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( Read E-pub ) Ä A Great and Terrible Beauty à In this debut gothic novel mysterious visions, dark family secrets and a long lost diary thrust Gemma and her classmates back into the horrors that followed her from India AgesIt s , and after the suicide of her mother,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 Georgia and the Tycoon dark family secrets and a long lost diary thrust Gemma and her classmates back into the horrors that followed her from India AgesIt s Home for Christmas and after the suicide of her mother,year old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence Claimed by the Desert Prince a proper boarding school in England Lonely The Way Back guilt ridden His Pregnant Housekeeper and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true Elemental Desire (Desire, Gemma s reception there is a chilly one To make things worse Philosophical Papers, Volume I she s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man Bride of the Solway 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 3.75 starsI went into this book knowing nothing about it except that it possibly had something to do with witches which in the end was incorrect I love that this is both historical and has magical elements, especially set at a boarding school, because the aesthetic and the setting of the book was really neat I also love that despite the time, Gemma is a feminist and has a lot of confidence However, I hadproblems with this book than I have praise I felt like Gemma was very gullible an 3.75 starsI went into this book knowing nothing about it except that it possibly had something to do with witches which in the end was incorrect I love that this is both historical and has magical elements, especially set at a boarding school, because the aesthetic and the setting of the book was really neat I also love that despite the time, Gemma is a feminist and has a lot of confidence However, I hadproblems with this book than I have praise I felt like Gemma was very gullible and foolish in her decision making, something that made me shake my head the entire book Additionally, I was having a hard time getting into this because for some reason I kept getting bored and picking up other things I loved Libba Bray s writing style, though, so I can t wait to pick up her other books and maybe one day continue on with this series, but at this point I m not sure sorry to all my really good friends that love this book c A Great and Terrible Beauty is neither great nor beautiful, though it is indeed wait for it terrible.The characters are simple and one dimensional, their actions both petty and selfish I find it difficult to believe any one of the four girls at the heart of the story cared for one another, much less anyone else The story meanders, often digressing into lengthy passages that do little if anything to advance the characters or the story As the story progresses, drawing to its predictable A Great and Terrible Beauty is neither great nor beautiful, though it is indeed wait for it terrible.The characters are simple and one dimensional, their actions both petty and selfish I find it difficult to believe any one of the four girls at the heart of the story cared for one another, much less anyone else The story meanders, often digressing into lengthy passages that do little if anything to advance the characters or the story As the story progresses, drawing to its predictable and dissatisfying conclusion, it becomes clear that Ms Bray has mistaken style for subtance and that her prose is not stylish enough to support this belief.Most offensive, however, is the racial and sexual content within the book The male lead a young man from India is sexualized and fetishized for his exotic appearance and culture other Indian characters are shown as either submissive or violent The Romani people wandering the schoolgrounds suffer from even greater stereotyping the men are portrayed as slovenly, ignorant, and sexually aggressive towards the white schoolgirls the women are docile and suitably mystical Her treatment of the female characters is also questionable Though these Victorian girls wander about with decidedly un Victorian sensibilities and though Ms Bray makes a weak attempt to decry the injustices of a society so quick to condemn the expression of feminine sexuality, the story itself does not support this modern take on the Victorian era The girls submit to their male counterparts or pine helplessly from a distance Sexual and romantic relationships between men and women often contain obvious and disturbing power imbalances or violent undertones The relationship between the four girls is emotionally shallow and deeply petty, motivated by mutual dislike and composed of backstabbing and bullying tactics And though Ms Bray is quick to condemn the indignities and horrors of an arranged marriage, she is also quick to condemn her protagonists when they dare to act instead of react It s a confusing mix of self righteous pulpit pounding and misogyny, with the end result being I wanted to put my fist through the admittedly lovely and eyecatching cover.My one relief is that I had the sense to borrow this from the library instead of buying it outright I do not recommend it This book is what it is a young adult novel.That said, it s a very good one You can read the summary on the book s page, so I won t go into that here.I loved the juxtaposition of Victorian England, colonial India, and the fairy world The protagonist doesn t belong in any of them, and she recognizes that, which sets up the whole story the outsider tries to find her niche.I didn t care for any of the other main characters, mostly because I felt that the protagonist, Gemma, was treading on thin This book is what it is a young adult novel.That said, it s a very good one You can read the summary on the book s page, so I won t go into that here.I loved the juxtaposition of Victorian England, colonial India, and the fairy world The protagonist doesn t belong in any of them, and she recognizes that, which sets up the whole story the outsider tries to find her niche.I didn t care for any of the other main characters, mostly because I felt that the protagonist, Gemma, was treading on thin ice by being friends with them I liked Gemma I ve read reviews that said she was selfish, angry, and petty, and she can be but what sixteen year old isn t The friendship between Gemma and the other three girls is based on a desire for freedom as well as the tenuous sharing of secrets I don t think the girls were ever meant to appear as the best of friends, even on a good day, so the reviews that criticize the friendship being shallow puzzle me I meanwell, yeah, right I thought the story flowed really well and had enough twists and turns to keep me guessing it s also a really quick read and I was sorry when it ended as soon as it did The visits to the fairy realm were really a delight to read pure escapism for the characters as well as the reader And not without a dark edge.Finally, it was a little racy, which I thought was pretty awesome for a YA novel It s hard to write a teenage sexual awakening while so much other stuff is going on, especially without being sordid, cheesy, or flowery Bray does this really well and the male love interest is your typical aloof, charming, vaguely dangerous, devastatingly hot, man of few words character I can hear the swoons of teenage girls everywhere Hell, even I sighed once or twice.I m definitely looking forward to reading the next two books in this series I don t know why for so long I just assumed I wouldn t like historical fiction, it s not as if I don t love history I picked it for one of my A levels in college But, I guess it s just one of those genres that sounds tedious and you imagine it to be all oppressed sexuality and prim and properness Diana Gabaldon forever changed my mind with her oversexed and aggressive depiction of history and it was only a matter of time before I looked towards other works of historical fiction.This book I don t know why for so long I just assumed I wouldn t like historical fiction, it s not as if I don t love history I picked it for one of my A levels in college But, I guess it s just one of those genres that sounds tedious and you imagine it to be all oppressed sexuality and prim and properness Diana Gabaldon forever changed my mind with her oversexed and aggressive depiction of history and it was only a matter of time before I looked towards other works of historical fiction.This book is both everything I expected and also everything I didn t expect It s set for the most part in a boarding school for educating girls in the art of being ladies , or in other words wives The girls were expected to be reserved, polite and, most importantly, beautiful This I was prepared for I was also prepared for the customs, superstitions and blatant sexism of the times However, it never occurred to me that this novel would be simply a 19th century take on a modern school There s gossiping, bitchiness and bullying of those who are different in this case, from a lower class.It s a good dose of chick lit as well as a historical book And that s before we ve even gotten to the whole magic fantasy aspect This novel completely transcends genres and does it well I didn t see the whole other realm mysticality thing coming but I loved it The gypsies are awesome as well, we have crazy gypsies, fake fortune telling I speak with dead people gypsies, sexy gypsies don t believe the rumours, 19th century girls didn t just lie back and think of England And that s another thing I liked the exploration of the girls sexualities behind closed doors It may not be the most reliable source, the book was written in modern times, but it s easy to imagine that beneath the surface of Victorian society s repressed sexuality, girls probably did talk about having thousands of men Earls, Dukes, Barons, Princes Anyway, lost myself on a smutty tangent I was saying that I liked the idea of weaving fantasy into history, I m all for spicing up times gone by.I didn t give it 5 stars because it wasn t quite up there with my other 5 star rated books I liked it, I loved the many different elements that made the novel hard to categorise and I liked the characters I always like it when things aren t just as simple as she s a bitch and she s a freak in any kind of genre I liked how, even though Gemma lost her mother at the beginning, the relationship was still built up throughout I liked that the protagonist wasn t a pushover, evenso because the novel setting was in a very sexist society And I love anything with dreams and or visions