‘A Great and Terrible Beauty’ by Libba Bray is the first book in a trilogy. I read it a long time ago, but never got around to reading the two sequels. These last few weeks, I have been seeing the trilogy mentioned in a couple of videos and, after listening to the audiobook of another of Libba Bray’s books, I thought I might give it a go again.
The book follows Gemma Doyle, brought up in India, who finds herself at Spence, an English boarding school, after her mother dies. Not only that – she has visions. Visions of the future and powers that she is only just discovering. Combine this with trying to fit in with the girls of Spence, and Gemma’s life only gets all the more complicated.
I struggled with this book. I found it quite slow and it took a long time for me to get into. Unfortunately, there were a couple of moments where I just wanted to give up on the book altogether. Despite having read the book before, I had no idea what was going to happen in the book, or even what it was about, which I think may be a little telling. A great part of the novel seemed to be setting up and there did not seem to be much of a threat.
I also felt like a lot of the characters fell a little bit flat and came across as stereotypes in some instances. Even now, shortly after reading the novel, I can only really remember the main few characters. Gemma, as the principle character, comes across as a bit of a brat at some points, although you can relate to her in others.
That being said, the last 100 or so pages of the book were really good. I could not put the book down once we got into the main story. I did manage to guess the twists, but they were still well done and made sense in regards to the story. There was some really good character development and I did find myself enjoying the story towards the end. Not to mention, I really like the cover. I’m not entirely sure how it relates to the book, but I really like it.
I think, despite struggling with this book, I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt and try the next book in the series to see if it is any better now that the story has got going.