Growing up in the 1800s, women are expected to be beautiful, well mannered and ladylike arm candy for the men who wish to claim them as wives like prizes and trophies. They should speak when spoken to, curtsy, smile and nod while being prisoners of their corsets. Too bad sixteen year old Gemma Doyle is anything but, she’s rough around the edges with her own opinions and her poor manners.
While walking around the markets of Bombay, India with the unbearable heat beating down on her, Gemma is longing to be in cool and green London, England where every young lady must be to increase her chances in the prim and proper Victorian society to become a suitable wife. After having a terrible vision of her Mother’s questionable death which ends up becoming tragically true, it seems that she finally gets her wish.
Now on the next train to London to attend the Spence Academy for Young Ladies, this dream of Gemma’s is slowly turning into a nightmare. Not only is she trying to adjust to her new way of life at school with a bunch of catty girls that make her an outcast, she also has her visions to deal with and a mysterious and beautiful Indian boy, Kartik, that has followed her from India and warns her to stop her visions altogether – or else.
To be one that doesn’t take kindly to orders, Gemma obviously doesn’t listen. In one of her forbidden visions, she is led by a little girl to the East Wing of Spence that was taken by a fire years ago and claimed the lives of three people. In the East Wing is where Gemma discovers the diary of Mary Dowd, which reveals secrets about her visions and a group of women who look after another world and its power called The Order.
This other world is called The Realms, where everything is beautiful and anything is possible. Gemma and her unexpected friends come together to form an Order of their own and embark on a journey side by side, quickly learning that with something so beautiful comes with something very ugly. The girls learn some dark secrets and must resist temptation, restore order back in The Realms and come out of it unharmed to tell the tale.
It’s an awesome story of young women in a different time period where they’re trapped but let their minds run free, searching for more than just being married off to the highest bidder. They want more things in life than just keeping a man happy. They want love, hope and adventure for their future. The characters are bitchy and sometimes naive but they slowly become best friends through their flaws and dreams. The magical world that Libba Bray paints for you is amazing. They touch upon it a little in the first installment but it really takes off in the rest of the series. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did.
Next book is Rebel Angels.