Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty, Libba Bray

A Great and Terrible Beauty, Libba Bray cover
It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?

This book is an easy read despite the subjects. A young girl seeing her mother take her life and having to build a new life in a strange country at a boarding school. There was self mutilation, girls trying to belong, bullying and a lot of not so nice things but it did not stop the speed of the developments in the story. I did feel it gave an accurate view on teenage girls. Which brings me to the part I do not understand. The easiness in which two of the popular girls went with two of the least popular girls without there being much of a hiccup. I do not feel that something like that could develop so easy despite the secrets they share. I am really curious what people who read this book think about that actually.
The characters were pretty obvious ones. Ann, the silent and normal one. Pippa, the pretty but ignorant one. Felicity smart, sassy with looks and Gemma who stays mysterious in a way even though you know more. The places the characters take in the story are very predictable and there was one decision made by one of the characters that surprised me because it felt out but in a way I could have peace with that one. I would have loved to know more about Kartik.
Though this might not sound as if I enjoyed the book at all it will get a three star rating because there was one thing I could not deny. The atmosphere and style of this book are great. I might not read another book in this series but I will for sure try other material by this author to see if it fits my taste better because the writing style is pleasant.

A Great and Terrible Beauty
Author: Libba Bray
Publisher: Ember
Pages: 403
Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 0385732317
ISBN-13: 9780385732314
Series: Gemma Doyle #1
Publisher: Trade Paperback
A Great and Terrible Beauty

3 stars

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22 November, 2013 delete

I've read three other Libba Bray books (Beauty Queens, Going Bovine, The Diviners) and have really loved her writing. I want to give this series a try, even though it seems really different from her more recent books and you only seem luke-warm about this one. I definitely recommend The Diviners -- really terrific writing and a great story! And if you like funny and snarky, check out Beauty Queens too!

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wensend.com
AUTHOR
22 November, 2013 delete

Seems like a good story, but I'm not that fond of stories with so less character development and I'm guessing this is one of those, am I right? I've also never read something from this series, but maybe I will. Still doubting!

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Isi
AUTHOR
23 November, 2013 delete

I didn't know the author, but I'm not particularly interested in this one. Anyway, you can't read everything!! :)

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24 November, 2013 delete

Hmmm . . . doesn't sound like it's the best. . . Although the concepts sound really interesting because of all the controversy. . . I think, though, that super popular girls could pick up unpopular friends and then those girls would be popular. Because in high school popular doesn't mean best liked, it usually means who is the prettiest/richest/bitchiest.

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Melinda
AUTHOR
26 November, 2013 delete

I like the title of the book and I think this is the type of book I would have loved to read about 8 years ago. However, for now I think I might have to skip adding this to the TBR, but thanks for sharing though :)

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