As further evidence of my extreme listlessness, I am combining three book reviews into one! Pathetic, huh. Well, besides my disgusting laziness, there are other reasons for this. First, this is obviously a trilogy, and so I have the excuse of wanting to consume and then review the work as a whole. Second, I listened to these on audiobook, and for some reason this make writing reviews more difficult, especially detailed reviews.
So here’s what I have to say about The Gemma Doyle Trilogy, by Libba Bray. The first book, A Great and Terrible Beauty turned me off a bit, mostly because I did not realize that these stories would involve witchcraft/magic/other realms, etc. It’s not that I dislike those topics, quite the contrary. But do you ever find yourself disliking a book just because it was not what you had expected? I guess I should have read the synopsis. However, by the end, strong-willed Gemma Doyle had won me over.
The trilogy begins with the death of Gemma’s mother, and Gemma’s exodus from her home in India to an English finishing school. Gemma is different from the other girls in many ways, but the biggest is that she has visions and can enter other realms (that’s pretty different if I do say so). Gemma has also been followed, by a young man, Kartik, and he tries to convince her of the danger of her visions and the realms.
The next books continue Gemma’s adventures, as she learns more and more about the realms, and herself. The experiences in the realms bind her to a few true friends, power-hungry Felicity, timid Ann, and beautiful Pippa. By the end of the trilogy Gemma learns the power of the realms, and how much strength she has as well.
I sometimes felt that these books were dragging out the story a bit too much. So much time is spent in the realms, and I began to feel it was getting repetitive. I loved the characters however; every teen girl (or woman who was once a teen) will be able to identify with one of the characters, if not parts of all of them. My favorite of the three was the second, Rebel Angels, because this story takes the reader away from the boarding school and into Victorian London, and we get to learn a little more about Gemma’s family. This was a decent teen trilogy, but when comparing it to series such as the Hunger Games, it still falls short.