A Great and Terrible Beauty Review
What first attracted me to A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray was the cover, I have to admit. I’ve always loved corsets and like wearing them (albeit not so tight that I have to gasp for air!). The book takes place in Victorian England in the 1800′s however I sometimes have to double check because if you could just “hear” the way Gemma (protagonist) talks throughout the novel it doesn’t seem like it’s in 1800′s. She talks as if she’s from present day England. That’s just my view on it though. Gemma isn’t your average lily white elegant girl who’s all dainty and feminine. I’d say she’s a bit of a tomboy but more of someone who isn’t afraid to speak her mind and can defend herself when need be. Which is why I like her the most out of the group of girls she’s with. Naturally, like every novel with a group of schoolgirls each one of them has an issue to deal with in their lives: Gemma with issues with her mom, Pippa with her beauty and her rather nasty sounding fiance, Ann with her issues of self-harm and self esteem, and Felicity who’s got issues with her parents (and is rather power hungry). (It sort of reminds you of The Breakfast Club) (har har). There is the underlying theme though, of not wanting to be stuck within the mores of society where women are stuck being pretty things that aren’t meant to think out loud, or even to question things. Gemma especially, just isn’t cut out for that mold. You see Pippa struggling with that through the novel and what she ultimate chooses to be in the end.
Without delving too much into the plot (I hate doing that because I really don’t want to give too much away) I found the book not too bad. There’s a lot of questions to be answered. What I want to know most is about this “Order” I wish there was more background information on it so you have a general idea on what it really is. There’s also the issue with Miss Moore I’d really like to know what’s going to happen with her. I hope she comes back in the second part of this trilogy.
Overall, a good novel with a gothic theme. (7 out of 10)