Review Detail4.2 106
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray captures all who read it. Beauty is about a young teen, Gemma, who is relentless and curious. This novel started in India, where Gemma was in the market place with her mother, once again arguing over whether or not she should be allowed to go to London for schooling. Her last words to her mother were "I don't care if you come home at all." I, for one, can completely relate to this feeling of resent. Little did Gemma know, though, that her words would be true and her mother would not return home later that day. Since her mother's death, Gemma received her wish and was sent to Spence Academy to become a lady. There the headmistress does little to make her feel welcome, and her only comfort is her roommate, Ann, who is knowledgeable and always absorbed in reading. After proving her worth, she becomes acquaintances with Felicity and Pippa, and eventually they even become friendly. With them, she discovers a great and terrible power that Kartik, the mysterious man she met in the marketplace, tries to warn her to control.
Bray weaves a story of danger, suspense, magic, mystery, and desire. She sets it over 100 years in the past, in India and London. She creates the heroine, Gemma, and truly releases her eccentric and stubborn spirit. Then she adds three friends, one with brains, one with beauty, and one with leadership into this already capturing mix. On top of this all, she puts in a dash of magic and romance for the final blend. All these ingredients together create a most wonderful story to read, impossible to put down once started. Though some parts may be slightly confusing, such as distinguishing Pippa from Felicity, they do not take away from the story at all. I would give A Great and Terrible Beauty 5 out of 5 stars. I cannot wait until the next book in the trilogy.
Reprinted here with author's permission.