©2003 Libba Bray; (P)2004 Random House, Inc. Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group
"A delicious, elegant gothic." (Publishers Weekly)
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.
There is no such thing as too many books.
I've enjoyed the writings of Ms. Bray and I'm looking forward to continuing on this saga.
The best! But it was my first...
The friendship growing between the girls
This was the first
I was so sad when the book ended only to learn there were 2 more books!!
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.
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.
Everything. She was terrific.
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.
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.
Interesting story and good charcter depth
Good flow from the first book to the last while keeping each book enjoyable in themselves.
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.
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.
Avid reader of classics and fiction, history and well-written genre novels. Music lover and huge audiobook fan.
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.
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.
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!
Report Inappropriate Content