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Gemma Doyle #2

Rebel Angels

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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.

548 pages, Paperback

First published December 26, 2004

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About the author

Libba Bray

48 books15.1k followers
What is it about writing an author bio that gives me that deer-in-headlights feeling? It's not exactly like I'm going to say "I was born in Alabama…" and somebody's going to jump up and snarl, "Oh yeah? Prove it!" At least I hope not.

I think what gets me feeling itchy is all that emphasis on the facts of a life, while all the juicy, relevant, human oddity stuff gets left on the cutting room floor. I could tell you the facts–I lived in Texas for most of my life; I live in New York City with my husband and six-year-old son now; I have freckles and a lopsided smile; I'm allergic to penicillin.

But that doesn't really give you much insight into me. That doesn't tell you that I stuck a bead up my nose while watching TV when I was four and thought I'd have to go to the ER and have it cut out. Or that I once sang a punk version of "Que Sera Sera" onstage in New York City. Or that I made everyone call me "Bert" in ninth grade for no reason that I can think of. See what I mean?

God is in the details. So with that in mind, here is my bio. Sort of.


1. I lived in Texas until I was 26 years old, then I moved to New York City with $600.00 in my shoe ('cause muggers won't take it out of your shoe, y'know . . . riiiiight . . .) and a punchbowl (my grandmother's gift) under my arm. I ended up using the punchbowl box as an end table for two years.

2. My dad was a Presbyterian minister. Yes, I am one of those dreaded P.K.s–Preacher's Kids. Be afraid. Be very afraid . . .

3. The first story I ever wrote, in Mrs. McBee's 6th grade English class, was about a girl whose family is kidnapped and held hostage by a murderous lot of bank robbers who intend to kill the whole family–including the dog–until the 12-year-old heroine foils the plot and saves the day. It included colored pencil illustrations of manly-looking, bearded criminals smoking, and, oblivious to the fact that The Beatles had already sort of laid claim to the title, I called my novel, HELP. My mom still has a copy. And when I do something she doesn't like, she threatens to find it.

4. My favorite word is "redemption." I like both its meaning and the sound. My least favorite word is "maybe." "Maybe" is almost always a "no" drawn out in cruel fashion.

5. My three worst habits are overeating, self-doubt, and the frequent use of the "f" word.

6. The three things I like best about myself are my sense of humor, my ability to listen, and my imagination.

7. I have an artificial left eye. I lost my real eye in a car accident when I was eighteen. In fact, I had to have my entire face rebuilt because I smashed it up pretty good. It took six years and thirteen surgeries. However, I did have the pleasure of freezing a plastic eyeball in an ice cube, putting it in a friend's drink, ("Eyeball in your highball?") and watching him freak completely. Okay, so maybe that's not going down on my good karma record. But it sure was fun.

8. In 7th grade, my three best friends and I dressed up as KISS and walked around our neighborhood on Halloween. Man, we were such dorks.

9. I once spent New Year's Eve in a wetsuit. I'd gone to the party in a black dress that was a little too tight (too many holiday cookies) and when I went to sit down, the dress ripped up the back completely. Can we all say, mortified? The problem was, my friends were moving out of their house–everything was packed and on a truck–and there was nothing I could put on . . . but a wetsuit that they still had tacked to the wall. I spent the rest of the party maneuvering through throngs of people feeling like a giant squid.

10. I got married in Florence, Italy. My husband and I were in love but totally broke, so we eloped and got married in Italy, where he was going on a business trip. We had to pull a guy off the street to be our witness. It was incredibly romantic.

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5 stars
40,119 (36%)
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22,119 (20%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,507 reviews
Profile Image for Maddie Dix.
13 reviews3 followers
March 23, 2008
Profile Image for Beth F.
354 reviews339 followers
March 17, 2009
So I emailed a friend today and explained that the only way I could think of to describe this series was to imagine tossing Mean Girls & The Craft (both of the cheesy teen movie persuasion) into a blender with the whole Harry Potter English boarding school concept just to see what comes out. And what results is an addicting, fast-paced story that is difficult to put down.

I’m actually a bit shocked by how engrossing this story has become. Libba Bray wields literary red herrings quite masterfully and I was guessing (and gasping) right up until the very end.
Profile Image for Wren (fablesandwren).
675 reviews1,506 followers
September 17, 2020
I need everyone to read this series. It touches on so many topics and it’s just such a pretty tale.

There will be spoilers from the first book, but no spoilers for this current book.

One of the four has passed away from the real world. Felicity, Ann and Gemma are all dealing with the death of their dear friend Pippa in their own ways. Mostly everyone blames Gemma, including Gemma herself, even though no one forced Pippa to eat from the realms.

They have not been back from the realms since. Stage right: Enter Indian boy Katrik who is basically-in-but-not fully in the Rakshana and most definetly has feelings for strong-headed, red-headed, hot-headed Gemma. Back to the point, he tells her that she must go back and bind the magic she let loose in the realms before someone with not-such-great intentions uses it.

So when the girls go back they [this is not a spoiler, it is in the description of the book] are beyond excited to see that Pippa is still there and as beautiful as ever. It is only Gemma, though, that notices the hunger in her eyes when no one else is looking or the strange way she talks about certain topics. Her mother told her that a spirit must cross over or else it will become corrupted... but certainly not their Pippa....

The character growth is a little stagnant, but the learning the background of a character is very active. You learn more about why Felicity has to be in control at all times. You learn more about Ann being absolutely stuck where she is in her social status and how little she can do about it. You see how Pippa feels left out of everything and even less accepted by her dear friend Felicity (you’ll learn more about them in the last book). You see the struggle Katrik has with decision involving his dear club Rakshana and his wanted-beloved Gemma.

I love the idea of this whole magic system. They even hint that other worlds are connect to the realms. So all the creatures that you see in the realms are from different worlds. It kind of reminds me of the place between the world in The Chronicles of Narnia series.

Not to mention Gemma gets attention from a rich suitor of her own..
Side note: People believe that there was an almost-rape in this and I could see how that was gathered. Know there is nothing that triggered (for me at least) and nothing graphic and nothing that actually happened.

And Circe comes to light and it will make your jaw just drop

I love this series so much. I have since I was in grade school. It has helped me through a lot and has enlightened me on my own passion of writing. I say give this a shot, but it isn’t for everyone. If you like time-pieces, undefined magic, school-girl drama, forbidden romance and tragedies... this book is right up your alley.

..and beware you will cry at the end of the trilogy.


RTC. I am not sure how people don't cry at the end of all three of these books. I love them so much.


Reread 1243: still cry from the first chapters. I love this series. I don't know why more people aren't obsessed with it.
Profile Image for Trina (Between Chapters).
872 reviews3,754 followers
August 28, 2017
Series review video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2qPN...

Edit: It's only a few weeks since I read this but I have since finished the series and am lowering my rating of this book from 2 stars to 1 star because the things I found to be problematic were never redeemed and I cannot overlook them.

Original review:
There were more things I didn't like than I liked, which causes it to fall just below a middle of the road rating.

TL;DR - Predictable, run of the mill historical fiction with occasional magical elements and fat shaming, and mishandled self harm and sexual assault. But yep, I'm gonna finish the series because I'm addicted to audiobooks.

Let's start with the good:
-Gemma is a delightful character. Her naivety is fitting of the time period, but she also has a healthy dose of spunk which keeps her connected with modern readers.

-This book tries to tackle racism and feminism in the historic setting. They are kind of lightly treated due to the time period, but still present and at times some wonderful points are made.

-For 2005, this series was probably really great.*

And now the bad:
-*If I'd read this when it was published I probably would have enjoyed it quite a bit, but I don't think that the suspense of the plot or the magical elements stand up to other books in this genre today.

-It definitely does nothing to set itself apart from any run of the mill historical romance. Yes, there's a fantasy element here, but when Gemma was in the real world just living her life (like 70% of the book) this felt like any duke + debutante fiction. I read approximately 896,437 historical romance novels when I was younger and the reason I don't read those anymore is because after reading that many they are all SO predictable. This book was no exception to that.

-In terms of the fantasy element and the mystery of the plot, too much time was spent pointing fingers and not actually acting on leads, but going to dances instead. For almost 600 pages Gemma thinks she has everything all figured out (she doesn't) so she does very little, causing the plot to creep by at a snail's pace. But hey, at least there is a lot of shopping and kissing and FAT SHAMING Ann to pass the time!

-Gemma constantly ignores all the good advice she's given, and ignores her gut instincts to go do something COMPLETELY STUPID.
Every other character: "Gemma, don't stray off the path."
Gemma: "I know I shouldn't stray off the path and my gut twists, but wow that patch of woods looks ever so inviting so tralala!"
Gemma & friends: "Well this was a terrible idea and now we're all going to die."
Repeat 4 times.

It was infuriating to read about these girls constantly being warned about the magic but instead of trying to do anything about it, they just want to play around, go for picnics in the realms and use the magic to be beautiful.

And lastly, let's talk about the truly problematic:
-The treatment of the character Ann was absolutely appalling in both how her friends treat her and how she is written. Ann is poor, overweight, and ugly. The 3 cardinal sins in London society. (Oh, the horror!) She spends just about every moment of her time on the page bemoaning the fact that she isn't beautiful. AND SO DO HER FRIENDS. Gemma is much kinder to Ann than Felicity is, but even Gemma isn't immune to taking jabs at Ann. Felicity frequently makes comments about how Ann eats too much, even though Gemma gets away with wanting an extra dessert because her figure is thinner. The worst for me was a scene where Ann was insulting herself and Felicity tells her to stop doing that to herself because how is anyone else ever going to accept Ann if she can't accept herself? But then Felicity is back to dogging on Ann's weight and looks in the next scene. Good lord if I have to hear one more time about how the waist of that dress needed to be let out 500 miles I will strangle this fictional b****.

And the problem is, Ann is written to deserve this. Every ounce of her dialogue oozes with stupidity. (And let's not even talk about the voice acting in the audiobook. Sigh.) She's always the last to catch on. Because of course, on top of being ugly, she has to be stupid too and therefore the reader is supposed to roll their eyes, look down on her, and believe she deserves this treatment. Because haha, fat ol Ann is always ruining things.

-Now let's discuss Ann's self harm. (This isn't relevant to the plot, so I don't consider it a spoiler.) In book 1, Gemma discovers that Ann cuts her arms. She has explicitly said that she does this because of the way she's treated by everyone, but after she joins the friend group we're led to believe Ann is "fixed." Well now in book 2, Gemma discovers Ann has been cutting herself again, even though she currently seemed happy and had everything going for her. Gemma says "promise me you'll stop that." And Ann halfheartedly promises. Her cutting is never brought up again.

The problem here is that TWICE it is assumed that Ann is magically "fixed." First by gaining friends, and then by this promise. Gemma never again checks in with Ann, and never does anything to prevent the bullying that Ann has explicitly said is a trigger for her. This is brushed aside and seems present only to give us all yet another reason to go "poor pitiful Ann, look how damaged she is." (Note: I do not think self harm equals being damaged, I am saying this is how the book presents it, and this portrayal is why I'm taking issue.)

-And finally. Are we just never going to talk about how Gemma was sexually assaulted? She is drunk, verbally saying "No... I want to go home," and internally distressed while her boyfriend kisses and undresses her. He does not stop until she has a vision in the middle of this, screams, and passes out. And the next day everything is fine between them. Cool.

Maybe this is a product of it's time. There wasn't as much light shined on sexual assault 10+ years ago when this was written, but that doesn't excuse it. Reading this made me uncomfortable and angry.

Am I going to read the final book?
Yes, because I'm holding out for Ann to RISE FROM ASHES AND PROVE THEM ALL WRONG. Or murder everyone. Either, or.
Profile Image for Jenny.
11 reviews
July 23, 2008
I love this book. I love the entire series. I found them first in seventh grade, but the third one hadn't come out yet. I was scanning my middle school library's shelves, when I noticed an interesting cover near one of my favorite book series. I read the back and I thought the plot was interesting. So I decided to give it a chance and read it. I thought they were great. I mean, I really didn't consider them as some of my favorite books. Eventually, I went on with my life and sort of forgot about them. Then two years later I was on the Barnes and Noble website looking for random book's prices because I needed them for a project. Then I noticed The Sweet Far Thing. The third one to the series. After a few months my birthday came up and that's one of the things I asked for. I got it, along with a few other books. I read some of those books first. Then I got to TSFT. I could not put it down. I read for two or three days. On the last one I skipped a dance to finish it. Although, my friends were a little upset about that. I didn't care. I finished it that night and I loved it. The ending made me bawl and bawl. I was so upset. It was worth reading though. It actually led me to Goodreads too. I was searching something I HAD to know right after I finished it and I joined Goodreads in my quest to find it. I met Emma :) and she explained it to me. I love this book series. It touched me in away no book ever has. I love it with all my heart and you should read it. They are now my favorite books
Profile Image for Moira.
512 reviews25 followers
March 1, 2013
I loved the GR reviewer's crack that this series was like a mashup of The Craft + Mean Girls in Harry Potter. My take on it just as I was settling into the second book was "Picnic at Hanging Rock on acid." In this one, the Magickal Rules are still just about as bad as the Magickal Geography, there are several entirely unbelievable visits to Bedlam, an OPIUM DEN, a suitor offering absinthe at a ball....you get the idea. But the adolescent female characters are all well-drawn and I love how their major relationships are with each other, and how the power dynamics in each relationship shift and change, sometimes from day to day. Libba Bray can certainly write well, at times, at the sentence-style level, altho my god SHE NEEDS AN EDITOR. And, as someone else pointed out, a Britpicker. And serious help with plotting. If you love that kind of thought-out-to-the-last-detail intricate puzzle-plotting JK Rowling sells, this is just going to make you frustrated. This series depends much more on atmosphere and language, which is fitting, as its main theme is illusion.

More serious unhappiness with this book can only be expressed with big juicy SPOILERS:

Also: PHONETIC MOCKNEY. I swear to God, if I could break the little finger of every writer who has inflicted Phonetic Mockney on defenseless characters and readers both, I would so fucking do it. In a heartbeat. And a Lovably Klutzy heroine. As someone who is klutzy, and not lovably so (ask me how often I've sprained my ankles. Go on, just ask me), this is just about as tiresome as the third spoiler above. -- I do love how brave Gemma is, and how completely loyal she is to her friends, and how this isn't clunkingly emphasized: it's just how she is. She has real flaws, but they're treated the same way (except for the klutziness. And the copper curls. And the sea-green eyes. And being oh, woe, too tall and too thin for Victorian standards of beauty. MARY SUE ALERT).

(This is also the kind of thing that gets me the Heartless Bitch rep, but....if you have a tiny, doomed Victorian girlchild-heroine, it is really best not to name her Nell.)

(I did really love the gorgon. Can we have a book about the gorgon? Or at least one of her stories?)

In short, I'm going to read the third one (probably tonight!), but between its crushing density and the pretty much uniform bad reviews I'm rather wary of it.

*Truly. It is spelled out.
Profile Image for Pip.
172 reviews464 followers
May 21, 2020
Re-read 2020: this is one of the most perfect books ever written. Thank you. Goodnight.

ALSO I don't mean to be rude but why on earth has this series not been made into a Netflix film/series???? The audacity
Profile Image for Pinky.
514 reviews430 followers
January 2, 2016
I was really scared of how this book would turn out because I loved the first book in the series. And I didn't want any of the characters to die or anything. But I had to pick this book up because I wanted to know what happens next. And I am so glad that I picked it up.

“Sometimes we seek that which we are not yet ready to find.”

This book continues off after A Great and Terrible Beauty, it is the second book in the series. If you haven't heard about it, it's pretty much about a girl named Gemma who moves from India after a terrible incident. She goes back to London and joins a school called Spence which is an academy for girls. After the terrible incident in India, Gemma has been having weird visions and Spence is a school with a lot of mysteries. She feels as though everything is connected and wants to find answers to all her questions. Follow bold Gemma who fights through her emotions to get to where she wants to be.

“And for a moment, I understand that I have friends on this lonely path; that sometimes your place is not something you find, but something you have when you need it.”

The pace was much faster in this book compared to the first book in my opinion. I felt like it is close to fast pace but not fast pace. I don't know, I am weird okay. Anyway the writing was really nice and we follow the story in a smooth manner. It was nice to have many different settings and there was so much more adventure in this book. I loved how there was a prologue at the beginning of the book that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.

“Do you think they missed him terribly when he fell? Did God cry over his lost angel, I wonder?”

The characters were better than the first book, you can see that MOST of them had grown. I felt like Felicity was the exact same, whiny, annoying and jealous character that she always was. I don't understand why you would be friends with someone who is like her. Ann is starting to get on my nerves too, she doesn't want to work towards her goals, he wants a prince to save her from her misery. LIKE NO! YOU HAVE TO WORK HARD, YOU ARE NOT CINDERELLA! Simon was nice but I wasn't a huge fan of him, he kinda creeps me out. I don't know why, but I just didn't really like him. Gemma was much stronger in this book but she treated Kartik like trash. I felt so bad for Kartik and he is super nice, we learn more about him in this book. But when Gemme treated him so horribly I was so shocked.


When I was reading, I started talking to myself and I am like there might be a major plot twist but everything leads up to one character. So it must be a character that we like but who would that be. And when the plot twist hits me, I was surprised because I was wrong and my predictions and I was glad that I was wrong.

Me when the plot twist hit me:

“All things are possible.”

I highly recommend this book if you have already read the first book in the series, it was really good. You won't regret it, there is much more adventure in this book and also a little bit of mystery. It was a book that built up the suspense and I enjoyed it. I can't wait to pick up the next book in this series and see where the story takes me next! :)
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,404 reviews11.7k followers
December 3, 2009
I enjoyed "Rebel Angels" just as much as I did its predecessor - "A Great and Terrible Beauty."

In this book Bray continues exploring constraints of Victorian society, and their suffocating effects on young women's lives. This time we go beyond the borders of the finishing school - Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are in London for their Christmas holidays. We accompany them to opera, ball, and various social events. To add to already dark Gothic atmosphere of the story, we visit an insane asylum and an opium den - both creepy and exciting adventures. There is also a greater emphasis on romance element - Gemma has a new suitor of high stature and wealth, but, of course, things are complicated by Kartik's presence. Another great quality of Bray's storytelling is her ability to introduce modern dark themes into the old-fashioned setting. I am not sure if Victorian girls were really that well aware of matters of drugs, sex, and child molesting, but these elements are weaved into the story very skillfully.

In spite of the many enjoyable elements of book, there were some that are quite bothersome. For one, the friendship between the girls seems not to be a friendship at all. Rather, it's a sick, very often destructive relationship, in which Felicity always gets what she wants, Ann sides with the strongest in any argument, and Gemma acts against her better judgment under pressure from her so-called friends. Another thing, while the world of Realms is very imaginative, it's getting more and more complex, with numerous new supernatural players, whose motivations are very often hard to follow. And finally, I am yet to understand the appeal of both Realms and magic. Gemma powers don't really help her in any way in real life, as for magic in the Realms, girls still do not go beyond making themselves pretty and conjuring gems out of leaves.

Hopefully, these aspects of the story will be explored better in the final chapter of this quite enchanting trilogy.

Reading challenge: #14 - 2 of 4
Profile Image for Kassidy.
340 reviews11k followers
January 13, 2013
Loved it!! *4.5*

At first I was kind of on the fence about it, but the last 100 pages were awesome, and totally captivated me.

-The depth of the relationships between Gemma, Felicity, and Ann. I enjoyed seeing Felicity grow and show a more vulnerable side.
-The change in Gemma. I felt she really matured and stepped up to the plate in the end and I feel more connected to her than I did in the first book.
-The love interests. Now she has Simon and Kartik. I went back and forth on who I was rooting for, but I think in the end I have to go with Kartik =]
-The mystery and thriller aspects!! The twists surprised me and I definitely could not predict how it was going to end. It definitely got creepy at some parts and I loved all the new creatures introduced.
-The focus on Gemma's life outside of the realms. Her relationships with her father and brother were great. I love Historical Fiction and this book had a lot more of those elements, especially with the setting being in London. It gave a fresh and exciting environment.

Why I didn't give it 5 stars:
I just felt that I got a little bored in the beginning-middle. I can't quite say what it was, but I was not enthralled with it. I loved certain aspects but as a whole, I just was not thoroughly into it. The huge plot twist really threw me back into the story and the ending was fantastic!
Profile Image for lauren kammerdiener.
506 reviews232 followers
January 28, 2018
Rebel Angels did a lot more for me than its precursor, A Great and Terrible Beauty. This I'm mainly going to attribute to the London setting, which I loved probably too much.
Bray's Victorian London was dark and interesting, and you got to see a lot of it, which I really appreciated. Her London society, however, I found a little wobbly and lacking at certain points, but it still gave the story an enjoyable twist.

One thing I do like about this series is that it addresses certain issues that are never really touched on in other books in this genre: Ann's cutting, the racial problem with Kartik and other Indians during this period in British history (I really like that the primary love interest in this series isn't another obnoxious white boy), the I think it's important to remember that these issues aren't just relevant to contemporary novels, but that they affect people from all time periods and all cultures.

But all positivity aside, my God, these characters are pretentious.

Sometimes I love them and their sweet little friendship, but a lot of the time I want to smack them for being so, well, schoolgirlish. I can see Bray trying to develop their characters and make them rounded, but it's not working. Strong, fluid characters are really important to me, and this series doesn't really have a lot of them.

The plot, too. I mentioned this in my G&TB review, but it's just so lacking. The mystery of the whole Temple thing made this book a little more bearable than last book's silly schoolgirl antics, but I feel like Gemma barely even tried to find it until the last like seventy-five pages.
Also, every freaking time they went into the realms, I found myself skimming ahead to get back to the fun social life in London things. If you can't make the reader care about the central plot, you're doing something wrong.
The entire setting of the realms also felt very weak and undeveloped to me. I had a hard time envisioning it beyond a dilapidated courtyard.

As I did with the last book, I'm giving this four stars, but once again I feel like that's a little high. Damn Goodreads and their lack of half-star ratings.
Profile Image for Emma  Blue.
46 reviews83 followers
February 13, 2009
I can't decide which book is better. Ah but the second is great. Gemma has the same fire, the character development is as good as it was in the first. New characters are dark. My favorite newie? Nell Hawkins. Oh and my thoughts on Simon Middleton, handsome, but I'm still praying for a romantic relationship between Gemma and Kartik, more fire, tension, and mystery, who can't love that? All I can say is that Felicity's, Gemma's and Ann's journey for the temple is a great one. As good as the first, with a darker edge. And I need to get my hands on The Sweet Far Thing IMMEDIATELY!!!!!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ludodreamer.
289 reviews354 followers
February 16, 2021
5 stelline e oltre.
Libba Bray ancora una volta si riconferma un genio e io amo tutto ciò che scrive.
Angeli Ribelli è il degno sequel del primo volume, e ha soddisfatto tutte le mie aspettative.
Di seguito, i motivi che mi hanno fatto amare questo libro:
1) Il sistema magico viene approfondito, poiché esploriamo altre parti dei regni ed è stato fantastico. Durante la lettura di Una grande e terribile bellezza, avevo sottolineato che l'aspetto fantasy fosse un po' abbozzato. Invece, qui Libba Bray lo rende più tangibile, presentandoci altri personaggi e svelandoci informazioni sulla storia passata. Inoltre, è presente l'elemento della profezia, che io apprezzo sempre tantissimo.
2) Il mistero che mi ha sconvolta, perché i miei sospetti erano del tutto sbagliati. L'autrice nelle sue storie è abilissima nel costruire la parte mistery, in quanto segui l'indagine tramite gli occhi dei personaggi, ma riesci anche a fare delle tue teorie. Ecco, qui non avevo capito proprio nulla!
3) Siamo a Londra durante il periodo natalizio, e in una delle mie moltissime visite era proprio la stagione festiva, quindi è stato meraviglioso immaginare la città addobbata. Ho un legame speciale con Londra, e visitarla anche solo con la fantasia, visto il periodo che stiamo vivendo, mi fa sentire meglio.
4) I personaggi maturano e sono maggiormente caratterizzati. La crescita di Gemma mi ha colpita, perché ha preso molte decisioni difficili per la sua giovane età. Nonostante all'inizio non apprezzassi chissà quanto Felicity e Ann, questo sequel mi ha permesso di empatizzare con loro.
Mi ha fatto piacere conoscere meglio il personaggio di Kartik, che invece aveva un ruolo marginale nel primo libro. Sono stati approfonditi anche l'Ordine e il Rashkana, e quelle parti le ho trovate molto interessanti.
5) La ship tra Gemma e Kartik è ufficialmente salpata e spero siano endgame. Credo che Kartik capirà sempre una parte di Gemma che la società inglese non è in grado di accettare, mentre Gemma con Kartik riesce ad essere se stessa senza filtri. Nonostante l'inizio un po' brusco, penso che adesso siano entrambi sulla stessa lunghezza d'onda.
Per tutte queste motivazioni, si nota una maturazione nella scrittura di Libba Bray, perché rispetto al primo volume, c'è una maggiore consapevolezza nella costruzione della storia.
Angeli Ribelli non soffre assolutamente della sindrome del libro di mezzo, anzi porta la narrazione ad un altro livello, come ogni saga dovrebbe fare.
Leggerò presto il terzo volume, anche se non sono ancora pronta a salutare questi personaggi.

TW: nel romanzo si parla di violenza domestica, abusi, tossicodipendenza e autolesionismo. Queste tematiche vengono affrontate in un modo un po' superficiale a mio avviso, però mi sembra sempre giusto avvertire, perché mi rendo conto che anche una menzione veloce potrebbe triggerare qualcuno. Personalmente, io avrei preferito saperlo prima.
Profile Image for Mary ♥.
450 reviews105 followers
August 25, 2020
4.3/5 stars

And for a moment, I understand that I have friends on this lonely path; that sometimes your place is not something you find, but something you have when you need it.

Trigger Warnings: Mention of self harm, addiction, pedophilia and incest (I didn't expect these, please be very careful), forced placement in an institution, drug use

Something to listen to while reading this ♥ (picked this one because The Last Door gives me immense Gemma Doyle vibes and vice versa)

If I enjoyed the first book one time, I enjoyed this one ten more, and I expected this, as Libba Bray's books become progressively better the more you bond with the characters and follow their bond, their struggles and their adventures. For this reason exactly, although in the first book I felt quite disconnected from our main girls, in this one, I was eager to see what was going to happen, and started to have the first warm glimpses of a true friendship. This story picks up after the events of the first book and adds something more, a precious, chilly winter atmosphere.

The first book didn't manage to creep me out that much, but this actually did, as I constantly had a feeling that something was looking over my shoulder or coiling in the darkness, waiting for me to drop my guard. Libba Bray is, in my opinion, great in writing about gothic, bizzare and unnerving, and this book proved it once again. We followed a mystery, met new characters, learned more about the main four and unraveled the story in the snow and the cold, this time.

One thing I have to admit I love is that on the start of each book, there is a text by an author, and it is woven into the story in such a special and cleverly thought-out way that it never fails to surprise me. Furthermore, this book broadened out the theme of female sexuality and femininity we saw in the previous, and talked about being desired, choosing for yourself, being conscious of your beauty and growing to realize the patriarchy and stray away from the path it has set.

I also loved the theme of mental health that was infinitely more explored in this book than the first one, as well as the themes of family, friendship, duty, fate and choices. In general, this book was such a delight and writing this review, I feel nostalgic for the emotions I had when reading it, and want to go back to dancing with Gemma, Anne, Pippa and Felicity.

Overall, I wholeheartedly recommend this to fans of YA paranormal fiction, Victorian gothic, strong female characters and winter stories ♥ Until the next review, stay strong and wonderful ♥
~Mary ♥
Profile Image for Keisha.
117 reviews
March 24, 2009
Find the bloody Temple and bind the stupid magic already! All of the contrived riddles and guessing games, near death experiences, etc., just didn't do it for me because this story has been drawn-out with other filler stories just to make the book unnecessarily thick. Oooh 548 pages...why not go for an even 600? Just add another meaningless event, like Simon tells Gemma more juicy gossip or take her on a shoplifting spree.

This one wasn't as enthralling as the first book in the trilogy (A Great and Terrible Beauty). I am sick of Gemma, Felicity, especially Pippa, and even Ann has started to get on my nerves. I am sick of The Realms. I think it's stupid that they keep going in even after everything that happens at the end of RA.

One more thing, I was sickened by the fact that Felicity's dad is a child molester and Simon Middleton is a date-rapist. No one ever addressed this, not even Gemma.
Profile Image for Megan  (thebookishtwins).
535 reviews172 followers
January 3, 2016
I really loved Rebel Angels, much more than A Great and Terrible Beauty. It was magical, enchanting and truly captivating. I really love Gemma, and I think she is pretty damn awesome. She is intelligent, brave and curious and I think she had some great character development. The same can be said with Ann and Felicity, and while I sometimes dislike them, I have to admire they are pretty great characters. Pippa was a character which really surprised me in Rebel Angels and I can't wait to read more of her story. I thought the world-building was fabulous and it was truly mystical and it was one of the best things in the Gemma Doyle Trilogy. Libba Bray has fast become one of my favourite authors and I will definitely be reading more of hers.
Profile Image for Jess.
290 reviews
January 11, 2019
13-year-old me: these books are the greatest and I'm having an amazing time

25-year-old me: these books are not the greatest but I'm having an amazing time
Profile Image for Cesar.
364 reviews237 followers
April 7, 2020
2 stars

It's hard to put into words how I feel about Rebel Angels. It has its good moments and its bad ones. I would say they even out but my overall enjoyment was meh.

I think what made me not enjoy Rebel Angels as much as I wanted to was an issue that I had in the previous book, A Great and Terrible Beauty. Two separate stories mashed into one to the point where I can't tell what the book is trying to be. A historical fantasy or a Victorian-era drama. It also doesn't help that I am not fond of any of the characters. I still don't like Felicity. Gemma is a hit or miss. Ann... she's just Ann.

What Rebel Angels does good is exploring more of the paranormal as well as answering some questions I had. I do enjoy the world of the Realms and the magic and the conspiracies. That I thought was good. But where it falls apart is the characters and some unnecessary plot moments scattered throughout the book.

I wish I could say more about Rebel Angels but all I can think of what that it was a meh book. And looking at the page count for The Sweet Far Thing, I'm can't tell how much of it I'll enjoy and how much of it I'll dislike. At the end of the day, Rebel Angels was average at best.
Profile Image for Andrez.
396 reviews58 followers
June 29, 2010
Book Name: Rebel Angels
Author/s: Libba Bray
Language English
Original Title:Rebel Angels
Publisher, year: Simon and Schuster, 2007
Page total:548
Date Read: june 27-28
Genre/s: YA, fantasy, paranormal, historical fiction
First line of Book:"Herein lies the faithful and true account of my last sixty days, by Kartik, brother of Amar, loyal son of the Rakshana, and of the strange visitation I received that has left me wary on this cold English night."
Review: This is a relatively good sequel to A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY.
It's Christmas time and Gemma, Felicity and Ann go to London to spend it with their families. Gemma finds herself attracted to Simon Middleton, the viscount's son, and apparently, he fancies her too. But not everything's fine. The magic of the Reals is free, and Gemma is haunted by more visions, but this time, they're more vivid and real and intense. Not all is well in the Realms-or out of them.
This book was okay. It had more action than A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY, and Kartik was more developed.
Rating: 3.5/5
Quotes from book:
"What if evil doesn't really exist? What if evil is something dreamed up by man, and there is nothing to struggle against except out own limitations? The constant battle between our will, our desires, and our choices?"

Profile Image for Rhiannon.
61 reviews44 followers
March 30, 2011
Why do I like Rebel Angels so much more than A Great And Terrible Beauty?

That's easy: Balls.

Not THOSE kinds of balls. These kinds:

Maybe because all those par-tays made the pace of the novel seem faster and the story more compelling. But, also, we get to see Gemma interact with her family and the snooty-high-society all around her. This makes for some excellent characterization of both the major and secondary characters.

Would this series have been able to sustain itself without a love-triangle? Someone should have researched that... Hellooooo, Simon Middleton! I guess you're here to try to coax our Gemma out of The Realms. By getting her drunk and unlacing her corset... (Victorian date rape?) I think we'll take Kartik any day, thanks.

Meanwhile, is Felicity Worthington the best character in this series, or is it just me?
Profile Image for Ben Alderson.
Author 21 books13.5k followers
February 23, 2014
finished this book after many days of putting it off! i did enjoy this book!
Profile Image for Shannon .
1,221 reviews2,213 followers
May 27, 2008
I think the story is getting even more interesting, and also a bit sad. It didn't take me long to read it either! Truly, these are such fun books, and the world behind the door of light is getting more and more interesting. In this sequel to A Great and Terrible Beauty, set two months after, a new, mysterious teacher has arrived at Spence, three ghostly girls are trying to give Gemma a message, and Kartik tells Gemma she must find the Temple and bind the magic that she let loose when she broke the runes. But it is also Christmas, and Gemma is spending the holiday in London with her family. Felicity has invited Ann to spend it with her family, enabling them to take trips back to the Realms to look for the Temple.

Gemma has a new interest to distract her: Simon Middleton, son of a Viscount, a handsome young man who has taken quite a shine to her but whose methods - getting her drunk on absenthe - leave a lot to be desired. Thankfully, not all Gemma's judgements of character are crappy. I am sad about Miss Moore, though. I liked her. I also like the continuing touches of historical positioning: the men digging up the streets in London to lay cables for electricity and get rid of the old gaslamps; the snide remark about Felicity having to marry an American because she's too head-strong and vulgar for a good British man; and the Underground as it once was, before it too turned electric.

The usual places of gothic horror - the boarding school and the insane asylum - are clean and cheery in this story. Darker things lurk closer to home, in Gemma's father's opium-addiction, in the mysterious Rakshana that Kartik is a part of, in Felicity's horrible secret. The hideous creatures hunting for them in the Realms are dangerous and terrifying, but so is the opium-den, the treacherous Rakshana who want to make Gemma bind the magic of the Temple to them and then kill her, and an unlocked door to a child's bedroom.

The third and final book is not out until Christmas, I hear, but worth waiting for.
Profile Image for Safae.
296 reviews67 followers
January 14, 2023
if I had thought that "A great and terrible beauty" was a wonderful book ..this one was much better..during the book we fall again through Gemma's world, the writer taking us years ago to 1896, when we can enjoy the beauty, elegance, and charm of that era as much as being confronted with the lies lying just beneath the surface of such a terrible society.
I enjoyed reading about the different customs, the cruelty of that world, and the terrible outcomes of such small things that we take for granted right now..
I enjoyed also the feeling of fear that got to me in those wicked visions she had..and the description is vivid that you feel trapped within the spirits, Nil's screams ..etc..And also the characters are so real and their secrets are so terrible. And the change they have endured since the first book is so noticeable I just loved it :p.
But let's not forget about the fantastical world we were swimming through "the realms" and the exhausting search for the temple, I felt like I was reading two books instead of one, and every time Felicity, Anne, and Gemma hold hands to find the door of light, iI felt like I was with them too..and to be honest, I haven't felt this excited about a book since the hunger games, the book has it flaws of course because I understood some encrypted messages long before the heroine did and that doesn't usually happen with me -let's just leave it that way because I don't want to give any spoilers-.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes getting into other worlds, legendary creatures, and dark secrets.
Profile Image for Pau.
106 reviews8 followers
February 29, 2016
Solid 4. Good job, book.

EDIT (Lengthier review now.)

I started this book. Put it down as it seemed pointless and I wasn't up for sitting through more school room antics. One night, my insomnia kicked in and I remembered that reading helped somewhat. That night I breezed through the entire book. After the last past, I put it down and felt thoroughly satisfied.

Gemma and the Powerpuff girls come back at the same place, but at Christmas time. That bit was boring. Thankfully, the story does not take place at school. Instead, it's like a high budget holiday special. Yay! It takes place in upper-class London filled with gowns and gossip. Exciting!

I suppose a lot of readers would see that the most exciting bit is the appearance of Circe. Nope. The real meaty bits here are when the girls come face to face with their personal demons. For example, Gemma now has a chance to see her father's addiction first hand.

Secondary characters do not escape private battles. Tom appears to be more of an adult that was previously believed. Kartik is finally forced to choose a side.

This is what a fantasy book should be. Heroines and heroes should be seen facing their enemies head on, whether they be monsters or personal problems.

THE VERY BEST BIT... It tackled some very heavy issues. It handled them with delicacy and strength. The book did a wonderful job. Although I will not spoil you, I wish that someone facing the same issues with read this book.

Well done, book. Well done. And, happy christmas to you too.

Profile Image for Lowed.
164 reviews14 followers
January 28, 2011
I'm surprised she did not see it coming! If you have read my review of the first book, you'd see at how I might be inconsistent with it. With a really good prose [this time], this is an excellent follow up of the first book.

It's good seeing the development of the characters, although I still think they are a hateful bunch. But it was still nice enough to make me want to read the last book in the series.!
Profile Image for Jessica Avery.
78 reviews47 followers
June 16, 2017
So far I'm loving this series. This book was quicker paced than the first one and goes into more detail about the realms. Makes you think you know things but then it turns out you're wrong. Highly recommend
Profile Image for Yani.
416 reviews179 followers
February 6, 2019
Aviso: para los que no leyeron el primer libro cierta información puede ser spoiler. Los de este libro los oculté.

Está considerablemente mejor que el primer libro, pero aun así le falta vuelo ¿Será por la cantidad de vida social que Gemma empieza a experimentar? ¿Será porque las amigas de ella siguen irritando, ya que parece que no se dan cuenta de que son las “normales”? ¿O será porque surge otro interés amoroso (como si uno solo no fuera suficiente para arruinar un libro) al que hay que soportar desde una perspectiva almibarada? Es un 3.5 porque un 4 redondo sería generoso, muy generoso.

Ángeles rebeldes no está tan situado en Spence esta vez. Llegan las vacaciones de Navidad y las chicas se van a Londres, con sus respectivas familias (a excepción de Ann), ciudad en donde van a tener algunas pruebas de fuego. Mientras, Gemma necesita buscar el templo para atar la magia definitivamente antes de que Circe, su archienemiga, la detenga.

Habrá más de los reinos en este libro, sobre todo en cuanto a constitución, pero no hay que esperar demasiado. El mundo de la magia que Bray delineó es tan difuso como débil, tan confuso como aburrido. Los seres, las tribus y las criaturas mitológicas no logran formar un todo y las descripciones escuetas, casi esquivas, empeoran el asunto. Es realmente una pena, porque podría haberse consolidado una historia interesante en base a los reinos. En cambio, se nota la preferencia por las situaciones que supuestamente atrapan al público juvenil (como si éste no pensara…): los bailes victorianos, los vestidos, el peligro del compromiso. Si quisiera leer algo de eso hay miles de autores que lo retratan mejor porque vivieron en su tiempo o podría leer a Jane Austen (anterior al periodo del que hablo, por supuesto) para enterarme de los chismorreos de la sociedad. Tampoco me gustó el drama constante, el agregado de temas muy delicados que no se tratan debidamente.

Rescato que la historia haya tenido sus puntos sorprendentes y que se haya vuelto más oscura, a pesar de la deficiencia de las descripciones. La estadía en Londres no será muy placentera, sobre todo porque Gemma está enfocada en su misión (cuando no está pensando en Kartik o en Simon) y no es fácil conseguir la información que necesita. De hecho, está tan enfocada, que no es capaz de darse cuenta de lo horrible que es . Lo bueno es que también se ocupa de su padre, el adicto al láudano, y en esas partes sí sentí que la angustia de ella era real. Pero cuando Gemma está con sus amigas a veces se la nota incómoda y un poco desinteresada, algo que después termina incomodándome a mí. Gemma logra transmitir lo que siente: que no sabe quién es.

Creo que ya dije suficiente (temo caer en más spoilers): me gustó, pero no me fascinó. Entretiene más que el primero pero sigue cayendo en errores o cosas absurdas como que alguien pregunte “¿X es peligroso?” después de recibir un ataque de dicho X. Las personalidades de los personajes ya están bien definidas y falta darle el toque al mundo en el que se mueven, que no es menos importante. Y, lamentablemente, alguien parece haberlo olvidado.

Reseña en Clásico Desorden
Profile Image for snowplum.
161 reviews28 followers
July 26, 2016
I liked this book less than book 1, A Great and Terrible Beauty, probably because it felt as though the author decided to add a few heaping spoonfuls of More Social Issues to a book that didn't need them. Book 1's take on feminism and ways that teenage girls suck toward each other and themselves was a bit heavy-handed and artless, but certainly in line with general expectations of the genre. And therein, perhaps, lies the problem. I think we may have a case of an author who decided she wanted to make absolutely certain that her books had a broader social conscience and weren't "just fluffy teen fiction," so she threw in every issue she could think of that might affect Victorian society and/or modern teen girls. Sort of like later seasons of Ryan Murphy's Glee that mostly make you laugh or roll your eyes when they take on issue after issue in short attention span bites.

I'm also increasingly bothered by Gemma's thoughts and decisions in this book. Her loyalty toward her friends is supposed to be commendable, an example of sisterhood in Bray's feminist framework. I find this meaningless, bordering on stupid, however, when both Ann and Felicity offer Gemma so little in return -- and Felicity has proven to be dangerously ambitious, much like Gemma's mother's friend-turned-nemesis, Circe. Felicity sacrificed the stag and was really close to performing a human sacrifice in book 1!! I would be pretty wary of this girl, and certainly not constantly bending over backward to excuse and forgive her bitchy, selfish, cold, or thoughtless behavior. And Ann.... what a tiresome, bland, depressing lump. She is not a friend to Gemma. She's just a plot device that exists to give Gemma situation after situation in which to prove her caring and loyalty to someone who doesn't reciprocate. You see both Felicity's and Ann's true colors any time Gemma doesn't take them to the realms. They just mope, bitch, guilt trip Gemma, or ignore her. This might be realistic for most teenage girls who are only fair-weather "friends," but if Gemma is supposed to be such a truth seeker, it's undermining her significantly that she doesn't process these girls' lack of loyalty or integrity and adjust her own loyalty toward them.

Overall, I found this book to be a quick but frustrating read. I really wanted to know what was going to happen with the main plot, but skimmed more and more of the scenes that didn't take place in the realms or relate directly to the magic.

I'm trying to be fair and say whether I think the book is objectively flawed or just happened to go in a direction I personally didn't care for, and I think it's a bit of both.

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