Libba Bray is someone I both hate and love. It’s very difficult to admire someone while simultaneously wishing they would fall off a cliff. Her words are like a punch in the face. She writes beautifully and dangerously, and when you pick up A Great and Terrible Beauty you will find yourself signed on for a three-book ride that will leave your mind thoroughly fucked.
A Great and Terrible Beauty follows Gemma Doyle, a girl who lives in Victorian England, as she faces the brutal and freakish murder of her mother, and all the insane shit that follows. She transfers to a new school, makes a few enemies – Pippa and Felicity – and then makes a few friends – Pippa, Felicity, and Ann. Oh, and she has visions. Not only that, but she discovers a way to enter a magical realm where a mere thought can change the fabric of reality. The problem is that Gemma and her friends become somewhat addicted to the magic they find there, and that, coupled with the visions, is really more than Gemma can handle. So of course she also begins to dredge up secrets about the past – her mom’s past – that make her rethink entering that secret, magical realm with her friends. I won’t ruin it for you, so let’s just say there’s evil afoot. Once you finish that section of the journey, which I did in one sitting despite the fact that the book is thicker than my arm, you have two more to keep you entertained! It’s inevitable that you will pick up book two, Rebel Angels and book three, The Sweet Far Thing. And that’s good. Go for it. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
– Rebecca Leviton