Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rebel Angels

Don't read this unless you've already read A Great and Terrible Beauty.

Bray, Libba. Rebel Angels. New York: Delacourte Press, 2005.
[Book cover credit:]

ALA Best Books for Young Adults (2006)

Everything is wonderfully different now: Ms. Moore's replacement, Miss McCleethy, is teaching archery at Spence, much to Felicity's delight; Pippa lives on peacefully in the realms, where the magic is loose; and it's Christmas! Not everything is perfect, however. Miss McCleethy puts Gemma, who is sure the new teacher has some connection to Circe, on edge. Kartik has orders to make Gemma re-bind the magic of the realms so that it doesn't fall into the wrong hands. Ann, who is allowed to return home with Felicity, falls hopelessly in love with Tom, Gemma's brother, who will never fancy a girl without a fortune. And, of course, Gemma is being plagued by new visions of three ghostly girls in white. With woes outweighing joys, Christmas break begins and all head to London where they find their biggest problem: a young girl at Bedlam mental hospital, where Tom works, who is under the illusion that a magical society called The Order is after her to restore their powers in some place called the realms.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Great and Terrible Beauty

Bray, Libba. A Great and Terrible Beauty. New York: Delacourte Press, 2003.
[Book cover credit:]

New York Times Bestseller, Children's Chapter (2003)
ALA Best Books for Young Adults (2004)
Teens Top Ten (2004)

During the Victorian Age in England, young women, like the ones attending the Spence Academy finishing school, did not have much freedom. Ann, Spence's charity case, is only their so she may be a knowledgeable governess some day. Felicity has been all but abandoned by her parents at Spence. Pippa's parents are preparing to marry her off to the highest bidder. For these young women, nothing would seem more intoxicating that a legend about a society of women who control a world of magic, magic that they can use in this world to gain independence and power. For Gemma, who has been having visions since her mother's death, this is no legend bur a frightening reality. When she takes her friends into the realms with her and lets them to taste the magic will they all succumb to their fates or succumb to the magic of the realms, hoping to wield its powers? Or will they go against everything they have been taught and forge a third choice of their own.

Also, even though this has little to no bearing on the rest of the plot, how can you not love a book about a magical society in the Victorian Era that has the balls to make fun of and disprove Victorian Mysticism?