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Rebel Angels (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy Book #2) Paperback – December 26, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 233 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Gemma Doyle Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In this sequel to the Victorian fantasy A Great and Terrible Beauty, Gemma continues to pursue her role as the one destined to bind the magic of the Realms and restore it to the Order--a mysterious group who have been overthrown by a rebellion. Gemma, Felicity and Ann, (her girlfriends at Spence Academy for Young Ladies), use magical power to transport themselves on visits from their corseted world to the visionary country of the Realms, with its strange beauty and menace. There they search for the lost Temple, the key to Gemma's mission, and comfort Pippa, their friend who has been left behind in the Realms. After these visits they bring back magical power for a short time to use in their own world. Meanwhile, Gemma is torn between her attraction to the exotic Kartik, the messenger from the opposing forces of the Rakshana, and the handsome but clueless Simon, a young man of good family who is courting her. The complicated plot thickens when Gemma discovers a woman in Bedlam madhouse who knows where to find the Temple; Ann shows signs of being enamored of Gemma's loutish brother Tom, and their father's addiction to laudanum lands him in an opium den. A large part of the enjoyment of this unusual fantasy comes from the Victorian milieu and its restrictive rules about the behavior of proper young ladies, as contrasted with the unimaginable possibilities of the Realms, where Gemma has power to confront gorgons and ghosts and the responsibility to save a world. (Ages 12 and up) --Patty Campbell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up–At the end of A Great and Terrible Beauty (Delacorte, 2003), Gemma Doyle was determined to rebuild the Order and find and destroy Circe. Now the teen finds that she must do one more thing–find the Temple and bind the magic she released into the realms when she destroyed the runes. Her task will not be easy; Kartik and the Rakshana have their own plans, which threaten her; a mysterious new teacher may be Circe; and Christmas in London challenges the careful facades that Gemma and her friends Ann and Felicity have built. Dark things are stirring within the realms, including a possibly corrupted Pippa, and the only guides are Gemma's horrifying visions of three girls and the gibberish of a girl confined to Bedlam. Like the first volume, this is a remarkable fantasy steeped in Victorian sensibility; even as the girls fight to bind the magic, they are seduced by London society and the temptation to be proper young ladies. Gemma and her friends are pitch perfect as young women in a world poised for change, uncertain of their places. In many ways, this volume surpasses the first. The writing never falters, and the revelations (such as Felicity's childhood of abuse, discreetly revealed) only strengthen the characters. Clever foreshadowing abounds, and clues to the mystery of Circe may have readers thinking they have figured everything out; they will still be surprised. This volume does not stand alone; however, any collection that doesn't already have the first should just get both volumes.–Karyn N. Silverman, Elizabeth Irwin High School, New York City
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 0680 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Ember; Reprint edition (December 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385733410
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385733410
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (233 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By CoffeeGurl HALL OF FAME on September 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A Great and Terrible Beauty was one of the best literary revelations I've had this year. I couldn't wait to pick up the sequel, Rebel Angels. Again, Libba Bray has failed to disappoint me. No sophomore slump here! In this wonderful follow-up to Beauty, Gemma Doyle is getting ready for Christmas and a break from the Spence Academy. This is her first Christmas in London after spending all of her life in India. She looks forward to attending tea parties and balls and traveling around in the city with her friends, Ann and Felicity. Despite her friends' protests, she has left the realms behind and is living a normal life. That is until Kartik, sent by the Rakshana, resurfaces and tells her that the magic of the realms is loose for anyone to grab and this could cause chaos. She had shattered the runes that kept the magic safe and things in order (this happened in Beauty). And now Gemma, with the help of Felicity and Ann, must return to the realms and find the Temple that will put everything in order again. But she will face many obstacles. The Rakshana want the magic for themselves, a mysterious and suspicious new teacher appears at the Spence Academy, and Circe is still on the loose. There are various twists throughout the novel.

This is a wonderful continuation to A Great and Terrible Beauty. It is just as dark, gothic and fanciful as the aforementioned novel. In this offering, the author tightens up the loose ends left in the previous book but leaves new story possibilities for the next installment. The reader gets many answers regarding the realms, that beautiful and wonderful place where all dreams are possible. I was right about the person I had suspected was Circe since the first book. I am pleased with that development.
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Format: Hardcover
Libba Bray has lived up to my greatest expectations with her sequel to A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY. More precisely, REBEL ANGELS is the second installment of what is proving to be a well-crafted and nicely plotted trilogy. In this second novel, we are allowed to see the lives of Gemma, Ann and Felicity outside of their finishing school (Spence) as well as outside of the realms. It is generally accurate upper-class Victorian world of dinner parties, teas and evenings at the opera spiced with the gothic-fantasy intrigue of magic and mystery. As I had hoped, Bray further develops her characters - and not just the endearing Gemma. We gain insight into Felicity, Ann, Kartik and even Gemma's brother, Tom. These characters become more complex and compelling as the story progresses and I would imagine that many of those who found the characters to be less-than likable in BEAUTY will find them more appealing. The central plot line revolve around Gemma's quest to find The Temple, now abandoned by The Order, and bind the magic that she freed in the first installment, but the subplots, including a budding romance, the health of Gemma's father and a particularly delightful scheme to present Ann as a member of aristocratic society are just as compelling as what goes on in the magic of the realms. Pippa returns as well, although even more mystery surrounds her new spirit-self.

I must commend Ms. Bray on walking a careful and thoughtful like between historical accuracy and pure enjoyment. While she takes a few historical liberties (for example, the freedom with which Gemma moves about in London), she seems to do so in order to maintain a sense of adventure that modern readers would be able to relate to.
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Format: Hardcover
Let's go back, few years, summer 2003. I received gift cards to my favorite book store, and they were just BURNING a hole in my pocket. I toddle my way over to the Young Adult section, popping between rows and rows of everyday, seen that 10 times, novels. There was a neat stack in the corner, a pile of books that seemed odd to me. The cover was of a girl in a corset, red hair in a loose knot on the back of her head. Corsets are always amusing. I pick up the book, read the little expert. Ponder. Think. To get it, not to get it. Spend $17.95, not to spend $17.95. Finally, with a slightly off tempo mother huffing for me to "Hurry up and just buy a book!", I snatched the book and bought it.

Oh. My. God.

I cannot even describe the adventures that Libba Bray has not only accomplished to tell, but made believable. The heroin is not your average, "perfect hair, perfect skin, everyone loves her, people adore her, she has power and wealth"....hoity toity snooby rich girl finishing school product. She is a rebel, with the right amount of ingredients to make her less than perfect. She's not super pretty, in a world ruled by the fair and the dark haired, Gemma is a red-head with a mass of freckles. In a world with outgoing feminist, and stay-at-home wifes, Gemma strives to find a perfect balance where she can speak her mind, and not have the world on her shoulder.

But she does. In a perfect blend of fantasy, Gemma finds a world with everything you can imagine. Grass turns into butterflies, rocks are diamonds. The Relams, a secret garden version of a magical world, only opened to the women of the "Order", a old cultish like group with special powers.
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