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[Flashback Friday] - #68

Flashback Friday is a weekly event, hosted here, that highlights a past release that we're dying to get our hands on...

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Title: A Great and Terrible Beauty
   Author: Libba Bray
   Release Date: December 9th, 2003

     A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy--jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.

     Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother's death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls' academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions "for a bit of fun" and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the "others" and rebuild the Order. A Great and Terrible Beauty is an impressive first book in what should prove to be a fascinating trilogy.

My Stance:

     A Great and Terrible Beauty is one of those books that I'm on the fence about, and while historical fiction may not be my sort of thing. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys was the book that changed my opinion on the whole genre, and while I still don't know about the premise, Libba Bray is just such a great author. I want to try it out, and frankly I am not sure what's going on entirely.

     Gemma is one of those characters, that is so diverse and odd that intrigues me. I find that I am more trying to figure out who she is, what's she's capable of, and just the world around her. I am a huge fan of the whole victorian era, the clothes are just beautiful and the architecture is just breathtaking. so if you don't get those two right I don't think the book will have the appeal that I'm overall looking for out of the novel. Further, the style and tone of the book is going to dictate just how the book is going as well. I am looking for something light and edgy, but at the same time a darker undertone and possibly something more sinister.

     I haven't read anything by Libba Bray and while I have The Diviners, I just don't have the time to sink into that book, even though I have been told I will devour it completely. I figure between this one and possibly The Diviners and Beauty Queens, it's about time I give her a shot and try to get into her style and see for myself what a great author she is.
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