03 September 2016

Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

Publication: December 26, 2006
# of Pages: 576
Source: Purchased Copy 

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.

Be warned that this is the second book in a series so there may be spoilers. 

Let me start off by saying I love Libba Bray and she is an amazing writer. I have so much to say about this book so I'm going to break it down into several different categories including plot development, character development, and writing style. 

Plot Development
The plot and the setting of this book were amazing! I am a huge fan of historical fiction and I love that historical fiction elements were woven into the paranormal aspects of this book. Learning about the social customs of Victorian England was even more rewarding that I could have expected. I believe I enjoy it immensely because it is so different from what we do socially in the 21st century. For example, learning about the "coming out" process for young females into society was particularly interesting. In terms of plot, there was a major twist I definitely did not see coming. It proved that no one is to be trusted in this series. What's so funny about this plot twist is that I actually trusted the character up until the point where things took a turn for the worse. 

Writing Style
Libba Bray is a genius, a true genius when it comes to writing and it exhibits itself in this book. Bray has a way of leaving the reader wanting more. She is also able to craft her words into the most fearful images that make the readers skin crawl. She did such a wonderful job creating the world associated with Gemma Doyle. She sucks you into every single page wondering what the girls are going to do next. 

Character Development
Okay, so this is where my opinion of the book really changed. In fact, it was the characters that actually brought my overall rating of the book down. I could not, and I mean this in the nicest way possible, stand or tolerate Felicity and Ann. This of course was problematic because they play a significant role in the dynamic of the story. Felicity is so mean to everyone. Granted she has a lot going on in the background; however, there was only but so much that I could handle. Ann on the other hand is too naive and desires to fit in to the point that it becomes pathetic. With these traits it was rather difficult for me to see how they could ever save the realms. I even began to get annoyed with Gemma's behavior at some point. I didn't like the way she treated Kartik. Yes he didn't handle things in the most appropriate manner; however, I definitely preferred him over Simon who seemed extremely shallow. 

I think I do like the series I just hope that the characters develop more. If you're looking for a historical fiction novel with paranormal elements then I would recommend this series. 


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