A Great and Terrible Beauty

by Libba Bray

Random House Children's Books | December 9, 2003 | Kobo Edition (eBook)

A Great and Terrible Beauty is rated 4.6667 out of 5 by 30.
It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?


From the Hardcover edition.

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: December 9, 2003

Publisher: Random House Children's Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0375890491

ISBN - 13: 9780375890499

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Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from Underwhelmed & Disappointed I began reading A Great and Terrible Beauty expecting Victorian-style dialogue and mannerisms, intermixed with bits of fantasy and magic. What I got was the repeated mention of Victorian ideals (and fashion), using modern dialogue with next-to-no fantasy or magic. Frankly, I was a little disappointed. After my first encounter with Gemma, I was tempted to put the book down and walk away. She came across as a spoiled and self-centred juvenile who I had no interest in reading about. Fortunately, after the death of her mother, she managed to pull her head out of her ass long enough to see that the world did not in fact revolve around her. In time, her moments of immaturity grew on me as I realized it was a pretty accurate depiction of your average sixteen-year-old, and she was strong when the moment required strength from her. Having read in the summary that Gemma "blackmails" herself and Ann into the popular clique at her new boarding school, I was looking forward to cattiness and betrayals and a general feeling of constant distrust. What I got was a "friendship" (and I'm using that term very loosely) that seemed shallow and unrealistic. Gemma is constantly being used as a pawn by Felicity to make Pippa jealous, and seems to take no issue with it. In fact, she seems to relish in the moments where Felicity chooses her over Pippa, as she delights in seeing Pippa's hurt over her best friend's betrayal. For reasons I can't fathom, Gemma decides to trust these girls enough to tell them her deepest secret - she has visions and the ability to transport them all into a different realm where whatever they can imagine will come into fruition. When we finally get to the realms, Gemma is told she is not allowed to use her powers outside of the realms. For the longest time no real reason is given, other then the patronizing "because I said so" routine of parents, and so of course when she is pushed by her "friends" (who then seemed to be using her for access to the realms and the power it gave them) to take the magic into the real world, Gemma does so without real fear of the consequences - because they were never properly explained to her. I did enjoy the slow pacing of the revealing of secrets, as I felt it gave me a reason to continue reading. Without the mystery surrounding the realms, and Gemma's mother's involvement, I doubt I would have kept reading, especially considering that it took almost 300 pages before the realms were presented; the lack of magic and otherworldliness was quite off-putting as I was expecting quite a bit of fantasy. I read elsewhere that the "magic of the realms teeters on the edge of becoming a metaphor for drug use" and I couldn't agree more. There were several scenes where I was expecting the girls to get caught using some substance to explain their vivid delusions, as the images that were described seemed so disjointed. Overall I feel quite underwhelmed by A Great and Terrible Beauty. It took about 100 pages or so before it managed to catch most of my attention, and even then I found myself putting the book down quite frequently as other things managed to steal my attention. I did enjoy reading it, but I really don't have much to say about it, which is why it's getting 2 stars for "meh" instead of 3 for "enjoyable yet non-memorable".
Date published: 2012-12-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Disturbingly Amazing This book is positively a must read. So graphic, intelligent and unpredictable it will leave you running to the book store for the next. The scenes in which Gemma lives the halls of Spence and walks the streets of London are equal to those scenes of her visits to the Fantastical Realms, perhpas even arguably better. I love this book and I share it with others.
Date published: 2010-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating I read the triology of these books a few years ago and fell in love with the story. It was so unique and fresh that I couldn't put it down. I think this is a great and easy read that will keep you captivated long after you've finished it. ( Amazingly enough, I would simply think of another character while reading and their name would appear a few lines down the page....fantastic!)
Date published: 2009-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved It!!! There aren't enough words to describe how much I loved this book, from the moment I started reading, I really never wanted to stop, each page has such magic and thrill. The plot is truley amazing, and unlike anything I have ever read before.The characters in this book are brilliant, along with an adventure that is riviting and suspenseful, with fantasy that is truely unique. I am so excited to read Rebel Angels, the sequel.
Date published: 2009-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Spawn of My Addiction This is a fabulous book. The first in the Gemma Doyle Series, Great and Terrible Beauty really captured me wrong early on. The writing is great, the characters are very easy to relate to, and there's also the magic and fantasy that is the cherry on top and really puts the whole book together. Even though it is the integral part to the story being told, the quality of the writing doesn't need the hook of the fantasy. I also love the fact that it is written in 1896, London, England. Without that aspect, the book just wouldn't be the same. I love this and the other books, I definitely recommend this to anyone who likes history, fantastical, or simply to be entertained while reading.
Date published: 2009-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful A Great and Terrible Beauty is just as mesmerizing as it's title and cover art. This novel will have you up half the night because you just won't be able to part with it until you've finished. It's a wonderful mix of fantasy, romance, 19th Century humor/ wit, as well as pure childlike imagination. It will have you truely believing in the power of magic and friendship.
Date published: 2009-04-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love It This book surprised me very much, I wasn't expecting something so good and interesting. I was expecting something a little shallow, a good read but nothing exeptionnal. It is an awesome book. The characters are deep, have their own personally and make us feel their feelings, when their were happy I was and at the end I cried. It was very well written and once you begin reading you can't stop. The end was absolutely great and I can't wait to begin Rebel Angels. It's definetly worth reading so read it!
Date published: 2009-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing book! I loved reading this novel, I thought it was beautifully written, and Libba Bray's words conjured extremely vivid images in my mind that made for a wonderful reading experience. This novel is a captivating mix of fantasy, mystery, and romance. I was unable to put it down. A Great and Terrible Beauty puts a whimsical spin on a powerful coming of age story; set in the year 1895, we follow a sixteen-year-old Gemma Doyle from her beloved home in India to the mysterious Spence Academy, where she is sent after her mother's death. It is at this strict and strange boarding school that she meets her new friends Ann, Felicity, and Pippa, and together they uncover the Spence Academy's dark and magical past. Gemma is thrust into a life full of power, illusion, and danger. Although she didn't ask for the magic, Gemma and her friends must do everything they can to keep it. A Great and Terrible Beauty is a must read for those who enjoy the fantasy genre, but I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anybody and everybody who is in the mood for a great book. If you can't get enough of A Great and Terrible Beauty, check out Rebel Angels and The Sweet Far Thing, which are the next two installments in the Gemma Doyle trilogy.
Date published: 2009-01-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really great! This book is really captivating and just all together great. But I must say that the second book is better. Although it demonstrates great penmanship from the author, is seems a little far fetched. But if you are (not trying to be sexist here) a teenage girl that is into all this magical, kind of-but not really- romantic stuff, this would be a very excellent pick to read. You won't be able to put it down! But that's just my opinion.
Date published: 2008-10-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Decent story, but skip the abridged audio version I listened to the "abridged" audio version of this book, and although I can't prove it, I really got a sense of things "missing" from the story, particularly at the end. The story seemed to end very abruptly, with the detail and flavour that had been in evidence earlier in the recording, suddenly gone away. The story is interesting, and the characters well-written and engaging, especially if you enjoy "coming of age" plots, centring on rich Victorian-era, English school-girls behaving badly to rebel against the rigid system they lived in. But I would recommend sticking with the book, or an UN-abriged audio version.
Date published: 2008-08-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dark Times With a Modern Edge Although this book wasn't exactly my cup of tea I enjoyed it thoroughly. Although the book was set in rather dark times in 1895 the character have a more modern edge. In many ways the seem to be just like your average character set in modern times and yet they maintain their proper mannerisms. Had the book been more my cup of tea I probably would have enjoyed it more. I look forward to reading the rest of the series none the less and cna only hope it maintains the feel of dark times with a modern edge.
Date published: 2008-05-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderfully unique! I picked up this book over a year ago not knowing that it was allready receiving amazing reviews and 5 stars everywhere! I expected a story about a young woman living in the Victorian era in England. I had no idea the book would turn out to be a great fairytale with magical creatures and a dreamy realm. I am really glad my expectations were wrong because I read an AMAZING book! Anyone who wants to become an author should read this. Its an example of splendid literature. Libba Bray includes numerous themes but the style of writing remains understandable. The story is like nothing I've seen before and the writing defenitely allows readers to imagine every character and every setting. Read this book and you will NOT be dissapointed!
Date published: 2008-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My All time Favorite Book!!!!!!! When my mom bought this book for me for Christmas last year my first impresion of it was that it looked long and boring. But I was so glad I read it! It was not boring at all and I wished it was longer!!!! I was hooked by the end of the first chapter! I loved the was Libba Bray explained her charectors i seriously felt like i new them! I would definitely recomend this book and the sequal to it (Rebels Angels).
Date published: 2007-07-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This Book Is Awesome I am in Love with this book. Libba Bray is a great writer! I couldn't put the book down. I actually had to hide it from myself so I would do other things than read it. You have to read it! It is awesome.
Date published: 2007-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Absolutly Must-Read! An astoundingly written novel, full of complex ideas about 'The Realm'. Bray has really captured the essence of what a really book is all about. Add a bit of magic, with Gothic wickedness, and a hint of spice to heat things up. Remarkable!
Date published: 2007-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! This book was amazing! It totally wraps you into the story and the characters and you know what they are like and what they are going through because of the detailed writing the author did. It captures the imagination of teens and doesn't let it go until they are done. I would suggest this book to any girl who loves to read!
Date published: 2006-09-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from dark,tragic, yet beautiful!! Loved IT!! this is an awesome book!! It's about a girl who just turned 16 to discover the truth about herself and her mother. it takes place in the 19th centuery. the discribtion was so exact that i could feel the book coming to life. I've never read a book like this, it's really one of my favourites.
Date published: 2006-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a must have for any age This has to be one of the best books ever. I am a 19 year old avid reader and I love this book. My mom read and loved this book. My 15 year old sister who isn't very interested in reading read this book and promptly asked to read the sequal. My copy has been read so much it soon needs replacing. It is one of those books you can't put down until you finish it. when it is finished you wish it wasn't. No matter what age you are or whether you love reading or not, this is a book to read and enjoy.
Date published: 2006-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from beautiful this book was amazing. i couldn't believe the intricacy of the book. it had mystery, magic and a hint of romance. it captivated me and taught me so much. amazing fun, fast paced read. it even starts with a hit. had me laughing and crying. must buy, must read, must share!
Date published: 2006-06-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A MUST READ!! I really enjoyed this book. Reading it gave me a fascinating view into the Victorian era and how young women were expected to behave. Since the book is written in first person it feels as if you are right there with Gemma, as she discovers secrets and solves mysteries. The gothic, chilling, and suspenseful aspects of the book make it even more interesting to read. Can't wait to the the next one, Rebel Angels! YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK! 10 out of 10!!
Date published: 2006-02-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Great and Terrible Beauty A very well written book but I think it should have a little bit more detail in some parts. Other than that, I enjoyed reading about Gemma and her friends from Spence and can't wait to read the sequel.
Date published: 2005-10-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Astounding A Great and Terrible Beaty was one of the best books I've ever read. The characters were amazing, and so was the setting. Set at an English finishing school, one girl descovers who she really is, and how much more fascinating her life is. She is placed with a great task and learns to aknowledge her significant talent. This novel is intricately interwoven. A fast pace book that puts a whole new meaning on fantasy. A must read.!
Date published: 2005-09-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY I found this book in the teen section of the store which is unsual because I am a grandmother and I shop in the adult section. I thoroughy enjoyed this book. I even passed it on to friends who loved it. So parents and grandparents if you see this book and think it is only for teens you will miss a great read.
Date published: 2005-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Pure brilliance! This book has many profound ideas, and wraps you up completely. I found it to be very in-depth, making it seem as if you're there with the characters. You feel what they feel, see what they see, and do what they do. It was very well written, and any female teen who likes exciting, diary-like stories will enjoy it.
Date published: 2005-05-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Deliciously Entertaining From the moment I heard about this book, I wanted to read it. When I finally got it, I read it in a few days. Words cannot describe how amazing this book was; it was one of a kind. I simply could not put the book down. My advice: get this book right now! In case it is of any interest to you, this book is part of a planned trilogy with the sequel 'Rebel Angels' coming in March 2005.
Date published: 2005-01-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A True Masterpeice This was by far the best book I've read, the conquest of a young woman's life by terrible visions creates sort of an unthought idea that one doesn't usually think about while reading. It was lush and beautiful, so great that I cried at the end of the book.
Date published: 2004-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! This is a book that all teenage girls should definately read, especially if they like stories that take place in the Victorian period mixed up with a little bit of fantasy! The atmosphere of finishing school in London, England is described with great detail- it makes you feel like you're actually there! A must read!
Date published: 2004-07-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from **Amazed** A Great and Terrible Beauty is and wonderful book that I could not put down .The description of it on the jacket does not do it justice. When I first picked it up and looked at the title I thought it would by about a beautiful girl but after reading the book I realized it was way more insightful then that,I think its about that everything is beautiful for a while but it won't stay that way forever. People should really give this book a chance because I think it has the potental to beome a classic. The only thing I wish the author would have done was write more about Gemma and Kartiks relationship because you know they like each other. This book has everything Death,Magic,Love,Decete.
Date published: 2004-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brillant! A Great and Terrible Beauty was an entrancing book I couldn't put down and read it twice in a row for sheer delight. Already I have a couple of friends lined up to borrow it, and it is an excellent read for someone with a liking of history and magic.
Date published: 2004-05-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Okk............. This book was alright. I read it quickly, as i do with most books, but was disappointed. The description on the back makes it seem really good, but it was in fact quite boring. The magic was cheesy and it wasn't really much of mystery. I recommend it but don't have very high expectations.
Date published: 2004-04-20

– More About This Product –

A Great and Terrible Beauty

by Libba Bray

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: December 9, 2003

Publisher: Random House Children's Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0375890491

ISBN - 13: 9780375890499

From the Publisher

It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?


From the Hardcover edition.
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