BOOK HOARDER’S SELECTION (6): A Great And Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1), by Libba Bray

Posted 14 September, 2012 by Kristilyn in Book Hoarders Selection, Bookish Things Event, Features / 28 Comments

BOOK HOARDER’S SELECTION, is a feature of Reading In Winter, which will feature one book from my collection that I plan to read in the coming week. These are NOT review books, but books I’ve purchased or won, which have been neglected for a long time.

TITLE: A Great And Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)

AUTHOR: Libba Bray

HOW LONG I’VE HAD IT: Since July — I finally decided to buy the books since I’ve been ogling them for some time.

WHY I’M READING IT: I have been wanting to read this book FOREVER. Like, since before I started blogging. I think it was the cover that drew me in — I mean, how can you not fall in love with it? I also love the mix of gothic, Gossip Girl-ness that the synopsis conjures up. I have also heard amazing things about Libba Bray, so I think I should finally read one of her works. I also think it kind of fits in with witch week, with the main character having a bit of a magical quality.

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SYNOPSISA 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 turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls’ academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions “for a bit of fun” and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the “others” and rebuild the Order. A Great and Terrible Beauty is an impressive first book in what should prove to be a fascinating trilogy.

Have you read this book?

© 2012, Reading In Winter. All rights reserved.


About Kristilyn

Kristilyn is a Canadian book blogger, music listener & creator, proud mama, and general lover of life. Her necessities include fuzzy socks, a library full of good books, a fully charged Kindle, copious amounts of tea, and chocolate. Swoon-worthy book boys are also welcome.


28 Responses to “BOOK HOARDER’S SELECTION (6): A Great And Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1), by Libba Bray”

  1. I recently read this! It was pretty good. I love boarding schools so the atmosphere was great. The paranormal elements were a bit odd but not off-putting. Hope you pick this one up soon!

  2. I read this one years ago and really enjoyed it, although honestly, I don’t remember a ton of details. Just the premise and a little bit of the conflict/mystery part… trying to remember how it ends, but I can’t! :(

  3. I want to read this one! I’m currently reading her book The Diviners for review and am really enjoying it so far! Plus this series is on the list of 100 best YA novels, so I obviously have to make sure I read every book on there! I’m looking forward to seeing how you like this one!

  4. I LOVE Libba Bray’s writing! I read the whole series 3 years ago in one go and now I’m impatiently awaiting The Diviners :) I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, slight warning: the ending of the series broke my heart a little…

  5. I haven’t read this one yet but I’ve been kind of stalking it. It’s at my local library in both physical and ebook form. And possibly audio. I’ve been waiting for the hold list to go down a bit. I’m the most impatient person ever when it comes to books.

  6. This sounds so good! I haven’t read anything by Libba Bray, but I’ve been wanting to read a few of her books (Going Bovine being one of them). I love books about boarding schools, and I also enjoyed the Gossip Girl books – so win/win with this book I’m thinking? ;)

    • The Gossip Girl books are some that I need to check out! I watch the TV show — does that count?

      I hope you can try her out sometime! This’ll be my first book by Libba. :)

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