Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.


Monday, December 14, 2009

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (Book Review)

Title: A Great and Terrible Beauty
Author: Libba Bray

About the book: Gemma Doyle isn't like other girls. Girls with impeccable manners, who speak when spoken to, who remember their station, who dance with grace, and who will lie back and think of England when it's required of them.

No, sixteen-year-old Gemma is an island unto herself, sent to the Spence Academy in London after tragedy strikes her family in India. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma finds her reception a chilly one. She's not completely alone, though. . . she's been followed by a mysterious young man, sent to warn her to close her mind against the visions.

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

A Great and Terrible Beauty is a curl-up-under-the-covers kind of book. . . a vast canvas of rustling skirts and dancing shadows and things that go bump in the night. It's a vividly drawn portrait of the Victorian age, a time of strict morality and barely repressed sensuality, when girls were groomed for lives as rich men's wives. . . and the story of a girl who saw another way. (inside cover)

My thoughts: I found it interesting that they said this was a "curl-up-under-the-covers kind of book", as a listened to an audio version from the library, in my car. That could explain why I wasn't really taken with it. I kept "drifting" - and that is usually a warning sign to me that I should give it up. This was a short one to listen to, however, so I just kept with it. I found that I got the girls mixed up in the beginning and couldn't remember who were the snotty ones and who were the nice ones! I didn't really care for Gemma either as I thought she was going to be "good" but seemed to immediately do whatever she could to get in with the rich girls. Of course, since my mind wandered, I might have the wrong take on this completely. I am considering giving this one a try again at another time - but reading this time. Maybe if I make it a "curl-up-under-the-covers kind of book" I would take more of a shine to it. This is the first book of a trilogy so I really want to like it!

A Great and Terrible Beauty
Publisher/Publication Date: Delacorte Books for Young Readers, March 2005
ISBN: 978-0-385-73028-4
432 pages (audio 4hrs 56 min)


bermudaonion said...

You're right - this might be a book that doesn't lend itself well to audio or maybe they didn't use the right narrator. Sorry it didn't work for you.

Dar said...

Too bad you didn't like it. I found the first book slow but I liked it enough to keep going and I found the other 2 a lot better.


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