This cover. (!!!)
I read this book two years ago, and then I read it a year and six months ago, and then I read it a year ago, and then I reread it last week. I swear, I notice a different quirk or something that makes me love it more every time I reread it.
But anyway, A Great and Terrible Beauty is about a girl named Gemma Doyle, who discovers she has magical powers via a vision, in which she sees her mother’s death, as it’s happening. It’s all very sad, but then she’s sent off to England–Spence Academy for Young Ladies, specifically–where she discovers a diary that belonged to Mary Dowd. With the help of Felicity, Pippa, and Ann, Gemma explores the Realms and Mary’s diary, and learns things about herself and everyone she loves. Also, Kartik, who was there when she had her first vision. Kartik is my fictional boyfriend.
This book is definitely my favorite book. I could reread this book over and over and over again, and never get bored. The characters are so dynamic and interesting–Felicity is the most interesting, but you don’t learn much about her past until the second book–and Gemma goes from a scared, confused child to a powerful young woman in the span of one book. And, of course, she still has things to figure out come the end of the book, but there’s a second book, so s’all good.
Every aspect of this book is fascinating and Libba Bray has woven this intricate tale that just reads itself, basically. I didn’t actually find out there were other books in this series until I’d done some significant research. I went on Goodreads to look at quotes, and I was really confused because I was pretty sure that, like, half of those didn’t happen in the first book.
Once I found about the others, I got them and I read them and I don’t think anyone understands the love that I have developed for this series. It is intense, you guys.
Please, please, please read this book, everyone. Five stars:
When you’re reading AGATB, listen to these songs. They remind me of the books so much: