I'm just going to admit straight off that the Gemma Doyle trilogy is not bad at all. No matter how many scathing reviews are out there, you must ignore them. No matter how reluctant you are, you have to at least attempt reading this trilogy. 4 out of 5 stars.
Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
4 out of 5 stars
Out and out of this world
Summary from Goodreads: Ah, Christmas! Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Academy, spending time with her friends in the city, attending ritzy balls, and on a somber note, tending to her ailing father. As she prepares to ring in the New Year, 1896, a handsome young man, Lord Denby, has set his sights on Gemma, or so it seems. Yet amidst the distractions of London, Gemma’s visions intensify–visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened, something only the realms can explain. . . .
The lure is strong, and before long, Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are turning flowers into butterflies in the enchanted world of the realms that Gemma alone can bring them to. To the girls’ great joy, their beloved Pippa is there as well, eager to complete their circle of friendship.
But all is not well in the realms–or out. The mysterious Kartik has reappeared, telling Gemma she must find the Temple and bind the magic, else great disaster will befall her. Gemma’s willing to do his intrusive bidding, despite the dangers it brings, for it means she will meet up with her mother’s greatest friend–and now her foe, Circe. Until Circe is destroyed, Gemma cannot live out her destiny. But finding Circe proves a most perilous task.
This is the second book in the Gemma Doyle series, and I have to say it's a lot better than the first. Gemma herself has developed a lot since A Great and Terrible Beauty. She's no longer in the petty situations she was once in. She doesn't think the realms are safe anymore. She knows the risks. I like the new Gemma. Sure she still is very sharp-tongued and headstrong, but she knows to be afraid as well.
The rich, elegant writing of Libba Bray has not changed though. She still has the ability to describe everything to be described without boring the reader, leaving a very easy image to visualize. I love the fact that the flowers in her writing are not annoying! It's the first case of that so far! Let Libba's style sweep you away!
In the first book, the whole Order thing gets kind of confusing. However, in Rebel Angels, Libba delves deeper into it, clearing up most of the issues. She does a pretty good job with that and with the rest of the plot. One thing to say: you find out who Circe is. And to be honest, I was not expecting her. It literally blew my socks off! So many twists, turns and surprises. Such a great plot.
Then there's the whole social aspect of it all. You have to remember that Gemma is fairly well off. So she absolutely must be aware of all the cliques and gossip going on. I thought Libba did quite a good job with it. It seemed quite believable, to tell you the truth. The scandals, the events, the suspense of it all! Waiting to eat you up...
Okay, so maybe I'm overdoing it...