Oh Libba Bray!

I think I really like Libba Bray. This it the second book that I have read by her and I must say that I am in love with her writing style. I like how she builds the characters and the setting in her novels. She is very detailed and after I have finished reading her books I miss the characters and I am eager to dive right back into the world that I just left behind.

I just finished reading  A Great and Terrible Beauty and I really really enjoyed this book. It took some time to get into but as the story went on I found myself really loving the time period, the story and of course the characters in the story line.

Title: A Great and Terrible Beauty
Author: Libba Bray
Published: September 2003, Simon & Schuster
Series: Gemma Doyle #1

Goodreads Synopsis: 
A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy--jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.
Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother's death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls' academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions "for a bit of fun" and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the "others" and rebuild the Order. A Great and Terrible Beauty is an impressive first book in what should prove to be a fascinating trilogy.
THOUGHTS:   I really liked this book.  I picked it up because I saw so many YouTube/BookTuber(s) video's that said that this book was amazing, actually some said that the whole series was great and so I had to see for myself. I must say that I am thoroughly pleased with this novel.  Libba Bray does an amazing job with the characters that by the end of the novel you really are sad that the book has ended. I enjoyed the time period that Bray talked about in the novel. This book has that historical aspect to it without it being an actual historical novel. When we first meet Gemma  she is a spoiled little brat who lives with her parents in India.  She complains and complains and doesn't let up on her mother and you wonder why she is this way with her. After a tragic event (her mother commits suicide in an effort to protect her from an unknown evil) Gemma gets her wish to go to London to a school where she will be made into a lady. 
 It is at this school that I really begin to like Gemma as a protagonist. She is quirky and she doesn't back down. When Felicity first meets her she is mean to her and her roommate Ann. Gemma stands up for Ann even though she doesn't know Ann, she doesn't like that the other popular girls are bullying this one helpless girl. Gemma then becomes the target and instead of cowering away she stands up to these girls.  I really really like Gemma after that. I am a sucker for a girl who doesn't let the popular girls get the best of her. I always seems to root for the underdog, and that is exactly what Gemma is until she makes friends with the most popular girl. Gemma catches Felicity making out with a Gypsie (this was forbidden! who knew?!?) Indebted to her, Felicity and Gemma become close friends.  Talk about keeping your enemies closer than your friends.  
Gemma also has to worry about this guy who keeps visiting her at strange times and places, Kartik. At first Gemma is bothered by him, but then she longs for him. I sense romance coming, and its forbidden romance at that so you know its going to be good.  Gemma has dreams about him, and even though he is mean to her and tells her that she cannot and should not wield her magic she is so drawn to him. She wants him to like her, she gets jealous when she thinks he is looking at other girls. I tell you I squealed like a little girl when she kissed him to prove to his "friends" that he was hers (this was to get them to see the fortune teller)
By the end of this book, I am so happy for the girls. I want them to be happy and I want their friendship to grow.  I get angry when Felicity does something to betray Gemma and say to myself " I KNEW IT" but Gemma like a good friend is there to save her friend. The story ends  where you want to know what happens to Gemma and her friends. You want to know if she and Kartik fall for each other. You also want to know what happens to the magical place and the dark power that is after her.  I cannot wait to read the next book so that I can answer these questions myself. 
All in all I would say that this was a very good book.