Sunday 20 November 2016

Carole's Sunday Review: A great and terrible beauty - Libba Bray

Author: Libba Bray
Title: A Great and Terrible Beauty
Genre: Historical Fiction, YA, Paranormal, and Fantasy
Pages: 403
First Published: December 2003
Where I Got It: My Shelf (From the store - 2nd & Charles)

It's 1895 and, after the death of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped from the 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 finds he reception a chilly one. She's not completely alone, though... she's being followed by a mysterious young man, sent to warn her to close her mind against the visions. 

It's at Spence that Gemma's power to attract the supernatural unfolds as she becomes entangled with the school's most powerful girls and discovers her mother's connection to a shadowy, timeless group called The Order. Her destiny awaits... if only Gemma can believe in it.

I've been meaning to read this book for a little while now. It's been sitting on my shelf collecting dust. I finally managed to get myself to read it to the persuasion of a friend of mine. 

Gemma has lived in India all her life with her parents. Through some tragedy, Gemma's mother is murdered and now she is given her wish to move back to England. But it is not at ALL what she expected or wanted. She is tossed in a boarding school away from her family and she is pretty much alone to suffer with her newfound powers. See kiddies? Be careful what you wish for.  

OMG I hated Gemma. I wanted to kick her. She was spoiled little shit. Okay, it's not her fault, because she is 16 and her mom didn't really do much to punish her. Totally get it, but she was sooooo annoying. It was really hard to fully enjoy the book, because she was so dumb and just did whatever she wanted to do. She needed a firm kick or slap outside the head. 

Honestly, I wish that this story would have stayed in India. I think the setting would have been interesting to go with the plot. But it makes sense that she would have returned to England, so it works. 

I honestly felt like I was on a roller coaster this whole story. One minute I was super involved and curious what was going on. The next I was bored. Then I was hooked again and then back to bored.

The ending was good, but there were a lot of things left unanswered and unfinished. Lots of plot holes. I'm sure these will be answered in the next book, but I'm not sure if I'm going to move forward. I'm undecided as of yet. I do want to learn more about Gemma and her powers. Maybe I'll like her more in the next one. IDK we shall see. 

In the end, this was not horrible, but it wasn't great. I think if I had liked the main character I would have enjoyed this more. It is an interesting story. Honestly, I am still undecided if I want to read the next one. I'll give this a three. I recommend it if you want an easy read. 


  1. Having a good main character can make all the difference in the world.

  2. It sounds interesting though!

  3. I'm not sure why, but the initial intro just SCREAMED Jane Austin to me.

  4. difficult thing with Genna and it's frustrating about the plot holes there...

  5. This one's been gathering dust on my shelf too! I'm not sure if I want to read it now or not. I hate main characters like that! And I have to like the main character to like the book..

  6. I absolutely loved this when I read it -- but that was almost ten years ago, so I'm certain it wouldn't hold up all that well.

  7. I read this one when it first came out! It's as old as I was when I read it. I loved this series. Sorry Gemma wasn't that great for you.
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

  8. Hey! hope you are well. I read this many years ago, and rather enjoyed it. Although as I grow older my tastes have changed. Can't do much YA anymore. Sorry this sucked for you :(



Copyright © 2008-2020 Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell All Rights Reserved. Proudly powered by Blogger

  © Blogger template Starry by 2008 Modified by Lea

Back to TOP