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A Great and Terrible Beauty | [Libba Bray]

A Great and Terrible Beauty

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.
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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

3.9 (340 )
5 star
 (126)
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 (99)
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Overall
3.8 (146 )
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1 star
 (9)
Story
4.1 (146 )
5 star
 (60)
4 star
 (54)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Jennifer Ford 04-30-08 Member Since 2006

    jbesser5

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
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    0
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    Overall
    "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
    8
    ratings
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    23
    4
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    0
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    Overall
    "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 2001

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

    HELPFUL VOTES
    518
    ratings
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    139
    100
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    73
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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 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    42
    ratings
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    49
    25
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    3
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    Overall
    "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
  •  
    Rachel 09-25-12
    Rachel 09-25-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
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    59
    20
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    Performance
    Story
    "meh"

    kind of uninspired and formulaic. I'm so tired of the "discover inner goddess feminine power" storyline for ya fiction. also, there was so much potential with the India storyline, but the author did nothing with it. Why, if the guy was from India, should he care about joining a secret society that went back to European figures like King Arthur or Charlemagne? Does India itself have no cool myths or history that Bray could have looked into? It made no sense.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maura chino valley , AZ, USA 05-22-09
    Maura chino valley , AZ, USA 05-22-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
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    54
    3
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    0
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    Overall
    "Not Harry Potter but.."

    Actually very enjoyable if you can get past the fact the heroine is far to normal to be completely likable, she gets better after the first few chapters. The plot is interesting enough and if some listeners found it boring I think that is most likely because the characters are written like everyday people, even though there is the fantasy of the "Realms". It's not as fast moving as other teenage magic books, nor are the characters as noble, but it has an air of reality in it that sets it apart.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Norwood Fresno, CA 02-05-09
    Paul Norwood Fresno, CA 02-05-09 Member Since 2005

    Paul Norwood

    HELPFUL VOTES
    41
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    30
    16
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    0
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    Overall
    "Just not that good"

    I did not enjoy this book. The rebellious teen heroine is frustrating and very immature.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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