A Great and Terrible Beauty

I’ve had this book for a long time. Long enough for me to swing from not liking to really liking to being confused by it to forgetting about it to here I am now.

I’m just not really sure how I feel about this book. Everything seems to happen really fast. I’m a huge fan of world building, so I don’t really like to be told “also there’s magic but shhhhh you won’t understand it.” Also the cover looks like a romance novel to me 

and I’m a million percent positive I got this book back in middle school, so I’m not sure how this one slipped past my mom. It’s a not a romance novel, though, mom. So don’t worry.

I really feel like I should read the rest of the series, because it’s an intriguing enough story. Gemma is an extremely human protagonist, and what I mean by this is that I’m sure as a teenager I really felt like I could relate to her. She is dealing with all these otherworldly things and yet she still has to deal with regular life and regular parts of life. She does seem to be a little too old hat with all the otherworldly-ness though.

I think maybe that’s where I’ve always fallen short of really liking this book. Magic is introduced and everyone’s reaction is just, “oh, that’s cool. can I play?”

Which, I mean, really? No way would that be how it would happen. I don’t like that the story opens and just jumps right into the fact that there is this other place of magic, and everyone is totally fine and not at all weirded out by it. Not once does anyone stop to think, “wait, is it possible I’m insane?”

I understand though. That’s a lot of extra baggage to give a book like this. I’ve always read way above my level, which is maybe why I never could really get into it. I do think this would be a great choice for people of a certain age who like this sort of story. So if you know young to mid age teenager who is sort of angst-y and likes books about England and the late 19th century and magic and possibly dangerous boys, go ahead and purchase this book as a gift. Otherwise, I think you’ll be okay without it.

Are you interested in purchasing this book? If so, and if you like Amazon and also like me maybe you’ll buy it from here!

for next week:


by Max Brooks


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