Monday, April 17, 2017

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

 A Great and Terrible Beauty is book one in the Gemma Doyle trilogy. Gemma Doyle, who loses her mother under mysterious circumstances at the young age of sixteen, is shipped off to boarding school by a well-intentioned, but arrogant grandmother. Her father spirals down after the loss of his wife, and Gemma is left to fend for herself amid teenage girls...and we all know the terrors of teenage girls. But as she attempts to learn this new world she's been pushed into, Gemma starts to uncover secrets about herself and her family that she was never meant to know. She stumbles upon supernatural reasons for her mothers death and the powers that she possess as well. She is coerced into facing her fate, whether she wants to or not - the temptation is simply too strong.

Set at the Spence Academy in London during the 1800s, Bray weaves a believable and timely tale of loss, friendship, and mystery. The book carries a Gothic feel with old castles, claustrophobic spaces, ghosts and spirits, and women in distress, but it misses a truly dark feel for me. Overall I'm not sure I'll be reading books two or three of this set, which is a disappointment because I loved Libba Bray's The Diviners set in the 1920s.

This series - a solid ☕☕☕  to start, but that's all.

However, if this sounds like something you'd like to read, visit her Gemma Doyle Website at

Truthfully, I think the story would make an amazing television series, it just didn't read off the page as well as I wanted it to. Maybe we'll get lucky and a producer will bite? Apparently "in 2006 the book was optioned by Icon in order to be made into a film. In July 2009, Libba Bray announced on her livejournal that after the option reached the deadline, there was still no script in the making and the director backed out to take over another project. For the time being, there is no movie of any of the books planned" ("A Great and Terrible Beauty (film)").

"A Great and Terrible Beauty (film)." The Libba Bray Wiki. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.

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