Gemma Doyle's mother dies under suspicious circumstances in India, and with her father slowly falling apart, her family decides to enroll her in a girl's school in England. The school's purpose is to groom its upper class girls for successful marriages and the lower class girls to become governesses, but it harbors dark secrets surrounding its past students and faculty. Gemma knows all about secrets since she has a few of her own. She has been having visions ever since the day her mother died. As Gemma struggles to try to fit in with the other girls and understand the purpose of her visions, she forms a strange bond with three fellow students. Their discovery of the school's secrets will lead them down a path of self-discovery and tragedy that will change their lives forever.
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray is a classic waiting to happen. It's a unique mash-up of Twilight and Harry Potter that takes place in Victorian England. Sounds like a crazy combination, right? Wrong. The supernatural elements in the book are interesting, but unnecessary. What will really grab your attention is the relationship between Gemma and her three friends. Given the inital descriptions of these girls, you would think they have nothing in common, and yet they become close friends. As the story progresses, you discover that the common link between the girls is their powerlessness to control their fate. It sucks to be a girl in the Victorian Age. The frustrations and sadness that the girls experience as they cope with their dysfunctional families and attempt to fight their fate are so genuine that I felt like I was the one drowning under the weight of their desperation. The best part... there are two more books that pick up where this one left off. Yeah!
BEST FEATURE: The opening chapter where Gemma's mother dies. The mother's death isn't half as devastating as what turned out to be Gemma's last words to her mother. Wow.
WORST FEATURE: The pacing. The story builds so slowly that things really start dragging in the mid-section. Of course, several classics I was forced to read in literature class were guilty of the same charge and still live on.
PARENTAL WARNING: minor violence and sexual content; appropriate for teens
MY RATING: 4.5 - So close, but not quite. When my daughter comes of age, this is going on her reading list.
car – yph [kair-if] – A woman with supernatural abilities created to maintain the balance between good and evil. Regan Thompson was a normal college student with dreams of becoming a doctor. In one night, everything she cared about was wrenched away from her and she discovered that she was a caryph, and the inevitable target of a formidably powerful demon that is rising up against humanity. With the help of a secret society known as the Order of the Caryph, Regan will have to learn how to master her supernatural abilities in order to defend herself as well as mankind. An inexperienced college student, Regan will find friendship, love and confidence during her evolution into something entirely different. But an unexpected betrayal will raise the question, how do you fight someone who knows more about you than you do?
Author Lynn Moyle lives in Des Moines with her husband and two children. She is an avid reader as well as a writer, and has wanted to be an author since she was a child. She is currently working on the next installment of the Legend of the Caryph series, which will continue the story of Regan and the magical world she finds herself immersed in.