Series Report: Gemma Doyle by Libba Bray

Posted September 18, 2020 by Angie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

This series has been on my TBR since 2011, and I just now got to it. And I’m glad that I did! I actually adored the first book! It’s like if Mean Girls and the Craft had a baby and then that baby was raised by Sylvia Brown. Basically, it’s full of weird magic, a creepy school, and teenage girls who go from enemies to best friends.

The friendship between Gemma and the other girls was actually my favorite part. It was so surprising. I was fully expecting Gemma to stay an outcast, or have the other girls take advantage of her magical abilities. But these girls genuinely become friends and nothing can come between them. Not even death. It’s by no means perfect, sunshine, and rainbows. But these girls stick together and save the magical realm together.

The series does go downhill as it goes on. The second book was still fully enjoyable, but the third book was unnecessarily long and unsatisfying. I do think this series could have been one 800+ epic book and have been fantastic. There’s just a lot of filler and back-and-forth in the sequels.

However, the one real down point of the series is the period-typical racism against Romani people and Indian people. It might be historically accurate, but…still. Ew.

If you like magical girls, creepy boarding schools, and unlikely friendship, I’d recommend this one.

About Each Book:

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Series Report: Gemma Doyle by Libba BrayA Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, ) by Libba Bray
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on December 9, 2003
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Historical, Fantasy
Format: Paperback (416 pages)
Source: Library
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It's 1895 and, after the death of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped from the she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true. Gemma finds he reception a chilly one. She's not completely alone, though... she's being followed by a mysterious young man, sent to warn her to close her mind against the visions.

It's at Spence that Gemma's power to attract the supernatural unfolds as she becomes entangled with the school's most powerful girls and discovers her mother's connection to a shadowy, timeless group called The Order. Her destiny awaits... if only Gemma can believe in it.

four-stars

Series Report: Gemma Doyle by Libba BrayRebel Angels (Gemma Doyle, ) by Libba Bray
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on August 23, 2005
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Historical, Fantasy
Format: Hardcover (549 pages)
Source: Library
Purchase: AmazonIndieBound
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Ah, Christmas! Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Academy, spending time with her friends in the city, attending ritzy balls, and on a somber note, tending to her ailing father. As she prepares to ring in the New Year, 1896, a handsome young man, Lord Denby, has set his sights on Gemma, or so it seems. Yet amidst the distractions of London, Gemma’s visions intensify–visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened, something only the realms can explain. . . .

The lure is strong, and before long, Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are turning flowers into butterflies in the enchanted world of the realms that Gemma alone can bring them to. To the girls great joy, their beloved Pippa is there as well, eager to complete their circle of friendship.

But all is not well in the realms or out. The mysterious Kartik has reappeared, telling Gemma she must find the Temple and bind the magic, else great disaster will befall her. Gemma's willing to do his intrusive bidding, despite the dangers it brings, for it means she will meet up with her mother's greatest friend“and now her foe, Circe. Until Circe is destroyed, Gemma cannot live out her destiny. But finding Circe proves a most perilous task.

four-stars

Series Report: Gemma Doyle by Libba BrayThe Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, ) by Libba Bray
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on December 26, 2007
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Historical, Fantasy
Format: Hardcover (819 pages)
Source: Library
Purchase: AmazonIndieBound
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It has been a year of change since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy. Her mother murdered, her father a laudanum addict, Gemma has relied on an unsuspected strength and has discovered an ability to travel to an enchanted world called the realms, where dark magic runs wild. Despite certain peril, Gemma has bound the magic to herself and forged unlikely new alliances.

Now, as Gemma approaches her London debut, the time has come to test these bonds. The Order - the mysterious group her mother was once part of - is grappling for control of the realms, as is the Rakshana. Spence's burned East Wing is being rebuilt, but why now? Gemma and her friends see Pippa, but she is not the same. And their friendship faces its gravest trial as Gemma must decide once and for all what role she is meant for.

two-stars

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