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Rebel Angels (2008)

by Libba Bray

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Gemma Doyle (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,3171241,619 (4.01)167
Gemma and her friends from the Spence Academy return to the realms to defeat her foe, Circe, and to bind the magic that has been released.
  1. 41
    The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray (jordantaylor)
    jordantaylor: The third and final book in the Gemma Doyle Trilogy.
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» See also 167 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 124 (next | show all)
Abstractly, I always know how much I enjoy Libba Bray, but whenever one of her books pops up on my TBR, I remember with bright insistence. Since I started this blog, Libba Bray has become one of my absolute favorite authors. Rebel Angels is yet another wonderful book. It’s the second in the Gemma Doyle series and it’s been years since I read the first… but it all came back so quickly. I loved it. I listening to it slowly, often shutting it off and switching to music or my aPHR study materials rather than finish it. This sort of habit is terrible for my reading goals, but I don’t care. Rebel Angels was fun, twisty, imaginative, sad, and sweet. I loved it. And how often do we say that about the middle book in a trilogy?

In fact, I think I enjoyed Rebel Angels more than the first book.

The Realms come to life in this book as we venture far beyond the garden and into the depths of Bray’s world. Each trip into the realms is noticeably wilder and more dangerous. We watch the garden alone transform into a haunted version of something from Alice in Wonderland. We meet new characters inside this world, but we also meet old friends. Or are they?

The setting also pivots in the real world as Gemma, Felicity, and Anne head home to London for the Christmas holiday. We meet more people in society, we watch Gemma’s father struggle. We see Anne take the spotlight for a little while, which was absolutely wonderful. More than anything, I think my favorite character arc in Rebel Angels was Felicity’s. Coming into this story, I was a bit salty about Felicity. I was sure, so sure of her behavior only to learn more about her as we meet her family and venture into her home. It’s one of the things I love about Libba Bray – although she isn’t a POV character, Bray takes time with the supporting characters to give them depth and purpose. Now, ending the second book and heading into the third, I’m as invested in all the supporting characters as I am in Gemma.

Bray’s writing does so well diving into darkness. Nineteenth century England has its own underbelly of unfortunate behaviors, expectations, and the like. Bray picks away at this world like a scab and is not shy at all when it comes to Bedlam. I read her writing as a commentary of history with a raw bite that lets us be ashamed and embarrassed for most of London society as well as the reflections we see in ourselves (yikes). There’s also a moment where Gemma says something incredibly racist and the character she’s talking to reacts extremely appropriately and it’s called out in that way, although Gemma (and Felicity, when told) fails to see the problem. And isn’t that quite typical of our world? That interaction stood out to me. I appreciated its inclusion and I hope it makes others think.

If you read A Great and Terrible Beauty and were on the fence about continuing, this is your sign to carry on. I really enjoyed this book with its twists and turns (at a plot and a personal level). I know I’ll be reading the last book in the trilogy! This is one I’d read again. Anything by Libba Bray is something I’d read again! ( )
  Morteana | Apr 24, 2022 |
I love Libba Bray. I think my love for her grows more and more every time I read anything by her, or about her. This kind of story would not generally be my thing. Teenage girls in the old days, curtsying, being ladies, finishing school, high society, etc. Seriously, I am a very lucky girl not to have been born back in the day where women pretty much had a shit life. I would have been one of those girls that caused scandals by not wearing corsets, swearing, climbing trees, punching guys who pinched my ass, etc. I would have been the one they ship away off to the nutter house, or accused of witchcraft. It would have not been pleasant for me, so I usually don't want to read about how unpleasant it is for them, but Libba Bray makes me love it. She has magical powers, I am almost sure of it. She is a clever little bastard. ( )
  banrions | Dec 7, 2021 |
Listened to the audio book of this, and just like the 1st book in the trilogy, this book was amazing and the narrator of the audio book was still amazing! In this book, our main character, Gemme Doyle, is home for the holidays with her family in London. She has to help care for her father, attend lavish balls, and have a bit of a whirlwind romance with a handsome Simon Denby. But Gemma's visions have come back and are much stronger. She is having visions of these 3 girls in white. They are trying to show her what happened to them and to warn her. Gemma, Felicity, and Ann return to the realms where Gemma must find the Temple and bind the magic and put a stop to Circe. ( )
  Completely_Melanie | Sep 10, 2021 |
Goodness. That's quite a story.

While [b:A Great and Terrible Beauty|3682|A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)|Libba Bray|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1284558475l/3682._SY75_.jpg|2113193] primarily focused around the boarding school life with hints of a relatively benign magic (with a fair few hints of darkness under the surface), Rebel Angels expands the world both to the greater society of the time and delves much deeper into the dark, creepy bits of the Realms--not the least of which is Pippa. Dead... but not? It's a way to deal with loss, but there's no way this is possible going to end well.

One one hand, the twists at the end are interesting and it does shine a light both at the darkness in our world and in theirs, which is all the better. The bits in England are interesting enough to me, but I imagine that it's pretty standard historical romance stuff. The bits in the Realms are... a bit of a kitchen sink. Nothing ever really makes sense, which can feel extra magical and fantastical, but in this case mostly makes it feel disjointed. And when the major conflict revolves around a trio of teen girls literally staying on the path and listening to what they're told...

Well, you can imagine how that goes.

We'll give the third a try just because I've made it this far, but it's certainly not the easiest read. ( )
  jpv0 | Jul 21, 2021 |
Teen fiction. Period adventure for girls. Excellent narration of an enjoyable series (despite the stupid title). ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 124 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Libba Brayprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bailey, JosephineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
All that we see or seem / Is but a dream within a dream. --Edgar Allan Poe
Who first seduc'd them to that foul revolt? Th' infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile Stir'd up with Envy and Revenge, deceiv'd The Mother of Mankinde, what time his Pride Had cast him out from Heav'n, with all his Host of Rebel Angels, by whose aid aspiring To set himself in Glory above his Peers, He trusted to have equal'd the most High, If he oppos'd; and with ambitious aim Against the Throne and Monarchy of God Rais'd impious War in heav'n and Battel proud With vain attempt. Him the almighty Power Hurl'd headlong flaming from th' Ethereal Skie With hideous ruine and combustion down To bottomless perdition, there to dwell... O Prince, O Chief of many Throned Powers, That led th' imbattell'd Seraphim to Warr Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds Fearless, endanger'd Heav'n's perpetual King; And put to proof his high Supremacy, Whether upheld by strength, or Chance, or Fate, Too well I see and rue the dire event, That with sad overthrow and foul defeat Hath lost us Heav'n, and all this might Host In horrible destruction laid thus low, As far as Gods and Heav'nly Essences Can Perish: for the mind and spirit remains Invincible, and vigour soon returns, Though all our Glory extinct, and happy state Here swallow'd up in endless misery.... To reign is worth ambition though in Hell: Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav'n. But wherefore let we then our faithful friends, Th' associates and copartners of our loss Lye thus astonisht on th' oblivious Pool, And call them not to share with us their part In this unhappy Mansion, or once more With rallied Arms to try what may be yet Regain'd in Heav'n, or what more lost in Hell? --John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 1
Dedication
For Barry and Josh, of course
And for my much loved friends, proof that we somehow manage to find our own tribe

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Herein lies the faithful and true account of my last sixty days, by Kartik, brother of Amar, loyal son of the Rakshana, and of the strange visitation I received that has left me wary on this cold English night.
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Gemma and her friends from the Spence Academy return to the realms to defeat her foe, Circe, and to bind the magic that has been released.

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