Review Detail

4.2 106
Young Adult Fiction 28196
A great and terrible mystery...
Overall rating
Writing Style
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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