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A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Updated: Jan 7, 2022

Sixteen year old Gemma Doyle is tired of her sheltered life in India, and wants to go to school in London. She is furious with her mother for not giving her more freedom. When Gemma's mother is killed during a strange vision though, the circumstances change entirely.

Now Gemma is being sent to a finishing school in London, but only because there is nowhere left for her to stay in India. It is at her new school that Gemma begins to uncover the power behind these new visions, and the forces that she will need to fight against just to stay alive.







Boarding School


Before anything else, I have to say that this book has an absolutely beautiful writing style. Every word is perfectly planned, and you just get swept away in the wonderfully crafted pages. Another great thing about this book is that it shows Victorian times through a unique lens. The book stays accurate to the time, but simultaneously manages not to be too old fashioned. My big complaint about this book is that the teenage girls don't seem like real people - they seem like emotionless robots who were modelled after a 2014 highschool drama show. All the girls in the school are just trying to get what they want, and they often seem to have no regard for each other's emotions.


Beautifully written

Historically accurate, yet not too old-fashioned ideals

Engaging plot


Unrealistic characters

Ending doesn't explain much (It is a series - I just don't like cliffhangers!)


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