A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray: Review

Posted June 30, 2009 by Emily in book review, Uncategorized / 8 Comments

a great and terrible beauty cover art

A Great and Terrible Beauty
By: Libba Bray
Fantasy, YA Fiction

After witnessing her mother’s murder in a vision that turns out to be true, Gemma is enrolled in Spence, a girl’s academy. She is snubbed by the popular Felicity and Pippa, and even her dumpy roommate Ann until she blackmails herself and Ann into the clique. Gemma soon discovers she has a power that she’s not sure how to control or whether she wants it.

I have to admit that after I finished this book I couldn’t quite figure out what it was about. Ultimately, I determined it was about choices. Every character in the book makes a series of choices that have both negative and positive consequences. Okay, so I know all books are about that, and I know I’m not doing a very good job of explaining the point behind this book. Basically, I really liked the conflict that Gemma had within herself on whether or not to use her powers. I think that kind of struggle is very real, and I really like the conclusion she came to in the end. Each character in the book had their own personal struggle that ultimately was resolved. I really liked the way this book ended.

Things I didn’t like… I don’t really like cliquey, bratty girls. So, sometimes reading about their stupid little fights was annoying at times. And, sometimes I just felt really lost when Gemma had her “visions.”

I gave it 3/5 stars.


8 responses to “A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray: Review

  1. This book sounds really weird to me, and I probably will never read it. Even if it had a good ending, I don't like dumb characters.

  2. My laws..Okay, I liked this book. I agree it was confusing and the girls annoyed me. So I thought I'd just continue on in the trilogy. I liked the 2nd book the best, Rebel Angels. The third book, which was terribly long, frustrated me. I didn't really see the girls develop as far as character. They just sort of got to the point at the end that they could live how they always wanted too, but couldn't before because of societal rules. Basically they broke from society.

    If the girls behavior bothers you, I wouldn't continue with the sequels.

  3. Haiku Amy: I don't think I will continue. I was happy with the way it ended. And, yeah, bratty girls annoy me.

    Kami: I would not recommend this book to you. You will hate it.

  4. I have this one to read on my shelf. Just got it a little while ago and I am glad that I only bought the one until I can see if I will like the series. Confusing visions and bratty teenagers don't sound promising.

  5. You know what bugged me? I really didn't like that she just got sucked into the popular clique and seemed to like it. And, Felicity didn't seem to grow up and get less bratty.

  6. Did you read the sequel to the book, Rebel Angels? I thought this book was good, one of the few historical fiction/fantasy books I liked. When I finished this book, I couldn't wait to get started on Rebel Angels! 🙂 And yeah, I hated the stuck-up girls at the school.

    Here is my review to this book.

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