Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Great and (not too) Terrible Book

Bray, Libba (2003). A Great and Terrible Beauty. New York: Delacorte. 

This book and the author get tons of hype from Booklist and ALA. This book was fine, and some girls will get into the series, but it's not great. As far as historical fiction, the descriptions of England, India, gypsies--all a bit cliche. It's not a read alike for The Hunger Games or Divergent crowd. There was some mixing of occult and mythology. That was odd. Plus, what was the veiled lesbian stuff? And the repressed sex? Just a bit too much.

All that criticism aside, Bray is an enjoyable writer.  Anyone who suffered through the Twilight series will certainly enjoy this series more.  It is far better written and the female characters are much more nuanced and independent. For the literati, it might appeal for comparisons to The Crucible, as it does contain some similar themes--jealousy, adolescent friendship, first love, coming of age.  

The book is the first in the Gemma Doyle Trilogy.  Other titles are Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle, #2) and The Sweet and Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, #3).   You can read more about the series on the author's homepage.  Fans of the author should check out her other books as well at

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