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Book Review of A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, Bk 1)

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, Bk 1)
natalexx avatar reviewed on + 52 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 13

If you like the idea of a "chosen one" and books about magic, you might enjoy it. The magic itself never makes a whole lot of sense (at least in this, the first book of the series), and really I think the best part of the story is the honest depiction of the vicious interaction of girls and the power-plays of friendship. There are eloquent descriptions and amusing observations, but the "historical" setting often seems compromised by the modern point of view. The narrator, 16-year-old Gemma, despite her rather sheltered upbringing, seems to see through the facade of society with the ease of a 21st century sociologist. There was even an amusing tirade against the old phrase "lay back and think of England," and I have a hard time believing that any girl of the time, unless explicitly taught different, would be capable of such perceptive mocking. The feminist overtones are pretty overt. If you don't care about realism (and there's nothing wrong with that), it's a decent read. Note--It's a YA novel, but it's more PG-13 than PG.

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