Book 2 in the Gemma Doyle trilogy
What I liked:
Practically everything. This was a re read of one of my favourite books from one of my favourite series of all time. It had been some time since I’d read it so it was amazing to be surrounded by such a beloved group of characters; I felt really endeared throughout the story.
It’s funny, I remember not knowing that this was the second book in a series, and reading it before I read the first one. It was love at first page, and I remember that feeling well even now.
I love this second instalment, it’s set around the backdrop of Victorian London, in the city itself but firstly at Spence Boarding School, where Gemma, Ann and Felicity are introduced to their new Teacher, Gemma immediately takes a dislike to, though she doesn’t instantly know why; but when she does, her suspicions fall flat over the course of the novel, resulting in a climatic face off with one who she thought she could trust above all else.
For me, as well as the exciting plot, it’s the characters that have cemented a place in my heart, I’ll tell you why:
Gemma: she’s flawed, she’s a witch, a high priestess, but she’s a human! Having to cope with the fact that she’s the one that’s supposed to bind the magic together and restore the Realms and everything, as well as living with the guilt that she could have saved Pippa, her dear friend (refer to book 1, A Great and Terrible Beauty), her grief stricken, laundalum addicted father, and her potentional suitor, Simon, and much more, I think Gemma is doing pretty greatly. She is ever so brave and headstrong at times, I definitely admire her and she’s definitely on my list of all time favourite fictional heroines.
Ann and Felicity too are like dear friends: altogeth Fee can prove to be rather selfish at times, she truly cares about her friends and loves them in her own way. I believe that her heart broke when she lost the one dearest to her, and she’s facing some dark secrets of her own. Ann, though she’s a poor scholarship student at Spence, and very timid, I adore her. She, like many other girls of her time, couldn’t have asked to be born in such sad circumstances, unfortunately she has to grin and bear it, which she does as best as she can, which sadly isn’t all that well. An initial helpful lie from Felicity regarding Ann’s heritage doesn’t help matters, unfortunately.
Tom. Gemma’s brother. I believe he means well, and I enjoyed the sibling banter between him and Gemma. I felt sorry for him throughout, as he knows he’s the second favourite sibling, and that he is powerless to help his father overcome his addiction, even though Thomas is an aspiring Doctor himself.
Simon Middleton. One of my first book crushes. Oh my. The son of Lord and Lady Denby, Simon makes no haste in his interest for Gemma. I ship them. Badly. Though I feel like I’m the only person in the fandom that does. He admits to Gemma that he’s dull, aside from the gambling and carousing, and that his parents expect him to find a suitable girl and carry on the family name. Despite Gemma breaking their brief courtship, I loved every minute of their chemistry together.
Kartik. He’s such a darling. He went through so much both internally and externally from the start to the end of this book; you can most definitely tell that he has conflicted feelings about Gemma, what with Kartik being a member of the Rakshana, who are now the sworn enemies of Gemma. In fact, in the prologue to this book, Kartik is ordered to find out Gemma’s secrets and power regarding the Realms, and then kill her. The chemistry between the two of them is epic, as well, and it’s almost amusing how Gemma flits her mind between the two lads.
I recommend this series to everyone! It is that amazing! You will not be disappointed; the characters and plot stay with one long after closing the book.
“Beneath the skin, there is fear. Pain. Remorse. Yearning. Desire. A fierce longing for power. All of this. We are joined. It is as if we live in the center of a great storm.”
And thus concludes yet another review; I do hope you enjoyed it. Until next time, happy reading,