This is the sequel to A Great and Terrible Beauty, which I read last month.
From Random House: (too lazy to type the flap)
Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Academy—spending time with her friends in the city, attending balls in fancy gowns with plunging necklines, and dallying with the handsome Lord Denby. Yet amid these distractions, her visions intensify—visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened that only the realms can explain.
The lure is strong, and soon Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are turning flowers into butterflies in the enchanted world that Gemma takes 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. Kartik is back, desperately insisting to Gemma that she must bind the magic, lest colossal disaster befall her. Gemma is willing to comply, for this would bring her face-to-face with her late mother's greatest friend, now Gemma's foe—Circe. Until Circe is destroyed, Gemma cannot live out her destiny. But finding Circe proves a most perilous task. . . .
This sumptuous companion to A Great and Terrible Beauty teems with Victorian thrills and chills that play out against the rich backdrop of 1895 London, a place of shadows and light . . . where inside great beauty can lie a rebel angel.
They call it on the book a companion to A Great and Terrible Beauty, but it really takes place 2 months after the events from the previous book, so I think it is better termed as a sequel. And there better be another sequel because I really enjoyed this book!
A lot happens in this novel. It is a bit longer than the first book, which I found great because it was more to enjoy. The same characters are present: Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are still attending Spence and dealing with being teenagers, as they are sixteen years old when this book takes place. They come from different lives and different backgrounds, which makes their interactions more interesting. Gemma lost her mother in the first book and her father is dealing with sustance abuse. Her grandmother wants what is best for her, but can be rather uptight, and her brother is rather shallow. Felicity's mother was in France for the first book, but is back around. We also meet her beloved father in this book, but looks can be deceiving. And then there is Ann, totally alone in the world and living on the charity of others. She begins to gain confidence in this book and really shine.
Pippa and Kartik are back. Pippa got left behind in the realms in book one, so she is a different character than she was in the first book. You are never really sure what to make of her, and what has happened to her really bothers Gemma. Kartrik is one of my favourite characters. Gemma is upper-class and can treat him rather badly, but I like him. I think he adds an interesting aspect to the books. In this one, Gemma has to figure out where he stands in her circle.
It was a very well-written book, that just grabbed you. I could not put it down after I get a bit of a ways into it, and when I did, I was thinking about when I would be able to read it again. I read most of it today while I should have been doing a million other things, but anyways. It was too good to put down. In the last book, Gemma had to destroy the things that held the magic in the realms, and now it is causing problems that she is the only one that can fix. It is really a novel where she has to figure out who she can trust, who her real friends are, and what she is truly capable of. All the girls begin to really grow up and find themselves in this book.
I think everyone that likes a good, slightly fantastic novel should read this book. It will hold you until the very last page.
For more information, go here: Random House.
5/5 (a rare thing from me for a young adult book, and no idea what I will do if I like book 3 even more!)