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Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Great and Terrible Beauty (edition 2005)

by Libba Bray

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7,948326411 (3.81)358
Title:Great and Terrible Beauty
Authors:Libba Bray
Info:Simon & Schuster Children's (2005), Edition: 1ST, Hardcover, 416 pages
Collections:Read, Read but unowned
Tags:fiction, fantasy, young adult, romance, boarding school, paranormal-romance

Work details

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

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Showing 1-5 of 321 (next | show all)
really cheesy and often forced and predictable and not in tone with the period in which the story takes place. and yet oddly compelling. ( )
  mfabriz | Jun 26, 2017 |
The only reason I didn't give this book five stars is because it started quite slow for me. I had trouble getting into the story and it took me a while to get past the first hundred or so pages. After that, though, I enjoyed it very much and really liked the story.

I think this is a great YA novel, because it has an interesting story, multidimensional characters (yay!), and a setting that makes it all the more intriguing. And on top of all that, all the feminist thoughts and quotes were worked wonderfully into the story and were a really nice surprise. If I think of the audience this book is originally intended for, it's amazing that this sort of messages get incorporated into a story like this one, and that the readers can see how they compare to their reality and the world as it is right now. It will make you think about these things one way or another, and that is already a lot more than other books in this genre get to accomplish.

As I've said before, one of the things I look for the most on any book is that it has layered, multidimensional characters. I loved how all the girls in this story seemed to have really annoying, downright mean traits at first, but that then you got to see some amazing things about their characters. It was a constant message in this book, the fact that we all have light and dark inside us and that our personalities are made from a mix of the two, so we're bound to show more of one than the other at certain points in our lives, and most of the time we'll only see shades of what other people are really like. I think the main character even says something like this towards the end of the book, and I loved how you really got to see all of this on pretty much all the characters.
Now, if you add all this to some feminist messages here and there, you'll end up with a book I'll like very very much. The whole point is to show women as people and not things, and that means you're going to see a whole range of virtues and faults, all in the same person, sometimes showing up at the same time. The way the author shows how you cannot idealise nor demonise women without causing some serious damage is very well done, and it's a great way to incite people to think about this stuff. Again, if I think about the audience this book is directed to, I love all this aspects of the story even more.

There were some things I didn't enjoy as much, and the writing style was not great, but in the end I feel like the things I didn't really like are so few an unimportant given all that I did love about this book, that I'm not even gonna talk about them right now.

I feel like I would've been obsessed with this story had I read it when I was about 13 or so, and that alone would make me recommend it to anyone who wants an engrossing tale about interesting people, specially teenagers that can relate more easily to these characters. The fact that I still found it so enjoyable as an adult once again proves to me that using all this distinction between YA/NA/Adult as a legitimate reason to disregard a book that is "not meant" for your age group (fortunately I live somewhere that doesn't really care about these things, which sometimes makes it hard to wrap my head about these categories that seem to be set in stone in the US a lot of the time) can only make you miss on some great books and stories.
( )
  Booksen | Jun 23, 2017 |
Primo libro di una triologia della scrittrice statunitesnse Libba Bray posso senza dubbio affermare che questo primo volume rappresenta in modo chiaro cosa significa ''saper scrivere''.Sì, perchè Libba Bray è riuscita a scrivere un piccolo capolavoro gotico svoltosi in epoca vittoriana. In questo libro veniamo a conoscenza dell'eroina della storia che, fortunatamente, si allontana decisamente dalle stereotipate protagioniste invincibili o fragili tanto in voga in questo periodo. Gemma Doyle è una ragazza che si trova a fare i conti con una mentalità ed un mondo che per noi, donne del 2000, appare semplicemente inconcepibile. L'essere donna, l'essere un oggetto e nient'altro, ma riuscire comunque con caparbia, forza e, sì, egoismo a non arrendersi al asuo destino. Continuare a sognare nonostante tutto.
Un'eroina reale, viva e parpabile con tutti i suoi errori, le sue paure e le sue incertezza. Personaggi assolutamente originali e vivi che ruotano intorno a Gemma e al grande segreto della sue vita che finirà per unire in una solida e reale amicizia tre ragazze Ann, Pimpi e Felicity che diverranno parte integrante della vita di Gemma, nel bene e nel male. Un romanzo affasciante, coinvolgente e niente affatto scontato che mi ha catturata immediatamente e che ora, mi sta facendo correre in libreria per acquistare il secondo.
Assolutamente consigliato a tutti gli amanti del genere. ( )
  Nasreen44 | Jun 8, 2017 |
Became less enjoyable when I realized it was a start of a series. Read on recommendation. Meh.
  bookczuk | Mar 9, 2017 |
Julie gave this one 5 stars. Huh? It did pick up at the end and I will probably read the next one in the series just to find out about what, if anything, becomes of Gemma and Kartik. ( )
  annabw | Feb 21, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 321 (next | show all)

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Libba Brayprimary authorall editionscalculated
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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