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A Great and Terrible Beauty Audiobook

A Great and Terrible Beauty

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Publisher's Summary

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?

©2003 Libba Bray; (P)2004 Random House, Inc. Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group

What the Critics Say

"A delicious, elegant gothic." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (475 )
5 star
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Overall
4.0 (267 )
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1 star
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Story
4.3 (269 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    emily 06-23-15
    emily 06-23-15 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    Story
    "A realm of enchantment"

    This book transports the reader to a dreamy world, full of intrigue and danger. Despite the fact that the main character is a maudlin teenage girl, with special powers, I feel like this is definitely a character most every girl can relate to on some level.

    The narrator is excellent, and would probably find her voice relaxing if she was reading a grocery list.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LJ Ducharme Victoria, British Columbia, Canada 06-21-15
    LJ Ducharme Victoria, British Columbia, Canada 06-21-15 Member Since 2015

    There is no such thing as too many books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    "Libba Bray does it again"

    I've enjoyed the writings of Ms. Bray and I'm looking forward to continuing on this saga.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Natasha McLean, IL, United States 01-15-14
    Natasha McLean, IL, United States 01-15-14
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    5
    2
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    Story
    "Couldn't put it down/glad to learn there were2more"
    Where does A Great and Terrible Beauty rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The best! But it was my first...


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Great and Terrible Beauty?

    The friendship growing between the girls


    Have you listened to any of Josephine Bailey’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This was the first


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    YES


    Any additional comments?

    I was so sad when the book ended only to learn there were 2 more books!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elkay 04-16-13
    Elkay 04-16-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Intriguing"
    What did you like best about A Great and Terrible Beauty? What did you like least?

    Libba Bray writes beautifully and clearly gets teenaged girls. I liked the characters, and I appreciated the fact that she didn't go the predictable route and make the girls' school into a den of horrors - in fact, it's a remarkably kindly place. What I liked least: the lack of insight on the part of the main character. I hope for long-term character development as the story continues in Books 2 and 3.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Well, there's a whole secret magical world, and many characters of uncertain allegiance that I'm sure will become more significant as the plot develops.


    What about Josephine Bailey’s performance did you like?

    Everything. She was terrific.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Yup.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MJ Quincy, MA, United States 11-02-09
    MJ Quincy, MA, United States 11-02-09 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "slow to start,but worth it in th end"

    this book will fool you, the start is a bit dull but it is just setting the stage for the end game. the last 50% of the book is very good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Ford 04-30-08 Member Since 2006

    jbesser5

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "pros and cons"

    I am not a teen reader, I was recommended this book by a friend so i downloaded all the audible titles in the series. I would say that the pros and cons for thses books are about equal.

    Pros:
    Interesting story and good charcter depth
    Good flow from the first book to the last while keeping each book enjoyable in themselves.

    Cons:
    Fairly predictable. Heroine not very likable. By the time you get to the end all you can think is "Surely she must know better by now!"

    All in all I would suggest these books as an enjoyable listen good for a car trip. But you won't be blown away and asking for more.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B Tucson, AZ, USA 08-02-07
    B Tucson, AZ, USA 08-02-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Predictable"

    This book was fairly predictable, a bit too melodramatic. The teenage girls are even more annoying and stupid than the stereotypical "teen." The whining and complaining gets old. The characters are not even consistent in their actions or emotions, except perhaps Pippa, who is just downright 100% stereotypical. The narrator's voice irritating and her portrayal of the characters made them even more intolerable than they already were.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doggy Bird Glen Ridge, NJ USA 07-06-07
    Doggy Bird Glen Ridge, NJ USA 07-06-07 Member Since 2015

    Avid reader of classics and fiction, history and well-written genre novels. Music lover and huge audiobook fan.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    754
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    Overall
    "Excellent audiobook for adolescent girls"

    I listened to this audiobook on a long trip with my daughter. Each of us really enjoyed both the narration and the story. It was a little unusual in that it has some aspects of a historical romance and some of a more fantasy-type book, but the mixture works and helped us to pass a very enjoyable long journey in the car.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Grinnell, IA, United States 04-13-09
    Karen Grinnell, IA, United States 04-13-09 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Teen story, but still not that good..."

    I purchased this story for teenage girls to listen to as we traveled. They didn't stay interested. It has an interesting storyline, but the narrator is sometimes difficult to understand. I don't see any insight or a message from this story. Maybe in the next books in the trilogy? I even continued to listen to it, when the girls gave up, thinking it would get better (plus I hate to leave a book unfinished)but it was not very exciting. Even the "scary" plots were not that clear. This could be because we quit listening to it and then I picked it up again, but it just didn't keep my or the girls' interest enough.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amber Elise @ Du Livre Chicago IL 11-05-15
    Amber Elise @ Du Livre Chicago IL 11-05-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Mature YA that will suck you in!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Great and Terrible Beauty to be better than the print version?


    Plot: Gemma Doyle is at the age where she wants nothing more than to get away from her controlling mother. They used to get along famously, but now it seems that they can never see eye to eye. As a young woman approaching 16, she wants to leave the hot climate of India and get a proper English education to prepare her for society. That is, until her mother is brutally murdered before her eyes. The result of this tragic death is that she gets what she wants and is ushered to London to attend Spence boarding school. As all good mysteries go, she learns that the school has a hidden secret that affects her more personally that she would like.

    I'm slowly learning that Libba Bray simply cannot do cookie cutter. A Great and Terrible Beauty is a unique tale that expertly weaves beguiling characters and a spooky Victorian setting. The pacing of A Great and Terrible Beauty is much like The Diviners. It is slow, but I was never bored. Libba Bray's primary focus is her characters which is always a selling point for me as a reader.

    The overall mystery is something that Gemma pieces together little by little until we have our grand "a-ha" moment. It was never obvious, but there is a clear trail of bread crumbs that Libba Bray leaves for both the reader and Gemma to discover on their own.

    Characters: From the beginning, Gemma Doyle proves herself to be your typical teenager. She's a downright brat and has a strained relationship with her mother. It isn't until she's forced onto the shores of London that she grows. She even has a moment where she questions what it's like to be a woman and timidly explores the ideas of sex and natural attraction. I appreciated her strong will and refusal to become nothing more than a passive wife.

    The other young women at Spence as equally intriguing, as their friendship with Gemma is not 100% "I-like-you,-you-like-me-let's-be-friends." They each have weaknesses that Bray has no qualms with highlighting.

    World Building: Libba Bray is the queen of dark and beautiful things. Her portrayal of Bombay, India brought to mind a bustling shopping center and humidity. On the other hand, London was described as gray and almost stifling. I felt transported to this Victorian world that felt both organic fantastical.

    Audiobook Performance: At first I was worried about Ms. Josephine Baker's performance. The novel starts off in India so of course, the natives have heavily-accented English. Baker tries her best to deliver her lines with a believable accent, but all I could do was cringe. Her English accents were far better, and I was soon wrapped up in Baker's performance.

    Short N Sweet: A Great and Terrible Beauty is the mature YA novel that readers have been waiting for! Full of whimsy, complicated friendships, and a surprise ending, A Great and Terrible Beauty will have you itching to buy the whole trilogy!


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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