A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)
By Libba Bray
Publisher: Delacorte Press, 2003
403 pages, paperback
Date Finished: 4/5/2010
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Historical Fiction
First Line of Book: " 'Please tell me that's not going to be part of my birthday dinner this evening.' "
Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty was a great series / trilogy beginner. The story revolves around the series main character and protagonist, and my favorite character, Gemma Doyle. She's sent to Spence Academy for Young Ladies in London, far from her beloved home in India. She is somewhat of an outcast when she first arrives, but soon befriends Felicity, Pippa, and her roommate Ann. After her mother's unfortunate ending to life, she starts having terrible visions. She meets a young man named Kartik, who has lost his brother the same way Gemma has lost her mother, and he tells her that she must stop seeing visions, drive them away somehow. She soon learns of her prophesized destiny to defeat the evil Circe and regather the members of the Order, an ancient group of women who all have visions, just like Gemma. Even though she doesn't get the chance to destroy Circe in the first book (where would the fun be in that?), Gemma has plenty of allies: her friends, her realm-dwelling mother, and Kartik, who is sworn to a secret group of men called the Rakshana, and all of these people are willing to help Gemma on her journey.
All in all, this was a spectacular read, and I recommend this book to anyone who has the time to read it.
Quotes from the Book:
" 'Couldn't we please take a carriage?'
'I'll take you to keep a civil tone.'
My annoyance has indeed been noticed."
" 'This is the Spence [Acadmey] motto: Grace, charm, aand beauty.' " Mrs. Nightwing
"He's not much older than a boy, really. Maybe fifteen with a nose he hasn't grown into quite yet. If we have to make a run for it, he's the one I'm kicking first."
" 'We'll find out what you're hiding from us yet.' Felicity
'A crazy aunt in the attic, perhaps.' Pippa
'Or a sexually depraved fiend who preys on young girls.' Felicity
'You forgot the hunchback.' Gemma"
--Zakiya, the walking butterfly