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A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray captures all who read it. Beauty is about a young teen, Gemma, who is relentless and curious. This novel started in India, where Gemma was in the market place with her mother, once again arguing over whether or not she should be allowed to go to London for schooling. Her last words to her mother were “I don’t care if you come home at all.” Little did Gemma know, though, that her words would be true and her mother would not return home later that day. Since her mother’s death, Gemma received her wish and was sent to Spence Academy to become a lady. There the headmistress does little to make her feel welcome, and her only comfort is her roommate, Ann, who is knowledgeable and always absorbed in reading. With her and two others, she discovers a great and terrible power that Kartik, the mysterious man she met in the marketplace, tries to warn her to control.
Bray weaves a story of danger, suspense, magic, mystery, and desire. She creates the heroine, Gemma, and truly releases her eccentric and stubborn spirit. Then she adds three friends, one with brains, one with beauty, and one with leadership into this already capturing mix. These ingredients together create a most interesting story to read, impossible to put down. I would give A Great and Terrible Beauty 5 out of 5 stars. I cannot wait until the next book in the trilogy.