Monday, 13 August 2012

Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1) 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.

                                                    4 Smokin' Kisses


God, I love victorian novels!! I'm pretty sure I was born in the wrong era. No matter how much I love my Iphone & My laptop, I think I'll always prefere the victorian era over the one I live in now. Something about it that makes me love it so much... even thought I'm a total feminist, and everytime the comment about girls "studying to become good wives" and "musn't outshine her husband" came up in the novel, my brain would have a hissy fit. Feminist meets Victorian.... Mwahahahaha, I shall bring a new order ;)

So this Novel was excellent! I absoloutly adored the plot & the characters & all the sucker punches this novel delivered!
This novel will take you on a ride in the past, with enough history, girl-spice, mystery & magic to keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time.

A Great & Terrible Beauty revolves around Gemma Doyle and the discovery of her mothers past & her own destiny. After her mothers death in india, Gemma is sent to Spence School for Young Girls in England where she discovers the secret of The Order and her mothers connection to it long ago. 
Gemma faces obsticles of friendship, love & trust- but also faces the harships of discovering her place in The Order , Making the right desicions, & holding a world of magic, known as the realms, on her shoulders. This is a tale of self discovery& trust in ones self... a story I will not soon forget!
The characters were lovely. I really enjoyed reading from Gemma's perspective, she's a fiesty young female that doesn't always agree with her mother (been there, done that), is hot headed, likes revenge & is a little too curious for her own good. She has the power to see visions that come true & also enter the realms.. which makes her rather wanted. She discovers secrets & makes unlikely friendships. Although Gemma gets a little dab of romance, I loved the fact that this novel revolved around the plot, character relationships, power etc. instead of having the romance being the driving fuel. It Proves that Bray is an excellent author that can keep you on the edge of your seat without sexual scenes, which most YA authors feel is a nessesity.
I also loved Felicity. Althought i'm not usually fond of queen Highschool Bitches, Felicity reminds me a little of myself & a little of the person I wish that I could be. Like me in outgoing & does whatever pleases her, not the people around her & what I wish I could be with her bluntness, charm & character. although she went a little insane near the ending, and I am not too fond of going butt-naked in a forest with my friends, She is definitly a strong female charcater, that does feminists justice. 
I disliked Ann. I usually pity/like the characters in books that are picked on, and usually underestimated.. but Ann was not one of them. She was a follower & betrayed Gemma over & over again for the sake of popularity. She easily forgot Gemma's kindness, and followed Felicity & Pippa although the basically bullied her the whole time. ugh, can't stand people like that.
Pippi was an interesting character. Although i slightly disliked her for being such a felicity follower, she redeems herself in the end. I pitied her most of the times & admired her disicion at the end.
Kartik... well, i dont really have an opinion of him. He only makes a couple of appereances, but all we know is that he's a hot gypsy, and there will hopefully be more of him to come !

The plot was great, loved loved loved it! Mixed my two favorite things: Victorian Times + Magic= My ultimate book.
The only complaint I have is that the author sometimes abruptly cuts of scenes and skips to a later time or will do something that doesnt completely make sense (gemma in the realm near the end) or a scene will begin happening and it wont be explained thorougly, so you'll kinda be reading and then think "whaaaat... why did that happen?" I re-read a bunch of passages and still didnt get some stuff. If those were fixed, it would have been a for sure 5 stars!

Oh well, looking forward to the next novel. Hopefully there wont be the same issue !



  1. This book sounds so good! I can completely sympathise with you on the whole wrong era thing as well!

    1. it's amazing! & I know D: it's so unfortunate that we get this era... :/

  2. I have taken this book out of the library TWICE and never read it. Clearly I have made a mistake. It sounds awesome, great review (and I also want to know more about the hot gypsy :-))

    1. yes, definitly read it! trust me, i bought it about a month ago and didn't read it until sunday. but once i started i couldn't stop & ended up finishing it in one day! & ugh, im on the 3rd book and he's quite annoying :( unfortunatly.... I wish the hot gypsy was slightly kinder.