A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (Review)


The wind shifts, bringing with it the smell of roses, strong and sweet. Across the ravine, I see her in the dry crackle of leaves. A deer. She spies me and bolts through the trees. I run after her, not really giving chase. I’m running because I can, because I must. Because I want to see how far I can go before I have to stop.

Gemma Doyle is sent back to England from India after her mother died. She in enrolled in Spence Academy by her family in order to make her into a lady fit for marriage. However, not everything at Spence Academy is as refined and classy as it seems. Gemma meets Pippa, Felicity and Ann and they form a group that creates a strong bond between the four girls.

I’ve read many mixed reviews about A Great and Terrible Beauty, and I was a little bit hesitant to pick it up. But I recently read The Diviners and I loved it. So, I though that I would give this a go, and I was pleasantly surprised. The writing was beautiful and it really did increase my enjoyment of the book. I also really did love the historical setting of the story, but I loved how mischievous the girls were. How they talked openly about sex, as it would surely have been deemed very scandalous in those times. But I would imagine that some girls back then werelike that. So it was a very refreshing read. I also really enjoyed the magical element in it, and I liked the idea of the realms.

I personally really liked each of our main girls. They were witty, outspoken, fun and they all wished for a life that wasn’t their own. I liked how they were all so different yet they were brought together by a secret, and a place that they all sneaked off to, and got a taste of their dreams. It was a really nice and refreshing read to have a book focus more on the friendship than on the romance (well, there wasn’t really any romance, more like just a hinting of one), so that was nice.

There were some other nice elements in the book, such as the gypsies, and Kartik. I liked also liked how the story progressed, even if it was a little slow, and I still felt the need to read on, and very rarely found myself getting bored.

This is a series that I will be carrying on. It is a great magical historical read that I would recommend.

MY RATING: ★★★★☆

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