Saturday, August 13, 2011

Book Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

A Great and Terrible Beauty
by Libba Bray
Five-star Rating


1895: after seeing her first vision of how her mother dies, Gemma Doyle goes back to Spence to enroll in a proper boarding school in England. Many have changed during the death of her mother, not just her school but also her father… and her frequent having of weird visions.

Gemma in Spence has a hard life at first but with her gladiatorial attitude, she stands to turn her enemies to new friends. And as her new friends try to discover more what’s behind the group called The Order and the death of two mysterious girls who were burned in school, even it’s highly forbidden, they starting to unleash the secrets behind the curtain of mysteries.

A very much thanks to my ever book sponsor Kwesi for letting my hands get on this book. I wouldn’t have the chance to read this if it were not for him. A credit to you, kid!

First strike for first ten pages: I could have considered this book (which is my first time to read a Bray’s book) as one of many that have been influenced by unworthy popularity of some dark novels. However, checking the publishing date, it opposed that understatement.
Many have actually asked me: Why do you hate romances in a novel? But is it really the question to ask? Do I really hate romance in a story? Well, to end it up, I say it depends. There are books that, I called, have lost genre, especially the paranormal books. Why lost genre? Authors nowadays try to insert their stories with romances which, unfortunately, end up dominating the whole story over the showcased genre. However, it would be understandable if the target market of a certain book is girls. But exaggerated declaration of love? Such a vomiting crap! Before I end up discussing irrelevant ideas, let’s connect what I discussed above with this book. Libba Bray has proven one thing: Don’t generalize the paranormal books for having cheesy romances. And that fact pushes me forward to read the second book of this series. Or is it because dark books before the publishing date haven’t been influenced yet by sticky romances?

I don’t want to break the rating I gave in this book but it is quite normal for a book for having flaws. The first few chapters were really confusing. I was really sad at how the main character had the unexplainable power without any clue of whether she was a witch or a what. And imagine, the mystery lasted past halfway through. Quite slow, isn’t it? And one of the most disappointing things is that the main character showed no interest on knowing what she was or the origin of her power.

Let’s get back to the positive things about this book. The last half makes up for the loss of the first half. I, myself, had decided to give this book with only one star but take a look at how my rating ended. With its flaws? Quite impossible if I were to compare this book from the other books I’ve read before. I very much admit that I’m easily being fed up with eye-bulging twists. Oh yes, to confirm what you’re thinking this book has an extraordinary twist that indeed filled my hunger. The concept is original if I were to ask. I can’t compare it actually to anybody’s book. The ending isn’t exactly as perfect as an ideal book should be but it is enough for a reader to have a logical leap to read the next book.

I can’t promise that all of the reader will actually like this. But there’s always no harm on giving a try.