A Great and Terrible Beauty PDF/EPUB ´ and Terrible

A Great and Terrible Beauty In this debut gothic novel mysterious visions dark family secrets and a long lost diary thrust Gemma and her classmates back into the horrors that followed her from India Ages 12It's 1895 and after the suicide of her mother 16 year old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence a proper boarding school in England Lonely guilt ridden and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true Gemma's reception there is a chilly one To make things worse she's been followed by a mysterious young Indian man a man sent to watch her But why What is her destiny And what will her entanglement with Spence's most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to 375 starsI went into this book knowing nothing about it except that it possibly had something to do with witches which in the end was incorrect I love that this is both historical and has magical elements especially set at a boarding school because the aesthetic and the setting of the book was really neat I also love that despite the time Gemma is a feminist and has a lot of confidence However I had problems with this book than I have praise I felt like Gemma was very gullible and foolish in her decision making something that made me shake my head the entire book Additionally I was having a hard time getting into this because for some reason I kept getting bored and picking up other things I loved Libba Bray's writing style though so I can't wait to pick up her other books and maybe one day continue on with this series but at this point I'm not suresorry to all my really good friends that love this book c A Great and Terrible Beauty is neither great nor beautiful though it is indeed wait for it terribleThe characters are simple and one dimensional their actions both petty and selfish I find it difficult to believe any one of the four girls at the heart of the story cared for one another much less anyone else The story meanders often digressing into lengthy passages that do little if anything to advance the characters or the story As the story progresses drawing to its predictable and dissatisfying conclusion it becomes clear that Ms Bray has mistaken style for subtance and that her prose is not stylish enough to support this beliefMost offensive however is the racial and sexual content within the book The male lead a young man from India is sexualized and fetishized for his exotic appearance and culture; other Indian characters are shown as either submissive or violent The Romani people wandering the schoolgrounds suffer from even greater stereotyping the men are portrayed as slovenly ignorant and sexually aggressive towards the white schoolgirls; the women are docile and suitably mystical Her treatment of the female characters is also uestionable Though these Victorian girls wander about with decidedly un Victorian sensibilities and though Ms Bray makes a weak attempt to decry the injustices of a society so uick to condemn the expression of feminine sexuality the story itself does not support this modern take on the Victorian era The girls submit to their male counterparts or pine helplessly from a distance Sexual and romantic relationships between men and women often contain obvious and disturbing power imbalances or violent undertones The relationship between the four girls is emotionally shallow and deeply petty motivated by mutual dislike and composed of backstabbing and bullying tactics And though Ms Bray is uick to condemn the indignities and horrors of an arranged marriage she is also uick to condemn her protagonists when they dare to act instead of react It's a confusing mix of self righteous pulpit pounding and misogyny with the end result being I wanted to put my fist through the admittedly lovely and eyecatching coverMy one relief is that I had the sense to borrow this from the library instead of buying it outright I do not recommend it This book is what it is a young adult novelThat said it's a very good one You can read the summary on the book's page so I won't go into that hereI loved the juxtaposition of Victorian England colonial India and the fairy world The protagonist doesn't belong in any of them and she recognizes that which sets up the whole story the outsider tries to find her nicheI didn't care for any of the other main characters mostly because I felt that the protagonist Gemma was treading on thin ice by being friends with them I liked Gemma I've read reviews that said she was selfish angry and petty and she can be but what sixteen year old isn't The friendship between Gemma and the other three girls is based on a desire for freedom as well as the tenuous sharing of secrets I don't think the girls were ever meant to appear as the best of friends even on a good day so the reviews that criticize the friendship being shallow puzzle me I meanwell yeah rightI thought the story flowed really well and had enough twists and turns to keep me guessing it's also a really uick read and I was sorry when it ended as soon as it did The visits to the fairy realm were really a delight to read pure escapism for the characters as well as the reader And not without a dark edgeFinally it was a little racy which I thought was pretty awesome for a YA novel It's hard to write a teenage sexual awakening while so much other stuff is going on especially without being sordid cheesy or flowery Bray does this really well and the male love interest is your typical aloof charming vaguely dangerous devastatingly hot man of few words character I can hear the swoons of teenage girls everywhere Hell even I sighed once or twiceI'm definitely looking forward to reading the next two books in this series I don't know why for so long I just assumed I wouldn't like historical fiction it's not as if I don't love history I picked it for one of my A levels in college But I guess it's just one of those genres that sounds tedious and you imagine it to be all oppressed sexuality and prim and properness Diana Gabaldon forever changed my mind with her oversexed and aggressive depiction of history and it was only a matter of time before I looked towards other works of historical fictionThis book is both everything I expected and also everything I didn't expect It's set for the most part in a boarding school for educating girls in the art of being 'ladies' or in other words wives The girls were expected to be reserved polite and most importantly beautiful This I was prepared for I was also prepared for the customs superstitions and blatant sexism of the times However it never occurred to me that this novel would be simply a 19th century take on a modern school There's gossiping bitchiness and bullying of those who are different in this case from a lower classIt's a good dose of chick lit as well as a historical book And that's before we've even gotten to the whole magicfantasy aspect This novel completely transcends genres and does it well I didn't see the whole other realm mysticality thing coming but I loved it The gypsies are awesome as well we have crazy gypsies fake fortune telling I speak with dead people gypsies sexy gypsies don't believe the rumours 19th century girls didn't just lie back and think of England And that's another thing I liked the exploration of the girls' sexualities behind closed doors It may not be the most reliable source the book was written in modern times but it's easy to imagine that beneath the surface of Victorian society's repressed sexuality girls probably did talk about 'having' thousands of men Earls Dukes Barons Princes Anyway lost myself on a smutty tangent I was saying that I liked the idea of weaving fantasy into history I'm all for spicing up times gone byI didn't give it 5 stars because it wasn't uite up there with my other 5 star rated books I liked it I loved the many different elements that made the novel hard to categorise and I liked the characters I always like it when things aren't just as simple as she's a bitch and she's a freak in any kind of genre I liked how even though Gemma lost her mother at the beginning the relationship was still built up throughout I liked that the protagonist wasn't a pushover even so because the novel setting was in a very sexist society And I love anything with dreams andor visions

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