9 Feb 2013

REVIEW: Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

Title: Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle #2)
Author: Libba Bray
Publication Date: June 26th 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Paperback
Pages: 563
Rating: 5/5

Blurb: It's the end of the year, and Gemma's looking forward to living it up in London. Balls, fancy gowns and dancing with the handsome Simon Middleton beckon. Best of all, it's time away from Spence Academy - and from the Realms.

But the lure of the enchanted world is strong, and the magic flows freely. Gemma's visions intensify - visions of three girls, dressed in white, suffering horror and menace. Clearly all is not well in the Realms - or out of them.

Set against the rich backdrop of Victorian London, a place of shadows and light, in a time of strict morality and barely repressed sensuality, this compelling gothic sequel reveals that inside great beauty can lie a rebel angel...

Review: Six months or so after finishing the first book, A Great and Terrible Beauty, it was really nice to get back into the world of Gemma Doyle. I wasn’t really a massive fan of the first book, though I found myself instantly enjoying the second. I quickly came to the realisation that I really didn’t like any of Gemma’s friends- Felicity, Ann and Pippa all annoyed me at different times of the book, though I really enjoyed Gemma herself. The other characters were pretty likeable as well- Gemma’s family- her grandmother, father and her brother, Tom, were all interesting to read especially from the biased opinion of Gemma and then to hear what other characters in the novel said about them. I loved both Simon and Kartik and right now there is no possible way that I could ever choose between the two of them.

Despite being a love triangle, I felt that it was actually believable- she wasn’t going between the two of them trying to decide which she loved, she knew that Simon would give her status, power, money etc. but also that she could be happy with him, but she shared a connection with Kartik with their history and through India and whatnot despite their difference places in the hierarchy. For me, this was a definite benefit for the novel and made it much more enjoyable than having to read a teenage girl between two boys all of the time.

Of course, I loved the world both the dark and the classy Victorian London but also the beautiful and terrifying world of the Realms. One of my absolute favourite things about the novel was all the description of the creatures and elements of the Realms, which are present in the first novel though I really enjoyed what we got to see this time around.

Obviously, I enjoyed all of these elements though my favourite part of the novel was the mystery surrounding the identity of Circe. About halfway through I actually thought I’d outsmarted Gemma and had figured out who the real Circe was, though when it finally came down to it I realised how stupid I’d been to miss all the clues pointing at the person I’d completely dismissed.

If you love historical paranormal with a hint of romance, I’d definitely check out this book especially as I believe that it really does have some good messages hidden behind all the awesome paranormal aspects. 

* Fun fact about my copy of this book- the summary reads 'the handsome Dimon Middleton beckon', rather than Simon Middleton...Bit embarrassing there.