Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rebel Angels by Libba Bray


Rebel Angels by Libba Bray is the follow-up to A Great And Terrible Beauty. Gemma Doyle and her friends, Felicity and Ann, are preparing to leave Spence Academy to spend the Christmas holiday in London with their families. This is a welcome relief for Gemma, who in the last few months, has discovered that her recently murdered mother had a secret identity, lost a good friend to suicide, and watched her father slide into addiction. Oh, and she also has the ability to open the door to the realms where magic is real and can be used to make wishes come true. It is also where the spirits of the dead gather before they cross over.

Gemma's hopes for a happy holiday quickly evaporate when she discovers that the magic is loose in the realms and is threatening to seep into her world. There is also the bittersweet discovery that her friend, Pippa, has not crossed over and is still in the realms. Although Pippa looks no different to her friends, they are worried that she will be corrupted by the dark spirits the longer she lingers in the realms. Gemma is the only one who can bind the magic. Several factions seek to manipulate her into binding the magic in their favor including her greatest enemy, Circe, and Kartik, the mysterious young man who brings out the teen angst in Gemma. To further complicate things, she has to accomplish this without her family discovering her secret.

As much as I loved the first book in this series, it pales in comparison to this one. The action and suspense is almost non-stop. Just when I thought I had things figured out... oops. There is also a very welcome wrinkle added in the form of one Simon Middleton who finds Gemma intriguing. He's both a gentleman and the bad boy all rolled into one. We wouldn't want to make things too easy on poor Kartik.

BEST FEATURE: The Who-Is-Circe Game. Sharp readers will catch a clue that will give you a second suspect to go with the obvious one which will keep you stumped over Circe's true identity until the climax of the book.

WORST FEATURE: The confusion over whether the girls enter the realms with their physical bodies or just with their minds. The implication in this book is that they physically enter the realms. There has been mention of them wearing the same clothing in the realms as they were wearing in the real world and they have brought at least one object out of the realms with them. However, the injuries they sustain do not carry over into the real world and when Pippa chose to stay in the realms, she died in real life and was buried. I could use some clarification on this.

PARENTAL WARNING: minor violence and sexual content; appropriate for teens

MY RATING: 5 - The faster pace pushed this one into the must-read category.

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