A Great and Terrible Beauty

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Everyone has been telling me about this book, that is supposedly the first of a trilogy. Obviously, I finally gave in and read it.

This YA book centers around 16-year-old Gemma Doyle; a British teenager living in India. Set in Victorian era, she tragically loses her mother, which forces her to move and live in London and attend a boarding school. There, she finds trouble assimilating with the new crowd, but eventually realizes that’s just the least of her worries. Gemma Doyle sees horrifying visions; visions she can’t even explain. At the same time, she finds a mysterious man following her, telling her to close her mind against the visions or she would suffer its consequences.

I find it hard to summarize this book simply because it is far too complicated to explain because the plot is very broad and the genre is quite flexible. This is a Young Adult book, but it’s one of those rare ones that anybody can read and enjoy no matter what the age. I have to say, I enjoyed this book very much. It was one of those books that you just have to keep reading because the pace is fast and exciting, and leave you hanging by the end of every chapter.

One important thing also that I thought worked incredibly well were the main characters. Everybody had a significant and important role. Everyone was complex! I found myself interested in them. And I think it’s very hard for an author to come up with a character and write about them in a way that the reader would actually like them and root for them. The author, Libba Bray, has an obvious talent with building up these characters as well as the plot.

One last thing that I have to say is that I especially loved the way she writes! She uses simple, easy to understand words and yet delivers them brilliantly in in a poetic form. It’s rare for me to find quotes and dialogues that I would actually read again, and take note of. With this book, I found myself writing down several page numbers so I could go back and read those lines again. Speaking of writing, I have actually just finished the book a couple of minutes ago. In other words, I could not wait until another day to write this review because of how much I enjoyed it.

It was funny, very mysterious, sad, funny, surprising, and sometimes, even creepy. Fun book. =) I’m going to start reading the second book from this trilogy.

*** They are currently making a film out of this and is said to be in theatres in 2010. The cast is yet to be known.

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