This is a review of Rebel Angels. It is the second novel in the Gemma Doyle Trilogy by young-adult author, Libba Bray. The novel was published in early 2005 by Delacorte Press, a subsidiary of Random House Publishers. The U.S. hardback and paperback editions have fifty chapter and 548 pages.
Synopsis: Ah, Christmas! Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Acadmey-spending time with her friends in the city, attending balls in fancy gowns with plunging necklines, and dallying with the handsome Simon Middleton. Yet amid these distractions, her visions intensify-visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened that only the realms can explain. The lure is strong, and soon Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are turning flowers into butterflies in the enchanted world to which Gemma takes them. To the girls' great joy, their belonved Pippa is tere as well, eager to complete their circle of friendship. But all is not well in the realms-or out. Lartik is back, desperately insisting to Gemma that she must bind the magic, lest colossal disaster befall her. Gemma is willing to comply, for this would bring her face to face with her lates mother's greatest friend, now Gemma's for-Circe. Until Circe is destroyed, Gemma cannot live out her destiny. But finding Circe proves a most perilous task...Rebel Angels teems wiith Victorian thrills and chills that play out against the backdrop of 1895 London, a place of shadows and light...where inside great beuaty can lie a rebel angel.
This book received a 4/5 stars. The thing that I love about this book is its ability to present deep, philosophical questions and themes without ever actually mentioning them. Throughtout the book, Gemma and her friends are faced with decisions about who they will be for the rest of their lives. In the course of the book, topics like fate and destiny are discussed along with the theme of free choice. Are our lives predetermined or do we make them ourselves with our choices? These are questions and themes to which whole college lectures are dedicated. Yet, the brillance of Bray's writing is her ability to slip them in without you ever noticing. It's not until the book is already finished that you find the questions coming back to you. This is definitely the kind of book that has you sitting there for a half-hour after you have finished it and thinking- and I mean really thinking. But during the course of the novel the depths of this topics do not weight you down. As always, the characters were superbly developed along with the plot. The clever play on words and the surprise events keep the plot fresh and hold your attention nicely. I started reading from the middle of the book last night at around 10 p.m. and I ended up, accidently, staying up all night finish it. Beware, however, that the first half of the book is challenging to get through but the second half is well worth it. The first half had a lot of expository information that needed to be conveyed and a great deal of events that were necessary to set up the second half, but the story itself wasn't riveting so it took me a while to read. However, once you get through that you are in for a treat! I hope that you all check this book out after reading the first!
The next book on my list is The Mark by Jen Nadol. It is a short novel so expect to see a review within the week.
Thanks and happy reading.
The Book Nook