Book Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty

I've been a member of Random House's site Teens@Random for a little more than two months. In that time, I've completed a whole host of activities to earn points toward free books. These activities tend to be fun and creative. I truly enjoy participating in them. Once you earn several thousand points, which doesn't take very long, you can use those points to "purchase" books from the Random Store.

One of my most recent acquisitions is Libba Bray's novel A Great and Terrible Beauty. I'd seen this novel and the other two books in the series around for several years, but did not buy it because of the cover. For some reason, the cover did not appeal to me. What I had failed to do was actucally read the description of the book. Far from the romantic historical fiction novel I was expecting, A Great and Terrible Beauty is pure fantasy, complete with witchy characters and other-world mysteries.

This is a great read. It does have a touch of historical ficiton to it, but that history is mostly about the treatment and social expectations of young girls during the late 1800's in England. This historical content only serves to make a more realistic, enjoyable read because you are truly able to understand the confined world in which the main characters live. So, when these girls stumble upon a parallel world where they are as powerful and brave as they choose, it is easy to understand why they feel so liberated and want to stay in that world.

The short chapters and plot twists make for an exciting read, as does the increasing connection between the dead and the living. I was absolutely riveted while reading this book and did not want to put it down. I am happy that I finally decided to give this book a chance and now plan to order the next two books in the series ASAP!