Tuesday, October 19, 2010
A Great and Terrible Beauty.
Gemma Doyle, who lives in India with her mother and father, wants to live in London with her grandmother and brother. But her mother is hiding a secret from her and that secret is what is keeping her from being allowed to go to London to attend school like "a proper young lady should."
On her 16th birthday Gemma and her mother get into an argument about this, yet again, on the way to tea at a friends house. After Gemma runs off during this argument she gets sucked into a terrible vision of her mother dying. She tries to get back to her mother as quickly as possible, only to be just in time to see her mother killed.
She then gets her wish to go to London, and under the strict order of her grandmother, she is enrolled at Spence School for Girls, where everything is not as it seems. While there she becomes friends with her enemies, finds out about the Order, learns about her mothers past and her own future. Gemma soon finds out that along with the visions she's been having she can also open up a door to another realm that is controlled by The Order, which creates a whole new set of problems. Now with trying to keep her secret and control the magic of the realms, she find outs that Kartik, a boy from India who is part of a secret society that wants to keep members of The Order out of the realms, has followed her and is trying to help his society gain control over her. Will she and her friends make it out on top with full control of the realms? Or will the Rakashana get to her first? And will she be able to defeat what killed her mother?
This is the second time I have read this book, and I loved it even more the second time around. I love the time period that it is set in. The Victorian Era is one of my favorites. Libba Bray's writing is really beautiful. It is first person narrative so you get a great insight of Gemma's mind. All the descriptions, from how haunting the school is, to how perfect the realms are, to how terrifying the Winterlands and its creatures are, are awesome.
Gemma and her friends Felicity, Pippa, and Ann all come off as selfish, self-centered, greedy, and conceited at times. But if you really pay attention to their characters and their lives, it really does make sense they would act like that. They are all just trying to beat what their culture has "pre-destined" them to become. They are doing everything they can with the cards they are dealt. This story holds romance, mystery, magic, tragedy, hope and friendship. Definitely a great opener to the trilogy.
"What frightens you? What makes the hair on your arms rise, your palms sweat,the breath catch in your chest like a wild caged thing? Is it the dark? A fleeting memory of a bedtime story, ghosts & goblins and witches hiding in the shadows? Is it the way the wind picks up just before a storm, the hint of wet in the air that makes you want to scurry home to the safety of the fire? Or is it something deeper, something much more frightening, a monster deep inside that you've glimpsed only in pieces, the vast unknown of your own soul where secrets gather a terrible power, the dark inside?
If you will listen, I will tell you a story-one whose ghosts cannot be banished by the comfort of a roaring fire. I will tell you the story of how we found ourselves in a realm where dreams are formed, destiny is chosen, and magic is as real as your handprint in the snow. I will tell you how we unlocked the Pandora's box of ourselves, tasted freedom, stained our souls with blood an choice, and unleashed a horror on the world that destroyed our dearest Order. These pages are a confession of all that has led to this cold, grey dawn. What will be, I cannot say.
Is you heart beating faster?
Do the clouds seem to be gathering on the horizon?
Does the skin on your neck feel stretched tight, waiting for a kiss you both fear and need?
Will you be scared?
Will you know the truth?-pg. 86-87.
You really wanna read it now, huh??