I bought this book over a year ago before I actually started reading it this summer. It was a featured book in the Barnes and Nobles fiction display. If I had all the time in the world, I would wander through bookstores and just read back covers.
I was distracted when I first started reading the book, so the first couple of chapters I read, I just wasn’t that into it. I actually missed a pretty important plot point (the reason why Gemma ends up in a ladies finishing school). By the time I got interested in the novel, which was when Gemma gets her first hint at an explanation for her visions, I knew I was hooked. Fortunately, backtracking to read the first couple of chapters is not that difficult.
The mean girl dynamics of the girl posse in the ladies finishing school would have provided sufficient entertainment on its own, but the way the author was able to weave mystery, folklore, murder, magic, and a pantheon of a different world order put it over the top. I was surprised at how good this book turned out to be despite my general frustration with the female characters poor decision making.
My annoyance with Gemma Doyle was not as great in comparison to the annoyance I experienced reading about Bella in the Twilight series. It should not be surprising as both are teenage girls caught in the middle of a magical/mythical world where they are the central character to the plotline. It is not fair to judge teenage girls from the grown up perspective of an adult.
A Great Terrible Beauty is the first book in a trilogy. When I finished the paperback novel, I could not wait to go to a bookstore, so I just zipped the rest of the trilogy to my Kindle. I read the remaining two books in three days. When I need to know what happens, I NEED TO KNOW right then and there. When I finish reading books like this, I usually feel like I am coming out of a hangover because my eyes and my head hurts (lack of sleep) and my back hurts (from laying on the bed reading all night in a semi-sitting position).
I definitely suggest reading this book if you were partial to fairytales, myths, and fantasy world stories.
The author is Libba Bray.
A Great and Terrble Beauty (Volume 1)
Rebel Angels (Volume 2)
A Sweet Far Thing (Volume 3)