A coworker recommended this book to me and then was nice enough to let me borrow her copy. She's also letting me read the other 2 in the series too. Yay! :)
Here's the back blurb-Gemma Doyle isn't like other girls. Girls with impeccable manners, who speak when spoken to, who remember their station, 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 umcomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma finds a chilly reception. But she's not completely alone...she's been followed by a mysterious young man, who warns 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 group called the Order. It's there that her destiny waits...if only she can believe in it.
A Great and Terrible Beauty is a curl-up-under-the-covers kind of books...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, when girls were groomed for lives as rich men's wives...and the story of a girl who saw another way.
AGATB is a young adult novel, but in some ways it doesn't read like that. Instead, it's like reading a novel from the 19th century. The story is told from Gemma's POV and at first she comes across as a spoiled, obnoxious young girl who is mad that she doesn't get her way. Then tragedy strikes and her world as she knows it is completely spun upside down.
She goes to the Spence Academy and there her life takes some strange turns. There is a mystery afoot and when she starts to unravel it, it changes her life completely.
I really enjoyed this book. Ms. Bray's style of writing is really fascinating. She can show so many different things with just a slight turn of phrase. The book reads as dark and almost Gothic in tone, yet there are definitely moments of humor and levity to bring the tone to something that's not quite so somber and serious.
What I liked-
Gemma; she's funny, frustrating, stubborn, clever, intelligent and interesting. She's not afraid of what she's able to do & is willing to make some pretty surprising choices in the midst of finding out just who & what she is.
The setting; dark, gothic, creepy. Spence Academy would've totally given me the creeps when I was a kid. Of course, I'm a big, fat chicken, so there you go. :)
The period; I've always loved the Victorian era. I found the characters, the way the story written, etc. fascinating.
The twists; There were quite a few of them. Some of them were actually quite surprising.
What I didn't like-
Felicity...at first. Her character grew on me and by the end of the book I actually liked her, but she is EVIL at the beginning. Eesh!
Ann-I hope Ms. Bray delves more into her. As of right now she just comes across as a mental case with some serious issues. I mean, I understand why she is the way she is, but she is so annoying! Argh!
All in all, I really liked this book. I'm hoping Elysha brings book 2 tomorrow so I can start it. It should be very interesting. :)
My Rating: B