Read Harder: Fantasy

Title: A great and terrible beauty

Author: Libba Bray

Series: Gemma Doyle #1

Genre: Fantasy

No. of pages: 403

Rating: 2/5

This week's read harder challenge is to read a fantasy book.

I love a good fantasy book and I knew that this was one challenge I wouldn't find difficult. I would devour this fantasy book in a day and enjoy it and love it and find a new series to keep me occupied.

Well, ladies and gentleman, I have learnt my lesson. Never judge a book by its cover or in this case its genre.

Let me give you a bit of background first before I launch into my opinion.

This book is all about a girl called Gemma Doyle who's mother dies mysteriously. Gemma is sent to a boarding school and realises she can see things that other people can't. She makes friends with a group of girls and they all meet in a cave to discover this other realm.

That's the basis of the story without any spoilers. As you can imagine, it's not smooth sailing from here and Gemma and her friends have to deal with so many things that keep them on their toes.

Now let's take an objective view of this book.

Here are the good points:
  • This book is not full of romance. There is a beginning of one but unless most fantasy books it does not focus on romance as the central theme which is refreshing.
  • There is a spotlight on the issues that Victorian girls had to deal with.
Now here are the not-so-good points:
  • The characters are dull, lifeless and you don't really care about them, therefore, you don't care about them or their story so you get 2 pages into this book before you give up.
  • The main character Gemma is selfish and petty. I understand that she's a teenage girl but if your character has no reason why they're doing things and they're just spiteful, you can't relate to them
  • The story was poor from every angle. It started off with potential but it just became a cliched hot mess. There were a lot of things that made no sense which was really frustrating.
  • The writing was nothing to shout about; pretty average.
  • There was a lot of stereotyping. The schoolgirls were whiny, petty and wanted a knight in shining armour to whisk them away despite them being exposed to a land of magic and fantasy. On the other hand, the gipsies were portrayed as uncultured uncivilised people living in the woods. Little things like these were annoying me the further I read.
As you can probably tell, I didn't particularly enjoy this book. And these are not even all the bad points, there are more but I thought I would keep it at a nice round number.

So in my humble opinion, I would highly highly recommend that you stay away from this book if you value your brain cells. 


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