Today I am bringing you a review of a book that I read some years ago, but that I have reread this May.
A Great and Terrible Beauty is the first book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy and let me tell you guys that I love this book and that it´s one of my all-time-favourites. However, this time I have found some issues in the book that I did not find the first time that I read the book a few years ago.
In this first instalment in the trilogy, we follow Gemma Doyle, a young girl who lived in the Victorian England. She has grown up in India, but she dreams to be send to London to become a lady. Her mum does not want to send her to London, and that´s the cause of their continuous arguments. Nevertheless, everything changes as soon as Gemma´s mother is murdered in a very strange situation.
As I´ve said earlier, this is one of my favourites books, but this time around I found some issues.
First of all, Gemma is a good main character, but I found her to be a walking contradiction at times. She can be super nice, and the very next moment rude. I get that she is a teenager and that it is usual that teenagers are moody; I mean I have been a 16-year-old (even when that was 6 years ago), but the case of this girl is not ordinary. I think that the author should have been stricter with her character.
But I do like Gemma. She is, as I said, a good main character. I like to see that despite the complicate situation then she has in home she tries to deal with everything else that is appearing in her plate as it does. I like to see the guilt she feels over the last words that she said to her mum and I generally enjoy the arc that she has as a character in this first book.
Regarding the plot, I have to say many things. First, the concept of the story, I believe to be, very original and I do like how the author use the past to influence the present, and how we discover thigs in the present thanks to what happened in the past.
However, I feel like the story takes too much time; I mean, in pages, cause all the main events happens in a window of a couple of weeks. I feel like Libba Bray takes too much time developing the idea, before introduced us to it. I know that the world building was needed, since the magic system for this one is so unique, but I do believe that it could have been briefer. Nonetheless the style of the author is addictive and once you have started you cannot stop; and while the author is doing the world building she is also building the friendship between the girls. But my point with super long paragraph is that she could have the action sooner and not just in the last 3 chapters.
As I was saying on the previous paragraph, I liked the world building very much and the way in which the magic system is introduced in this novel. It´s not done in a way that I am used to see but I have to recognised that for this particular case works perfectly.
Of course, I must do a special mention before I finish my review of this book. I really love the friendship in this book. It might have started out of interest, maybe not for the right reasons, but the bond between the girls is real. There is a moment in which you know that they genially care for each other, and that they are aware of the defects of their friends and despite that they still love each other. I think there are few books that emphasise in female friendship as good as this one does.
If you would have asked me the first time I read this book, which one was my rating, I would have said 5 out of 5 stars. Now that I have read more and that I am more critic with what I read I think this book deserves 4 out 5 stars.
What is your opinion of this book?
See you all next Wednesday and maybe even earlier, as I might start my vacation today ;P.