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A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

A Great and Terrible Beauty (edition 2003)

by Libba Bray

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7,320298482 (3.82)347
Title:A Great and Terrible Beauty
Authors:Libba Bray
Info:Random House Childrens Books (2003), Unknown Binding
Collections:Your library

Work details

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

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» See also 347 mentions

English (294)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (299)
Showing 1-5 of 294 (next | show all)
There are those books you're supposed to like, but don't ([b:The Road|6288|The Road|Cormac McCarthy|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1320606344s/6288.jpg|3355573]), and then there are those books you're not supposed to like, but do--like this one. A Great and Terribly Beauty speaks to the younger me, the me who loves tortured souls and gothic settings and anything with corsets. Some of the imagery is a little cloying and the characters and language are more a caricature of Victorian than an actual representation, but I ate it up anyway. I hear there's going to be balls in the next one...I can't wait! ( )
  mermaidatheart | Dec 1, 2015 |
Gave up half-way through. I don't know if it was me or the book, but if it's taken me over 21 days and the ebook expires - that's not encouraging. ( )
  archivalistic | Aug 24, 2015 |

Many of my bookish friends recommended me this book. It was that which caused me to eventually buy a copy, and even more eventually read a copy. I had very high hopes for this book, it seemed like everyone truly loved it. I admit I'm having a rather hard time of rating it though. If I could rate the first half I'd rate it 1.5 stars. If I could rate the last half I'd rate it 4.5 stars. I guess I have to average it out and call it a 3.

First half: Incredibly dull and boring. Gemma is so annoying I want to slap her spoiled, petulant self repeatedly. How can I care about a plot when I find the main character insufferable? I can't. Add onto that a mean girl school setting and I'm unimpressed. Seems like every young adult book isn't complete without a group of mean girls. But is there a point to all this stupid mean girl conversation and bullying? Oh yes, there is. Which brings us to..

Last half: The Plot, characters, and overall setting are dramatically improved. The plot? Things are actually explained. Magic and another realm are explored and the reason of previous annoyances becomes evident. I start to become seriously invested and interested in what's going to happen.
Characters? Gemma discovers she's acting like a spoiled brat and she ceases to be idiotic and actually starts to be nice and tolerable. I begin to care what happens to her (yay)! We start to see a small clique of girls form out of opposing cliques. Although Gemma is the one I find most like able at this point, the other girls have very interesting and distinct personalities. The combination is great.

Overall I really enjoyed the last half of the book. I loved the ending. Lately I've been sort of fed up with these endings..cliffhangers or unanswered questions. This book proves that you don't need either of those to keep people interested and eager to read the sequel! And yes, I'll definitely be reading the sequel. It helps that I already own a copy I picked up used for fifty cents. Yes, I'm eager to see what happens now that the characters and world are well-developed. ( )
  Diamond.Dee. | Jul 3, 2015 |
Gothic light. ( )
  Nero56 | Apr 6, 2015 |
A Great and Terrible Beauty features a young female protagonist sent to an English boarding school when her mother is killed in the streets of India. It can be considered a work of historical fiction with elements of magic, vampires and romance. Gemma Doyle has provided an suspenseful tale that will intrigue both youth and adults. This book is the first of a series and I can't wait to get started on the rest. ( )
  mmeharvey | Apr 6, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 294 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Libba Brayprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bailey, JosephineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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

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."
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.
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:41 -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.

(summary from another edition)

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