Joint Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty, Libba Bray

Kaite: Time for a joint review! You’ve probably seen our book from this post in every bookstore and library around, which is precisely why we had to see what all the fuss was about. But, if I may be so abrupt, I have to say I was disappointed with this one, and I have a feeling my compatriot feels the same.

Deborah: Yup. Not the best book ever written, that’s for sure. It held my attention, that much is true. I was actually pretty into it for the first hundred pages or so. Starting off in colonial India was sort of interesting, but then things very quickly became wacky…and very dark and creepy.

Kaite: I think we’ll be agreeing on a lot of our points today. To give our readers an idea of what is going on in this novel (because you won’t be picking it up after you read our review), on the day Gemma Doyle turns 16, certain events make her life in India change forever. She ends up at a boarding school in England where she makes ‘friends’, and together the four of them end up exploring the magical realms Gemma has found she is able to access. Oh and this mysterious teenage boy from India follows (stalks) her to make sure she doesn’t get into trouble (?). The question mark is there because there is no clear reason why he follows her. He doesn’t give her useful information about her power, and is really just a sullen creep that is supposed to become a love interest. How did you find the rest of the characters in the book, Debs?

Deborah: Well let’s see, we’ve covered the protagonist and her lover boy, and that pretty much just leaves us with the terrible friends. Why are they terrible, you might ask? Because they’re the 19th century version of these:

Oh no she didn’t.

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