Great and Terrible Beauty Review
A Great and Terrible Beauty is the first novel of Gemma Doyle’s Trilogy written by the American best-selling author, Libba Bray. It is a boarding school novel, told from the perspective of a girl in the late 1870s, Gemma Doyle, who discovers her mystical gift when she was sent to a finishing school in England.
Gemma Doyle, the protagonist of the story, is a sixteen-year-old girl born in 1879 and was raised in India. On the day of her sixteenth birthday, she foresees the death of her mother in a dark, whirling vision that turns out to be true. But, before her mother died, she gave Gemma a “crescent-eye” necklace which is said to be the symbol of the Order according to the legend. Devastated by the death of her mother, Gemma and her father move back to England and she was sent to Spence Academy, an all-girls boarding school. There she met Pippa Cross, the beautiful one, Felicity Worthington, a powerful lady, and her scholar, outcast, roommate Ann Bradshaw. Using her deft mind and sharp tongue, she was able to navigate the stormy seas of friendship with two popular, high-born daughters and her plain and poor roommate. They were able to reveal a magical world which they get hopelessly entangled in and these girls were able to form a deep bond over their shared secrets and power, despite their conflicts and differences.
Amidst all the chaos, Gemma starts to develop a feeling for an Indian boy named Kartik, who follows her everywhere and watches over her because of her mystical power. Kartik is part of a Rakshana, a brotherhood that guards the realm. A realm is a mystical world where what you can imagine can be yours. Being the guardian of the realm, he warns Gemma to stop or to fight off her visions because it will only bring back the power of the realms and it will do her no good. Nevertheless, Gemma continues, until she and her friends uncover the mystery and the power of the realm.
Felicity Worthington, one of the main characters