Monday, March 3, 2014

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray Review

"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. A Great and Terrible Beauty is an impressive first book in what should prove to be a fascinating trilogy."

Neutral expression. Neutral thoughts. I'm between bad and good. I'm between white and black. I'm gray. I don't have much to say about this book. 

A Great and Terrible Beauty is neither great or terrible. Neutral, as I said before. (You should guess by now that this book is a three). The plot is fast-paced and the conflict is a little bit confusing until you get the hang of it. I got the hang of it around one-third of the book, which isn't quite that bad. Some books are rather dreadful. You don't understand anything until you read about halfway or something like that. 

Gemma is having visions. She swears that she saw her mother committing suicide while the doctors claim that she had cholera. Or something like that. I don't have most of my diseases straight and I never plan to get them straightened out. Ignorance is indeed bliss. It makes me shudder when I hear of this disease...oh, sorry. I shouldn't say anything about that. Anyway, while Gemma suffers the ghosts from her past, the Circle is rising. Her character is one of the most boring characters of this book. Even Felicity or Ann is more interesting than her. Nevertheless, I'm afraid she does try her best in A Great and Terrible Beauty even though her efforts were somewhat ignored by the author. The main character has fallen and is slowly rising. That's what's happening in this book. Arrogance and pride, then a fall, then a character development. That's a quick way to sum up Gemma's personality and characteristics. 

Next! Libba Bray's writing is the complete opposite of Gemma's character. I really enjoy reading her words. It's part of the factor that keeps me into the book. If it weren't for the interesting word usage (dialect and hooks/addiction), I would had abandoned the book long ago.

Some times I liked to abandon the book: First Paragraph (A snake? Really?), third chapter, halfway mark, 2/3 mark, 4/5 mark.

Even though I was rather cold towards A Great and Terrible Beauty, I decide it deserves some nice words. After all, it managed to keep me interested for all four hundred glorious pages. (You do read sarcasm, right?)

I want to read the next book. Something about the concepts or the loosely based concept on witches draw me in. I don't know, but I hope something amazing (if I read the next book) will come up. 

Hmm...After looking over this review, I think I actually have an outlook on my attitude towards this book. It's slightly positive, but not positive enough. 

Rating: Three out of Five

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