Monday, December 7, 2009

A Great and Terrible Beauty

Title: A Great and Terrible Beauty

Author: Libba Bray

Pages: 432

Rating: ****1/2

Summary (from Amazon): A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy--jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.
Gemma, 16, has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother’s death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls’ academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions "for a bit of fun" and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the "others" and rebuild the Order.

Review: Awesome. Amazing. Incredible. This was one of the (many) books I read on my vacation, so it holds an even more special place in my heart. This book was adventure, mystery, secrets, drama, and a beautiful Victorian setting. Though it is "paranormal", the book doesn't have that unrealistic feeling to it that most supernatural books do. Right, realistic visions...anyway, what I really did like about this book was how realistic it was. There wasn't the protagonist who is perfect and the good person who is always right, like in most novels. Gemma has her faults. She falls victim to the hype of cliques, even when she is hurt and scorned by the popular crowd. She, along with the other girls, still desire to be a part of Felicity and Pippa's clique. I found this really refreshing. The end got a little confusing, but nothing too major. It was still an excellent book!

Recommended for: Historical fiction junkies, mystery lovers.

So I am getting a cold. Yeah, it sucks. Life is go-go-go and all I want to do is sleep. I'll fit in as MANY posts as possible in the upcoming weeks, because trust me, I of all people know the magic of a good book, and the desire to share that magic by giving a book as a gift! So! Be sure to keep looking around the blog; I'm still working on adding more features. Sadly my computer fails to be up to par with what I need/want done, but I'm wearing it down. Thanks for reading!

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