11 Following

Amanda Shofner

Grand Mistress of On a Book Bender. On the path of least revision. Wine supplier for grammar pain sufferers. #BecauseWine. Idea wrangler. Wielder of words. Black coffee drinker.

Currently reading

Jayne Castle
Diana Peterfreund
Bad Behavior
Jennifer Lane
The False Prince
Jennifer A. Nielsen
Light of the Moon (Legend of the Dreamer, Book 1)
David James
Amaryllis (St. Helen's Series #1)

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle Trilogy #1)

A Great and Terrible Beauty  - Libba Bray

A Great and Terrible Beauty is exactly the kind of book I loved as a teenager: history, intrigue, and just a wee bit of the spiritual/paranormal world. Well, and a dashing love interest, the angst of making friends, GIRL POWER, and little life lessons nestled underneath it all. While teen Amanda would likely have enjoyed this more than adult Amanda, the two of us agree that it was good and we want more because it is clear that Gemma’s story is far from over. (Also, there are two more books, so obviously we’re not done here.)


I am a complete and total sucker for heroines in historical books who fight the oppression of women in their times. I thrive on characters like Gemma, because I’ve always admired them and wanted to be like them. The fact that times were different mean little; there is still inequality and discrimination against women in today’s society, just buried deeper and with new names. Gemma isn’t exactly fighting it, but the seeds are present, and that is all I need.


The paranormal aspect of A Great and Terrible Beauty is probably my only real complaint. It was often slightly confusing (for Gemma, too) and though I think this was likely intended, I just wanted MOAR information. I will not apologize for my information whorish ways. But the realms and magic were intriguing, and I’d like to see where Libba Bray takes this trilogy. Gemma Doyle’s world has a lot of potential–for heartbreak, for world-altering consequences, for bucking traditions and learning how to find one’s own way in the world.


A Great and Terrible Beauty is a slow and creepy book, and it is my sincere hope that the trilogy continues to get better as we go.