Challenges: PBT Relationships Tag, 2010 February Side Challenge 2 Romances
A Great and Terrible Beauty opens up to a world, foreign in time and place. Gemma Doyle is about to turn 16, and is showing her age well. Spoiled and downtrodden all she wants in the world is to have her first season in London, but how she gets her wish it comes with deep consequences.
Gemma is sent to London's Spence Academy to learn how to become a lady, doing the proper waltz, learning to draw the proper picture and learning to speak on the proper topics. However, it is clear from her arrival that she doesn't belong. She's a square peg in a round hole. There is a moment that changes her status at Spence, and gives Gemma the opportunity to befriend the group of girls who had previously ridiculed her. It's a strange power that she holds over them, and they over her. They have bonded and became sisters of blood, but not of birth.
I tried to read this book once before, but I had decided to set it aside because it just wasn't in the cards for me at that time. I still struggled through the first half of this book, and I think it was because the characters never seemed to grow beyond the 2nd dimension. I'm not sure if that was by design or a minor flaw in the story; it could go either way. However it makes no difference to me as the reader because it held me back from truly being captivated by the story. However, once I surpassed that feeling, I could not put the book down. Gemma truly became the woman that I was longing to see, there is a limit to how much insipant behavior I can handle, and Bray crossed that line for me numerous times. However, she was able to spin her web in such a way that I saw moments or shimmers of what I hoped the story would entail.
There is a mysticism in this story and although it does not overpower the plot, it is a big part of who Gemma is, but she just doesn't know it yet. I hope that in the further books that her self awareness increases and that the growth of her character isn't only influenced by her magic, but by the beauty of her soul as well.
Overall, I am not disappointed with this story, although I had some of the plot elements figured out there is still a greater mystery to behold and I can only hope that my theory rings true and that I can feel vindicated in my suspicions. Which is why I look forward to continuing on this journey with Gemma in Rebel's Angels the next in this trilogy.”