A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy--jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.
Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother's death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls' academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing.
There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order.
The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions "for a bit of fun" and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the "others" and rebuild the Order. A Great and Terrible Beauty is an impressive first book in what should prove to be a fascinating trilogy.
Published: 26th December 2007
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Series: Book 3, Gemma Doyle Trilogy
My Review 5 out of 5
What I loved about this story...
This trilogy has become one of my favourites of the year by a long way. As this is book 3, there is a lot of plot line etc that I won't go into. The plot continued to be fun and suspenseful and following Gemma Doyle and her friends through what they need to do still kept me at the edge of my seat.
I loved this trilogy and would definitely re-read it over and over again in a heartbeat!
What I was not fond of with this story...
This third book in the series was over 800 pages long. Although I enjoyed the fact that there was more story to enjoy before the end of the trilogy, I did feel that it dragged in places and could have easily been a 500 or so page book rather than 800 pages.
That being said, I loved the trilogy in its entirety and would recommend it to everyone!
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