "Rebel Angels".
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