Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
A Great and Terrible Beauty (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy) Paperback – March 22, 2005
|New from||Used from|
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
“A Gothic novel touched by modern conceptions of adolescence, shivery with both passion and terror.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A true boarding-school drama, full of cattiness, Victorian repression, and steamy schoolgirl dreams of being ravished by virile gypsies.”—The Bulletin, Recommended
"This classic boarding school drama with gothic tones deals with real issues . . . a compulsively readable story." --VOYA
"[An] engrossing, imaginative Victorian-era novel . . . An unconventional book that entertains to the end and stays with you long after." --BN.com
“A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy . . . an impressive first book in what should prove to be a fascinating trilogy.”
“An interesting combination of fantasy, light horror, and historical fiction, with a dash of romance thrown in for good measure…Recommend this to fantasy fans who also like Sherlock Holmes or Mary Russell.”
—School Library Journal
“There’s no doubt the mystical elements, along with a touch of forbidden romance, will draw a large, enthusiastic audience.” —Booklist
A New York Times Bestseller
A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
A Book Sense Bestseller
BBYA (ALA/YALSA Best Book for Young Adults)
Iowa High School Book Award
Garden State Teen Book Award
Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award
From the Inside Flap
"From the Hardcover edition.
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
A Great and Terrible Beauty is one part Harry Potter, one part The CW, and one part Pride and Prejudice. Only darker. Much darker. It starts to border on the edge of material that makes certain mothers reading their daughter’s books stop and freak out. It’s not filled with “nice” magic like Harry Potter or Game of Thrones (ha!), but that “I summon, thee!” kinda magic that made the Puritans get all crazy.
At first, I didn’t love the book because I found the girls to be too bitchy, too backstabbing, too 2003. Not to say that Mean Girls didn’t exist back then, but really, we’re gonna go to a cave and drink whisky from a bottle like a group of drunken sorority girls?
The plot and the characters finally got going, though, when they all moved beyond hating each other (as much as that’s possible for these girls) and actually started doing something.
Man, it sure seems like I shouldn’t have liked this book, but I did. The plot moved along well and wasn’t as predictable as some seemed to think. What can I say? I enjoyed it. I might even keep the next two books in the series around just to pull out to show my wife I’m reading them when she starts to get crabby at me. It might work.
"I’m running because I can, because I must. Because I want to see how far I can go before I have to stop."
So anyway, this book was one of my favorites in middle school- it had everything I liked: historical fiction with a dash of the paranormal. However, Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty is so much more than that. It's a staunchly feminist YA novel that should have more recognition among young girls everywhere. And here's why:
Gemma: Gemma is, without a doubt, a beautifully written main character. Though she may be a "chosen one", the girl is definitely NO Mary Sue! She can be annoying, pushy, and quite mean at times- as well as very judgmental and ignorant,, but she is a sixteen year old girl. And sixteen year olds, especially ones that have been privileged their whole lives, are know-it-alls. And Libba Bray writes her very well. I grew to love Gemma! She get's her ass handed to her- and I enjoyed watching her grow into a better friend/person.
Friendships: This is a book that celebrates female friendship vs. young girls clamoring for the love of some aloof boy. There is this trend in YA where the main character is hounded by other girls and is left to only only associate with some handsome male (throneofglasscougchcough) and it is so great to read a story about friendship and sisterhood.
Also, this book is no love story! However, Gemma still finds herself "in like" with a character named Kartik. I found this pollen to be written very well- there is no "insta-love", because in real life,especially at Gemma's age, "insta-love" is more "insta-i wanna kiss you" and it was interesting to see Gemma wrestle with her feelings and be confused. It was realistic! And I liked how he didn't crumble for her! Libya Bray let's them be their own characters.
Themes : There are so many wonderful themes in this book! Feminism? Racism? Classism? Xenophobia? All of that is discussed and weaved in brilliantly. I would go into details, but there would be spoilers.
This book impacted me so much that I bought a tons of copies and campaigned to have it integrated into my high-school's English curriculum. Of course, it helped that my high-school was an all girls school, ex-finishing school much like Spence.
Thank you Libba Bray! Thank you!
There are many criticisms about the novel. 1. That the writing is verbose. Well, I will admit that Bray's style is quite heavy, but ti works here- it is seems that a lack of brevity fits into the victorian setting. 2. That the POC are made fun and are regarded inappropriately. I understand that- but Gemma isn't going to automatically not be prejudiced or ignorant. Gemma is kind of a bitch. But she grows throughout the novel and the book- and begins to view those different from her differently. I appreciated the fact that Bray didn't go easy on Gemma.
Top international reviews
This book is both everything I expected and also everything I didn't expect. It's set for the most part in a boarding school for educating girls in the art of being 'ladies', or in other words: wives. The girls were expected to be reserved, polite and, most importantly, beautiful. This I was prepared for. I was also prepared for the customs, superstitions and blatant sexism of the times. However, it never occurred to me that this novel would be simply a 19th century take on a modern school. There's gossiping, bitchiness and bullying of those who are different (in this case, from a lower class).
It's a good dose of chick lit as well as a historical book. And that's before we've even gotten to the whole magic/fantasy aspect. This novel completely transcends genres and does it well. I didn't see the whole other-realm mysticality thing coming but I loved it. The gypsies are awesome as well, we have crazy gypsies, fake fortune-telling I-speak-with-dead-people gypsies, sexy gypsies (don't believe the rumours, 19th century girls didn't just lie back and think of England). And that's another thing I liked: the exploration of the girls' sexualities behind closed doors. It may not be the most reliable source, the book was written in modern times, but it's easy to imagine that beneath the surface of Victorian society's repressed sexuality, girls probably did talk about 'having' thousands of men: Earls, Dukes, Barons, Princes... Anyway, lost myself on a smutty tangent. I was saying that I liked the idea of weaving fantasy into history, I'm all for spicing up times gone by.
I didn't give it 5 stars because it wasn't quite up there with my other 5 star rated books. I liked it, I loved the many different elements that made the novel hard to categorise and I liked the characters. I always like it when things aren't just as simple as "she's a bitch" and "she's a freak" in any kind of genre. I liked how, even though Gemma lost her mother at the beginning, the relationship was still built up throughout. I liked that the protagonist wasn't a pushover, even more so because the novel setting was in a very sexist society. And I love anything with dreams and/or visions.
Gemma leaves India in 1895 after the mysterious death of her mother and is sent to a boarding school in England. Alongside the struggle to make friends and find a place in the pecking order, she discovers her own powers to cross magic worlds. But some people fear her and even she is not sure whether she can control her own power or not...
This is written in the first person and Gemma's voice works well: sensuous and poetic at times, with the snarky tone of a teenage girl at others. I guess this dropped a star as it sometimes felt a bit rushed to me, with lots of trails starting then not being followed through. Perhaps that's because this is the start of a trilogy?
Overall I enjoyed reading this but wasn't completely enthralled. But I suspect my nieces will be.
Soon into the story she makes three friends bitchy and easily led. The three make a group called the order after discovering an old diary with magic going ons within it.
Overall this book shows how vindictive and horrible girls are to each other, it also tells of how inferior girls were back then, the term girls should be seen and not heard fits well to this book.
Much enjoyed and will probably get the second one.
Following the protagonist Gemma Doyle and her group of friends they encounter magic they never knew possible in their boarding school in London.
The book is full of twists and turns and is quite unlike anything I've read before. Although the language took me some getting used to its a fast pace book with a lot of interesting ideas.
I loved the gothic edge, being set in a victorian school, although verging on cliche, it definately added to the story. Lots of twists and turns along the way, I grew to love her friends, with all their flaws and eccentricities.
If you are looking for fantasy adventure, with a smidge of romance with well rounded characters then I would definately recommend this. The concluding books are great too, as I hate series that start off well and deteriorate.
16 year old Gemma Doyle is whisked from India off to an English boarding school after the tragic death of her mother, which she swears she saw happen in a vision. She quickly has a run in with the 'elite' (popular) crowd with snobby Felicity Worthington as its head and weak, stuck up Pippa as her second in command. She befriends outsider Ann, an unpopular move. All the while she keeps having visions, and this Indian boy, Kartik, is following her, telling her to shut out the visions. Felicity becomes fascinated with Gemma, and they form a secret group called the Order, which was supposed to be a powerful group of female magicians. As Gemma's powers grow, things start to happen which Gemma can't understand. Will everything turn out alright?
This book is a definite must read, it is immensely enjoyable. It will not disappoint!
I note in passing that in terms of historical accuracy it is not especially remarkable: the novel claims to be set in 1895, but it doesn't really 'feel' like 1895 - a year of decadence, the trial of Oscar Wilde, the New Woman - more than any other Victorian year Bray could have chosen to set the novel in. In fact, the constant references to Tennyson would imply a more mid-century setting. However, I wasn't especially reading this for the historical details, and, to be fair, the glaring anachronisms are very few.
While the heroine, Gemma, is given much good dialogue - her snide, often self-deprecating asides are both funny and feel realistic for a teenage girl - it is Felicity, the charismatic antagonist/friend who really captivates the reader, and it is she whose character is best-crafted. Although the revelation about her family is quite predictable, it is built up to in such a way that it feels very believable.
All in all, a real page-turner of the book, which works well both as a solo novel and the first book in the series.
But now it is nothing but a teen rebel against the world of adults who make your desicions for you, a tornado of meexed feeling, the contrast between fear and bravery - and it doesn't speak to me any more.
For me it was hard to read the book also because of the writer's style, you can see how unprofessional it is. the pharses are too short, and not like she does it on purpose from time to time, but all the time, as if she cannot formulate a longer sentence.
All in all, I would say, pass, but again, I am not the audience...