Friday, December 11, 2015

The Gemma Doyle trilogy: magic and mystery

The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray is fantasy series about a young girl at an English boarding school when she discovers a magical realm. She learns that she has a magical gifts and she must learn how to use them. She, along with her friends, must defeat the evil which is unleashed and return the balance between the world and the realm.

A Great and Terrible Beauty is the first book, 1895, Gemma Doyle is sent to a boarding school in England after the death of her mother in India. Once there, she begins to have clairvoyant visions as she discovers the magical secrets of the Spence Academy for Young Ladies. She soon becomes friends with Felicity Worthington, the most popular and influential girl at the school. Along wither her roommate, Ann Bradshaw and Felicity’s best friend, Pippa Cross, Gemma discovers an ancient group of women called The Order. The girls decide to start an Order of their own and discovers a magical cave which bestows magic gifts of immense power. Soon the power turns evil. Will Gemma and her friends survive?

Rebel Angels is the second book which begins two months after the events of A Great and Terrible Beauty. The magic in the caves has been released and the evil sorceress, Circe, and her allies are free to roam the realm and possibly the human world. Gemma and her friends must find the “Temple” in order to bind the magic and Circe again. New friends, teachers and mysterious men are pressuring Gemma to use her magic according to their plans. Unsure who to trust, Gemma must rely on her own instincts to battle Circe and restore the magic. Will her chosen allies help or hurt her? Will she be able to fight the growing threat from Circe?

The Sweet Far Thing is the last book in which one year has passed since Gemma arrive at the Spence Academy. She is struggling with the magic from realms and the effects on the school. When the East Wing of the school is being rebuilt after a fire from many years ago, a mysterious stone is unearthed and Gemma beings to have visions of a young girl in a lavender dress with a magical dagger. Time is running out, can Gemma find the clue to realm the wall between the realm and her world? What is this mysterious stone? Who is the girl in Gemma’s vision and can her dagger help end the Circe? Will Gemma and her friends survive?

I enjoyed this series very much. I’ve read it a couple times over the last few years and it get better and better. I enjoyed the references to classic Greek tragedies. The descriptions of the school and the grounds gives the reader the sensation of being there. The interactions between the characters, especially teenage girls, was realistic. There are many surprises in the book from the first opening page to the closing lines. This makes writing a review difficult but makes for a very good read. I highly recommend the Gemma Doyle trilogy.