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A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
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A Great and Terrible Beauty

by Libba Bray

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Gemma Doyle (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,097290506 (3.83)339
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» See also 339 mentions

English (288)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (293)
Showing 1-5 of 288 (next | show all)
Turns out I lied - I just reread this. I didn't enjoy it as much as previously but it was still a lot of fun.

***
God I LOVED this but I would never read it again because I have a strong suspicion I wouldn't like it nearly so much. High drama, big magicks, awesome girls, and scary evil. Recommended for the 10-15 crowd. ( )
  humblewomble | Oct 19, 2014 |
READ IN DUTCH

I had heard mixed stories about this one. But the Victorian setting kind of lured me into reading it.



It wasn't to bad, it wasn't really great or beautiful. The characters felt cliché, like the kind of friends that only stick together in books/films. There was not really that much character development either. Besides that, the story itself was OK, and it did trick me into reading the second book even though I was a bit disappointed with this other world.

( )
  Floratina | Sep 25, 2014 |
Technically, I'd give this 2.5 stars. It wasn't that terrible. I wouldn't mind continuing the series at all. Though there were many aspects of the book that I kept on questioning.

Firstly, Kartik and Gemma barely know each other, yet she feels some sort of reaction o him out of no where. The literal translation of: BAM! PREGNANT.

Gemma, Felicity, Anna and whoever else I'm missing become friends like...out of no where. Felicity dares Gemma to sneak in the reverend's private wine collection. Gemma does, and leaves it on Felicity's desk as payback. As the story continues, it doesn't seem like the best situation to become best friends out of no where. So what? Gemma finds you with a gypsy, Felicity's in her debt and all. but it should just be left at that. *shrugs*

Overall, this Gemma chick annoys me so much at times. Especially when her mother told her not to take the magic out of the realms. you find out your mother dies for you in order to protect you, yet you practically throw your self in danger by removing the magic. And she warned you. She warned you Gemma yet you wanted to act stupid. So yeah, you be feeling really crappy. Okay so then she fights with her mother when she finds out she's Mary Dowd, but geez. It's better having your mother secretly being Mary Dowd, realizing her mistakes and trying to protect you then fucking spazzing out like a deranged monkey. but at elast she forgave her so that's good I suppose.

blah blah blah... irrelevant stuff happens. Pippa dies to stay with her imaginary prince charming in the realms or something. Felicity, Anna and [ is there anymore? ] basically becoming power hungry. NO ONE EVER SAID LIFE WAS EASY.

And the book ends with Gemma running.

THE END.
( )
  ku. | Sep 20, 2014 |
Technically, I'd give this 2.5 stars. It wasn't that terrible. I wouldn't mind continuing the series at all. Though there were many aspects of the book that I kept on questioning.

Firstly, Kartik and Gemma barely know each other, yet she feels some sort of reaction o him out of no where. The literal translation of: BAM! PREGNANT.

Gemma, Felicity, Anna and whoever else I'm missing become friends like...out of no where. Felicity dares Gemma to sneak in the reverend's private wine collection. Gemma does, and leaves it on Felicity's desk as payback. As the story continues, it doesn't seem like the best situation to become best friends out of no where. So what? Gemma finds you with a gypsy, Felicity's in her debt and all. but it should just be left at that. *shrugs*

Overall, this Gemma chick annoys me so much at times. Especially when her mother told her not to take the magic out of the realms. you find out your mother dies for you in order to protect you, yet you practically throw your self in danger by removing the magic. And she warned you. She warned you Gemma yet you wanted to act stupid. So yeah, you be feeling really crappy. Okay so then she fights with her mother when she finds out she's Mary Dowd, but geez. It's better having your mother secretly being Mary Dowd, realizing her mistakes and trying to protect you then fucking spazzing out like a deranged monkey. but at elast she forgave her so that's good I suppose.

blah blah blah... irrelevant stuff happens. Pippa dies to stay with her imaginary prince charming in the realms or something. Felicity, Anna and [ is there anymore? ] basically becoming power hungry. NO ONE EVER SAID LIFE WAS EASY.

And the book ends with Gemma running.

THE END.
( )
  ku. | Sep 20, 2014 |
A Great and Terrible Beauty takes place mostly in Victorian England in a boarding school known as Spence. The many plot twist in the book keep you pulled in to it. While a few of the characters who you originally meet seem very catty and snobby towards our protagonist, Gemma Doyle, they do eventually form the bonds of a forced friendship and seem to trust each other, mainly because it is based off of secrets and their desire to be something more than what society tell them to be, and sometimes seems as if Gemma enjoys it even less because of how they tend to force her hand in decisions. It show many of Gemma's doubts and fear, especially with her own powers and what she believes she can do. It makes her relate-able and like a real person. The novel may not continuously be action packed but its pace doesn't lull one into boredom in the least. Plus her writing is wonderful and I really enjoy it, it's not too flat and not overly detailed, it's comfortable and creates an image that comes to life in your head. Though we see little of colonial India, where I assume Gemma was born, we do get a sense of what it's like and scratch the surface of the people who live there. The few drawbacks were its sorta of racist/classist comments laid throughout the book, but that was to be expected due to the setting of the novel, lower class women were looked down upon and made fun of, and Romani were called gypsies and had several stereotypes slapped onto them because they were not liked as well as how people from India were talked about by the upper class. There is slightly a romance to the book, but its more of an undertone and doesn't really take much attention away from the story. Overall, I really enjoyed this book.

You can read my full review of the book here ( )
  IrisCollins | Aug 20, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 288 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Libba Brayprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bailey, JosephineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

And moving through a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot...

...

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often through the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
And music, went to Camelot;
Or when the Moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed.
"I am half sick of shadows," said
The Lady of Shalott.

...

And down the river's dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance--
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

--from "The Lady of Shalott" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Dedication
For Barry and Josh
First words
June 21, 1895
Bombay, India

"Please tell me that's not going to be part of my birthday dinner this evening."
Quotations
But forgiveness... I'll hold on to that fragile slice of hope and keep it close, remembering that in each of us lie good and bad, light and dark, art and pain, choice and regret, cruelty and sacrifice.
I'm sorry, Gemma. But we can't live in the light all of the time. You have to take whatever light you can hold into the dark with you.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385732317, Paperback)

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.

Gemma, 16, 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 wi! th 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. (Ages 12 up) –Patty Campbell

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:33 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

After the suspicious death of her mother in 1895, sixteen-year-old Gemma returns to England, after many years in India, to attend a finishing school where she becomes aware of her magical powers and ability to see into the spirit world.

» see all 6 descriptions

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