Sunday, 28 September 2014

Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray


A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy--jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.
Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother's death in a black, swirling vision that turn

I had, for a long time put off buying this book because I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy it. After several bad experiences reading YA novels this this year, I had been considering giving up- for the meantime at least on the genre. But then a friend of mine had a copy and let me borrow it, problem solved. It was just my luck then after deciding not to purchase it myself, I ending up loving it. 
Firstly I must address Libba Bray's beautiful writing style, her words flow in beautiful, descriptive prose. From painting vivid pictures of the bustling markets of India, to the Gothic boarding school in England I was totally immersed in our main protagonist; Gemma Doyle's world. The characters are everything I want in a novel; complex, layered, realistic, some are likable and some are not. Neither the less, this is such a beautifully written book that it just makes me so happy.
The book begins in India, and we are introduced to Gemma Doyle and her mother. Gemma longs to go to England like her brother, but for reasons unknown to her- her mother forbids it. Then after her mother's sudden death, Gemma Doyle is sent back to England to Spence; A well established, respected boarding school. It is there that Gemma begins to unravel her mother's mysterious past and the curious history surrounding around Spence and it's previous inhabitants.  

This was an brilliantly fast paced yet not rushed novel that I devoured in two days, Gemma was instantly likable for me, and I was fascinated by the mystery and suspense that Libba Bray builds. This was probably my first exposure to  YA Historical fiction and I loved it, there are two other books to the Gemma Doyle trilogy (Rebel Angels and The Sweet Far Thing) that I will definitely read. If you like Historical fantasy, then I would recommend this book to you. Even if you don't, take a chance and try it like I did. It was not a disappointment.

Rating: 5 Stars. 

Saturday, 27 September 2014

September Bookhaul:

Sunshine- Robin McKinley
The Sweet Far Thing- Libba Bray
Cruel Beauty- Rosamund Hodge
A Great and Terrible Beauty- Libba Bray
I, Lucifer- Glen Duncan
Rebel Angels- Libba Bray
The Collector- John Fowles
Station Eleven- Emily St. John Mandel
The Gargoyle- Andrew Davidson
The Superiors- Lena Hillbrand.