From the book jacket: 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. 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. 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.
Comment: Libba Bray's second book, following A Great and Terrible Beauty, continues the adventures of Victorian schoolgirl, Gemma Doyle, two months after the previous story ended. Gemma is able to travel between her world and the magical realm. In the last book she inadvertently unbound a great magic which is now available to any malevolent force, and now she must rebind it before the evil forces can use it to further their own dastardly schemes. Meanwhile Gemma's father has become an 'opium eater' and London is full of backstabbing females, any of which could be the evil Circe in disguise.....
The setting and the book jacket blurb give the impression that this series might be long on melodrama but this is not the case. The writing is strong, as are the characters. However, this book does not stand alone, to properly follow the storyline it would be best to start with the first volume and, those who enjoy it, will be eager for the third, The Sweet Far Thing, which is due in September 2007.
This review was originally published in September 2005, and has been updated for the January 2007 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.
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