Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty

12:09:00 AM

Author: Libba Bray
Series: Gemma Doyle #1
Published: May 2, 2006
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
416 pages (Paperback)


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. 

Sixteen-year-old Gemma 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.


I’m disappointed that I bought this book. It’s boring and doesn’t appeal to me at all. The whole time I was reading this I was like “What page am I now? When will this torture end?” What infuriates me is that the author didn’t even bother to explain a lot of necessary details of the book which results of me being confused during the whole reading duration of this. Honestly, I was so bored while reading this that I kept on putting it down and I’m even tempted of just leaving it unfinished but I won’t since I bought this book and it’ll be a waste of my money.

To say that I was annoyed of the characters of this book would be an understatement. I was absolutely and utterly peeved. All of them were just so annoying to me. For me, they’re just a set of girls who are so vain, attention whore and they’re clearly using each other for their own reason. Their friendship (Felicity, Ann, Pippa and Gemma) started only because of a secret. Since Felicity doesn’t want her secret to come out so she’s forced to befriend Gemma and Ann. I thought that since they’re friends, Felicity and Pippa would change (for the best) but no, they’re still mean. And the bad thing is that Ann and Gemma starts to become ‘mean’ too. I won’t seriously call it friendship because it seems to me that they’re just using each other for their own benefit and they even backstabbed each other. I mean seriously? Is that what you would call friendship? Maybe the author doesn’t know the meaning of friendship. Geez. -___-

To summarize it, I completely hate this book. And for your own sake, DO NOT EVER READ THIS BOOK. 

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