Young Adult Fiction for Adults discussion

Series > A Great and Terrible Beauty by: Libba Bray

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message 1: by Julie (new)

Julie This was a fun read. Took me a little while to get into it but I enjoyed it enough that I picked up the next book in the series REBEL ANGELS

message 2: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinferno) I loved it! It took me awhile to get through though as well. I just didnt have time. It got much better at the end. My friends felt like she tried to put too much into the end but I didnt feel that way.

message 3: by Llama (new)

Llama Castillo | 8 comments I just finished it, took two days and now I can't wait to read Rebel Angels. It had been one of those last-minute-catch-your-eye buys and I am so happy I did. I loved how visual it was. I could picture the whole book as if I was in it. It had a nice flow to it which made it easy to read and the story was so interesting I could'nt put it down.

message 4: by Amy McCourt (new)

Amy McCourt | 1 comments I also loved both of those books.

A third book featuring Gemma just came out in December called "The Sweet Far Thing."

I can't wait to read it!

message 5: by Shesten Melder (new)

Shesten Melder I read the first two novels - A Great and Terrible Beauty and Rebel Angels, but can't seem to get past the 150 page mark in The Sweet Far Thing. My experience was that the books started off slow, but around the middle they turned into page turners. I like the story line a lot. I think about the book, but just can't bring myself to finish it. Weird? Probably, but I am wondering if anyone else finished it and whether or not they think it is worth the time to invest in finishing the series. Thanks :o)

message 6: by Josie (new)

Josie (maid_marian) | 41 comments I had the same problem! I loved the first two, and devoured them in no time at all, but I just couldn't get into the third one. I struggled on, however, only to be ultimately disappointed with the ending - but that's just me, you might enjoy it if you persist!

message 7: by Grace (new)

Grace | 16 comments I'm another person who read the first two and have yet to finish the third. I got almost halfway through and found myself disinterested. I always feel guilty about not finishing a book, but I guess it makes me feel a little better that I was not the only person who had trouble with this one.
I think the problem I had with the third one was that I started to really dislike the characters. They weren't particularly likable in the first two, but by the third I really didn't want to hear about their arguing anymore. It's very hard to read a book when you can't stand the characters anymore.

message 8: by Sara ♥ (new)

Sara ♥ (saranicole) I loved the first two. I bought the third book the day it came out, but can't even bring myself to START it! I'm too worried that it will end badly. (I'm a scaredy-cat, apparently!) All I want is for Gemma and Kartik to be able to be together, but I have a feeling it won't end up that way....

message 9: by Eshusdaughter (new)

Eshusdaughter | 2 comments I loved all three books actually. The third book is a lot darker than the others but I think that is a natural progression. Bray does not give her characters easy outs and she writes a tight plot that just winds tighter and tighter. I won't give any spoilers but I really liked the ending and thought it fit the books. I have full comments (with spoiler warning) in my review on why I feel that way and why I liked the book. This series remains one of my all-time favorites.

message 10: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (michellezink) | 168 comments I agree, Jenn. Libba Bray's writing is excellent, and I'm always surprised more people haven't read this one, because it's an amazing series. I tell people about it everywhere the subject turns to YA fiction.

message 11: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8 comments I'm reading the first book right now. So far so good.. I have to put it down yesterday to read City of Glass but now it's back on my reading list. :)

message 12: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinferno) Amy wrote: "I'm reading the first book right now. So far so good.. I have to put it down yesterday to read City of Glass but now it's back on my reading list. :)"

I am having a hard time getting into City of Glass:(

If you feel like Great and Terrible is slow, just keep in mind that Rebel Angels is AMAZING! One of my top five of all time!

message 13: by Ally (new)

Ally | 3 comments I just finished AGTB! I really enjoyed it. I loved how even though this set as a turn of the century piece, the characters emotions and dilemmas can be related to present day topics. (Acceptance, friendship, right and wrong and questioning societies: standards, rank and beauty.)

I have to wait until my Library gets in Rebel Angels... :P

message 14: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8 comments I eventually finished the Sweet Far Thing. IMHO, it's a disappointment for me. The book is huge but full of unnecessary plots that I don't really care for. I think she spent too much time on all those plots and description. Also I just don't like the ending at all. Well, that's just me.

message 15: by Kellee (new)

Kellee Moye (kelleemoye) Is A Great and Terrible Beauty appropriate for 7th graders?

message 16: by Sara ♥ (new)

Sara ♥ (saranicole) Ummmm... my sister read it when she was in maybe 9th or 10th grade, and she thought it was really dark. I think the content is fine (yes?)....... not sure about the Rebel Angels though... There's some crazy I-wanna-get-in-your-pants-so-I'll-drug-you-up times in that book... And some lovely (not!) opium addiction... I haven't read book 3. They're good though! Read them and see what you think!

message 17: by Kellee (new)

Kellee Moye (kelleemoye) I'll put them on my "To Read" to be determined list :)

message 18: by Angela Sunshine (new)

Angela Sunshine (angelasunshine) Kellee wrote: "Is A Great and Terrible Beauty appropriate for 7th graders? "

I'd say that yes, this is 7th grade appropriate IMO.

message 19: by Jillian (new)

Jillian (jzmick) | 14 comments I'm going to be honest. I really enjoyed A Great and Terrible Beauty, but I was very disappointed by the next two books. I felt that they never truly explained what Gemma is/goes through and how it all started. There was no history or back story. I was really sad because I thought the first book set up the rest of the series so well.

message 20: by Laura (new)

Laura | 114 comments I also enjoyed the first two books and am having trouble getting through the third. Rebel Angels seems to have been the high-point of the series for me. I keep trying to finish The Sweet Far Thing, but other interesting books keep coming up (The Hunger Games, Skinned, Crashed, City of Glass, etc.). One of these days I WILL finish it; however, I've reserved Catching Fire, Graceling, and The Maze Runner from the library, so I'm not sure I will in the near future!

There are certain elements in the series that I really like, but there is also a rather dark, unsettling undercurrent that rubs me the wrong way.

message 21: by Amy (new)

Amy | 2 comments I got really into the series, and forced my way through the last one (which seemed to drag for me), and then i thought the ending was horrible! I was really disappointed in the way the whole series ended.

message 22: by Jillian (new)

Jillian (jzmick) | 14 comments I agree! Horrible ending!!!

message 23: by Michele (new)

Michele I agree Amy - at first i was just thinking of those books as a fun light read and then WHAM-O i'm crying my eyes out and feeling like shit. I didn't even really have the emotional involvement in that book enough to merit that ending, which i guess made it even more contrived. Like "well i don't know what to do with this so let's make everyone who bothered to read this pay"

message 24: by Sara ♥ (new)

Sara ♥ (saranicole) Jillian wrote: "I agree! Horrible ending!!! "

And THAT is why I bought the book the day it came out and STILL haven't read it. I used to read Libba Bray's blog quite frequently (stopped when the book came out, to stay away from spoilers), and I was NOT CONFIDENT that she was a happy-ending kind of person....

message 25: by Heidi (new)

Heidi I read the first one. It was good, but not great. I did not read the others as I read people did not like them as well as the first and I thought if I only kind of liked the first one, then I for sure would not like the next two. Unlike Harry Potter (sorry to compare) - I could not totally emerse myself in the fantasy world in the book. Not sure why.

message 26: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (michellezink) | 168 comments I LOVE this series! I actually never read the third - bought it but never got around to reading it - but the first two are among my very favorite YA books.

message 27: by Chelsi (new)

Chelsi | 9 comments I convinced my mom to buy this book for her high school library so that I could read it. I loved it and have read Rebel Angels as well. I haven't read the third book yet, but am looking forward to reading it!

message 28: by Allison (new)

Allison (itsmealliebee) | 3 comments I really loved the first two but I must admit that I couldn't quite get into the final book. I would really like to finish it though, even though I've spoiled myself over how it ends!

message 29: by Toni (new)

Toni | 27 comments Love, love, love this series!!!! I am on book 3 and reading it SLOWLY.....because I not ready for it to end.

message 30: by Danielle (new)

Danielle | 2 comments This is an amazing series! I finished reading it a while back and I'm still wishing it didn't have to end!

message 31: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (michellezink) | 168 comments Danielle wrote: "This is an amazing series! I finished reading it a while back and I'm still wishing it didn't have to end!"

It's a classic! One of my all-time favorites!


message 32: by S.S. (new)

S.S. (ssrice) | 75 comments Aside from great writing, I hear that Libba is hilarious in person.

message 33: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (michellezink) | 168 comments S.S. wrote: "Aside from great writing, I hear that Libba is hilarious in person."

She is very funny, but also sincere and genuine in a way very few people are. She has a wonderful way of really listening to each and every person she speaks to - the kind of author it's a pleasure to support!


message 34: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Mac (yoyochkmeouthotmailcom) | 45 comments It was an addictive read but I was disapointed in the ending....I mean a tree? Yeah that didnt settle well in my feelers. But that is probably just me. I even tried to re-read the series but it didn't help much. I always like a happy ending! :)

Cassi aka Snow White Haggard | 2261 comments Tanya wrote: "It was an addictive read but I was disapointed in the ending....I mean a tree? Yeah that didnt settle well in my feelers. But that is probably just me. I even tried to re-read the series but it did..."

The tree thing drove me nuts too! I used to read Terry Brooks and he turned love interests into trees...TWICE (in two seperate but way to similar book). So by the time Libba turned Kartik who I LOVED into a tree I was fed up. You can have romance with a tree. GRR

Stacia (the 2010 club) (stacia_r) *spoilers*

By the way that I interpreted it, I got that Ms. Bray hinted that Gemma was going away to "discover" herself, and that eventually she would find a way to come back to Kartik and figure out how to undo it.

Obviously, that's a big interpretation, but it just seems like the story was left very open ended.

message 37: by Marlene (last edited Aug 06, 2010 12:11AM) (new)

Marlene (fuzzycerts) I can't bring myself to read The Sweet Far Thing. I bought it two years ago and it's still sitting on my shelf. I succumbed to spoilers because I wanted to find out what happens with Kartik. No words can describe my disappointment. A tree? REALLY? *sighs* Eventually, I'll read it. I think.

Do you guys think it's worth reading anyway, despite that complete and utter fail?

*edit: I just read some of the other posts on here. Glad to see I'm not the only one that still hasn't read the last book! :P

message 38: by Jaimie (new)

Jaimie (jaimier) | 1275 comments I read the whole series and I only kinda enjoyed the first book so I don't know why I kept going. The last book is by far the most annoying.

message 39: by Diana (new)

Diana I loved the series even though I thought some of the characters were annoying. I agree that the end was kind of disappointing but I liked it; I don't know maybe I like sad endings. But I also liked how Gemma went on her own instead of doing what was expected of her.

message 40: by Crystal (new)

Crystal Jewell Killeen (ckilleen24) | 40 comments I have read all three books in this series and I loved them all. However, the ending was a bit disappointing, and left me feeling rather sad for the characters. Like some of you have stated, I also like a happy ending! :-)

message 41: by Lindsey (new)

Lindsey (lindseyjane) | 12 comments So, I finished the first book, A Great and Terrible Beauty. It was just okay, in my opinion. It didn't knock my socks off like I had expected. I think I just thought there would be more... I don't know, action. Because the book really seemed a bit short of climax. It was an interesting story and well written, I just think it rambled on in all the wrong places. It could have been more. It didn't seem like much happened in the book. I may read the rest, just to see if it picks up a bit.

message 42: by Jenna (new)

Jenna (pocketmermaid) | 38 comments I love this series. It's up there in my All Time Favorites. I adore Gemma. She can come sit by me.

I listened to them all on audio book last summer. The narrator, Josephine Bailey, is a goddess on wheels. For those of you that are having trouble finishing the series, I definitely recommend tracking down the audio versions. When I was done, I bought them all in paperback so I could loan them out and introduce people to their awesomeness.

I suppose I'm in the minority, because I loved the ending. I thought it was extremely fitting. I agree with Stacia, in that the ending was sort of open-ended and Gemma will find a way to make it right - she's just that kind of person.

"There's no such thing as happy endings, because nothing ever ends." -Schmendrick the Magician, The Last Unicorn

I love the last lines of "The Sweet Far Thing." I remember listening to the end of the book on my iPod while on vacation in Maine, sitting on the rocks and staring out at the ocean and getting chills and chills. I'm getting chills right now thinking about it.

message 43: by Tracy (last edited Jul 14, 2011 02:51PM) (new)

Tracy (prairiedances) | 17 comments Quick question. I'm reading "Rebel Angels" right now and I'm wondering about Felicity. In "A Great and Terrible Beauty" I thought Fee's mother left her and was with some other man abroad. Also that her father as never around;he stood her up on Family Day. However, I'm about 1/3 of the way though "Rebel Angels" and both her mother and father are around? Am I confusing her back story with someone else?


message 44: by Diana (new)

Diana Tracy wrote: "Quick question. I'm reading "Rebel Angels" right now and I'm wondering about Felicity. In "A Great and Terrible Beauty" I thought Fee's mother left her and was with some other man abroad. Also that..."

No you're right. Although I don't completely remember where her mother was, they were pretty negligent parents; my guess is that since Rebel Angels takes place around the holidays they were together for that reason and maybe to help their image in society since that was a pretty big deal at the time.

message 45: by Ottilie (new)

Ottilie (ottilie_weber) | 484 comments It's been a couple of years, but I think they were just like oh well we have others to take care of our children, we can pay them off situation.

message 46: by Tracy (new)

Tracy (prairiedances) | 17 comments Oh, okay thanks! It has been bothering me while I've been reading it. Makes sense, though I remember in A Great and Terrible Beauty Fee said that she hadn't seen her father in two years and her mother for even longer.

Jeann (Happy Indulgence)  (happyindulgence) | 7 comments I really liked this series and have been searching for something similar for ages, but the mix of magic, and olden day glamour is quite unique.

The only weird thing is the whole lesbian thing but hey, I can accept that in amongst the awesomeness.

message 48: by Ottilie (new)

Ottilie (ottilie_weber) | 484 comments Jeann, I think that was nicely done it was like exaggerated to make a point, but was known and still flowed. Did that make sense?

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