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Libba Bray – Rebel Angels

October 7, 2007

101. Rebel Angels by Libba Bray (2006)
Gemma Doyle Trilogy, book 2

Length: 592 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Started: 06 October 2007
Finished: 07 October 2007

Summary: In this sequel to A Great and Terrible Beauty, the magic of the realms is loose, having been freed by accident when Gemma battled Circe’s assassin. Gemma is given a mysterious warning by Kartik: find the Temple and bind the magic, lest Circe and her evil spirits gain too much control. But first she must find the Temple, a task complicated by the increasingly untrustworthy realms, the minions of Circe sending her dark visions, as well as by the realities of the Christmas season in London – balls, society, scandal, and handsome young men.

Review: This is a quick and compelling read. Whether or not it’s better than the first is debatable. It loses some of the fun of playing with boarding school/new girl conventions, but London society is an equally rich setting – perhaps more so, since we’re better allowed to see the real-life powerlessness of the girls, in sharper contrast to their magical power within the realms. Another point in this one’s favor is that it explains some of the workings of the magical system a bit more clearly – how the realms work, some more of the history of the Order and the Rakshana. On the other hand, this book doesn’t have quite the dark sense of danger permeating the first one, and it can get a bit repetitive at times, particularly in the descriptions of the realms – something about the writing style just isn’t my taste. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Not perfect, but definitely enjoyable and a good (if not better) follow-up to the first.

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