Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Great and Terrible Beauty

by Libba Bray

Dedication: "For Barry and Josh"

First paragraph: "Please tell me that's not going to be part of my birthday dinner this evening."

Review: This is the first book in a trilogy about a young girl, Gemma Doyle, whose life changes unexpectedly after her mother's murder on her 16th birthday. She spends the first book trying to get over the loss of her mother, trying to fit in at her new school, and coming to the realization that no matter how hard she tries, she'll never be like the other girls.

I'll come out and say it. Not my favorite book ever. I'm guessing the second book will be a lot more interesting. The problem with this book was that it was 400 pages of a girl whining about not fitting in and trying to find her place in the world. The only intense, mysterious moments were the first and the last two chapters. The rest was character and or future story line development.

However, due to all the character development you really get a chance know the characters. You get to know each and every one of them. Felicity, Pippa, Ann, Miss Nightwing, Miss Moore, Madame Le Farge, etc. You loathe Felicity and Pippa until you come to understand them more. At which point you still want to shove their head in a bucket but at least you understand a bit more where they are coming from. And you get a chance to have a favorite teacher, and a least favorite. You get to know their sad stories.

As for the story, it's a great start. I'm guessing the the other two books will be filled with a lot more action and hopefully not so much "I'm whining because I just want to have friends but life sucks".

Now I may have given you the wrong impression. While this book was not my favorite I still really enjoyed it. I would definitely rate this book as "I liked it". It just wasn't one you pick up and can't put down until it's over. In fact, I sort of needed to take a break from Gemma every once in awhile.

The only other complaint I had was in regards to Gemma's friendship with Felicity and Pippa. These two girls were absolutely awful to her and yet, for some strange reason, she just kept going back for more. I just find that whole thing highly unlikely but I guess I wasn't desperate for friendship at her age.

Anyway, the next book in the trilogy is Rebel Angels. So I'll be reading and reviewing that as soon as I get it from the Library.

Click Here for Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty website.

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