Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

75%

12 Critic Reviews

Mysterious continued visions, dark family secrets, and a long-lost diary thrust Gemma and her classmates back into the horrors that followed her from India. A Gothic touched by modern conceptions of adolescence, shivery with both passion and terror.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Libba Bray

See more books from this Author
Libba Bray is the author of the New York Times bestselling Gemma Doyle trilogy, comprised of A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and The Sweet Far Thing. She is also the author of Beauty Queens and Going Bovine, which won the Michael L. Printz Award. Libba lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, son, and two cats. Visit her at libbabray.com.
 
Published December 9, 2003 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers. 416 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Travel, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, History, Horror. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Great and Terrible Beauty
All: 12 | Positive: 9 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Above average
on May 20 2010

Mysterious continued visions, dark family secrets, and a long-lost diary thrust Gemma and her classmates back into the horrors that followed her from India. A Gothic touched by modern conceptions of adolescence, shivery with both passion and terror.

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Kathrine Moser on May 16 2013

A Great and Terrible Beauty is a curl-up-under-the-covers Gothic mystery with horror, historical fiction and a splash of romance thrown is in for good measure making it captivating and fascinating.

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Teen Reads

Above average
Reviewed by Norah Piehl on Dec 09 2003

The supernatural elements of the book, though, are what set it apart from other novels of its type. The mythology of the realms and the magical Order to which Gemma and her mother belong are not fully developed...Neither does the story come to a satisfactory conclusion, as Gemma has yet to realize the full extent of her prophetic powers.

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Kidz World

Excellent
Reviewed by Kidzworld on Jan 21 2009

Set in 1895, this book is perhaps the best historical teen fiction series on the market. Libba Bray weaves magic, adventure and even a love story into one, while writing in a modern voice.

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Kidz World

Excellent
Reviewed by Kidzworld on Jan 21 2009

Set in 1895, this book is perhaps the best historical teen fiction series on the market. Libba Bray weaves magic, adventure and even a love story into one, while writing in a modern voice...The story is addicting, and best of all, it’s a trilogy!

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Teen Ink

Excellent
Reviewed by Bapalapa2 on Sep 07 2008

This is the book. I repeat, this is the book and there shall never be another like it with mystery, intrigue, hatred, adventure, love and loss all wrapped up into one...This book is a page-turner in every sense of the word. I give it five stars and can't wait for the sequel...

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Shelf Love

Below average
Reviewed by Jenny on Jul 01 2009

I picked up A Great and Terrible Beauty partly on someone’s recommendation — I no longer remember whose — and partly because it has such a wonderful title. (The other two books in the trilogy, The Rebel Angels and The Sweet Far Thing, also have terrific titles, don’t you think?) Unfortunately, the title was the best thing about it.

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https://www.commonsensemedia.org

Above average
Reviewed by Stephanie Dunnewind on Sep 25 2011

The friendship among the girls is marred by inconsistency, and the plot lurches a bit, but the novel's core mystery is still satisfying. Set in a time of corsets and Latin lessons, A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY contrasts the freedom of a fantasy world -- and the dark edges of power -- with Victorian society's constraints on women.

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Sonder Books Stand Out

Above average
Reviewed by Sondra Eklund on Mar 08 2004

Libba Bray did a magnificent job creating the characters...They felt completely real, with flaws as well as strengths. On the other hand, the negative side to this was that none of Gemma’s friends was thoroughly lovable...All in all, this was an intriguing book.

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Beckoned by Books

Above average
Reviewed by Sherre on Aug 21 2012

I am definitely happy I picked up this book and started reading. It was quite interesting and kept me on the edge of my seat. Despite my happy feelings, there were a few things I didn't like about the book. First, Gemma was panicy...I liked this book despite my hangups.

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Ringo the Cat

Above average
Reviewed by ringothecat on Sep 09 2011

With A Great and Terrible Beauty Libba Bray proves that she is capable of writing more than just that one deliciously weird yet terribly great book...It shows some of the greatness that Libba Bray is capable of...This book has structure, it has focus, yet Libba Bray’s signature is still all over the book!

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The Book Slooth

Good
Reviewed by Ismé on Nov 06 2010

I found that this book was a bit slow for the first one or two chapters, but after that, you find yourself reaching for A great and Terrible Beauty around the clock. The descriptions painted by Bray were effortless to visualize, leaving you with a lasting picture of the settings and all the characters...recommend it to girls aged 13-16...

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Reader Rating for Great and Terrible Beauty
78%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 694 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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