keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
[personal profile] keilexandra
A Great and Terrible Beauty
by Libba Bray
403 pages (trade paperback)
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/YA/Historical

It took me the longest time to finish reading this, because the story had two opposite effects on me: I was compelled to turn pages as I read, but once I closed the book and put it down I had absolutely no inclination to go back. I predicted or suspected all of the plot twists, and the climax was cheesily sentimental.

Circe as a villain is too clear-cut evil; even Sarah, the "good" girl fallen prey to temptation, is redeemed because she was possessed and so isn't really herself. The girls are realistic but tiring to read because they don't change until near the end when it is too late. Beginning was slow to transcend banality; while the school story aspect was interesting, I didn't care much for the magic. This is a classic temptation story, modeled in many ways after Tennyson's famed "The Lady of Shalott" (and kudos to Bray for the lit reference). Unfortunately, classic here turned into cliche.

Certainly Bray's debut novel is not bad; however, in my opinion it doesn't deserve the hype. It is perhaps a little above mediocre in the YA category, but for this reader (who happens to fall, by virtue of age, into the YA category herself) it is solidly average overall. And you know, life is too short to be reading only average books, when so many exceptional works are being published every day. I won't be reading the sequels to A Great and Terrible Beauty, although I do welcome end spoilers.


Date: 2008-06-01 06:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Felicity is a lesbian (that is to say, she had a thing with Pippa specifically), Pippa becomes a zombie queen, and Kartik dies.

Edited because I found the spoiler code.
Edited Date: 2008-06-01 06:06 pm (UTC)


Date: 2008-06-02 01:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The subtext was always there. I thought it was just going to stay that way though, but she actually did go there in the final book.


Date: 2008-06-02 01:19 am (UTC)
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)
From: [personal profile] oyceter
WHAT?! Kartik dies?!

I, uh, had the book out for a while and just could not manage to get through it because I wanted to whap everyone on the head so much and tell them that easy and nice does not necessarily equal good and right. Ha. Now I am glad I didn't finish it because that would have made me throw the book against a wall, and the book is so big I probably would have dented the wall.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-06-01 08:21 pm (UTC)
ext_347919: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
I couldn't stand this book at all. >8|

(no subject)

Date: 2008-06-01 11:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was underwhelmed by this book as well. To me it seemed messily written -- if it had been shorter and more condensed it would have been more fun -- or at least it would have wasted less of my time.

I really don't understand this mania for mediocre YA books that is happening at the moment. (Twilight: case in point...)


keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)

January 2011


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