A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Source: Hardcover (my own collection)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars :star :star :star
Many of my bookish friends recommended me this book. It was that which caused me to eventually buy a copy, and even more eventually read a copy. I had very high hopes for this book, it seemed like everyone truly loved it. I admit I'm having a rather hard time of rating it though. If I could rate the first half I'd rate it 1.5 stars. If I could rate the last half I'd rate it 4.5 stars. I guess I have to average it out and call it a 3.
First half: Incredibly dull and boring. Gemma is so annoying I want to slap her spoiled, petulant self repeatedly. How can I care about a plot when I find the main character insufferable? I can't. Add onto that a mean girl school setting and I'm unimpressed. :|| Seems like every young adult book isn't complete without a group of mean girls. But is there a point to all this stupid mean girl conversation and bullying?
Oh yes, there is. Which brings us to..
Last half: The Plot, characters, and overall setting are dramatically improved. The plot? Things are actually explained. Magic and another realm are explored and the reason of previous annoyances becomes evident. I start to become seriously invested and interested in what's going to happen.
Characters? Gemma discovers she's acting like a spoiled brat and she ceases to be idiotic and actually starts to be nice and tolerable. I begin to care what happens to her (yay)! We start to see a small clique of girls form out of opposing cliques. Although Gemma is the one I find most like able at this point, the other girls have very interesting and distinct personalities. The combination is great.
Overall I really enjoyed the last half of the book. I loved the ending. Lately I've been sort of fed up with these popular endings..cliffhangers or unanswered questions. This book proves that you don't need either of those to keep people interested and eager to read the sequel! And yes, I'll definitely be reading the sequel. It helps that I already own a copy I picked up used for fifty cents. Yes, I'm eager to see what happens now that the characters and world are well-developed.
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December 13, 2013
Book Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
(aka Dee) has loved reading for as long as she can remember. She loves many things: fantasy novels, young adult fiction, her cat, painting, and horror films from the 70s. Diamond is a grad student at UCLA. She's pursuing a Master's in Library and Information Science.