Book Review: Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle #2) by Libba Bray

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.

I loved A Great and Terrible Beauty, but Rebel Angels was even better!  This book was impossible to put down and I read it in a day, despite its hefty size (548 pages).  
I really like that Libba Bray has included modern-day concerns for teens such as cutting, low self-esteem,  guilt, and lying about your past in her series.  That's not to say that I like that a character is tortured enough to cut herself, but I do like that the issues are included in the story.  I think these elements make the characters even more real.  

Bray continues the plot twists we enjoyed in the first book.  No one is who you think they are, and the reader is left in the dark with Gemma.  Gemma's love life is further developed in this book, and she makes a choice at the end that I really appreciated.  It's nice to see a heroine in YA literature stand up for herself like that!  

Have you read this series?  Doesn't your heart just break for poor Ann?  I think Ann is my favorite character.  I'm rooting for her to find happiness. 

I can't say enough good things about this book.  I love the way Bray has developed the characters---each one has their flaws but are still inherently likable and I find myself so caught up in their individual stories.  The imagery reminds me of Cassandra Clare's: just perfect. The plot keeps you guessing, and the romance leaves you wanting more.  I would recommend this series to anyone!   

Just One Gripe: 
I have no gripes.  I think this book was darn near perfect!

The Best Thing About This Book: 
The layered plot is excellent, but I think the best thing is the outstanding imagery.  

Appropriate for a younger audience: 

Characters: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Setting/Imagery: 5/5
Originality: 5/5
Ending: 5/5
Total Score:  25/25


  1. YAY! I'm so glad you liked this one more! It's definitely my favorite out of the three.

    If you get a chance, check out my new giveaway at my blog!

  2. Damn near perfect huh? I definitely need to give this series a try then! It sounds like there is great characterization and I'm a huge fan of Cassandra Clare, so that bodes well for the imagery:) Great review Kelli, thanks for the recommendation!

  3. I really enjoyed this series as well. I met Libba Bray last year at the Texas Book Festival. She's a great speaker as well as a wonderful writer.

  4. Arghhhhhhhhhh... I am going to jump in after you rated this 25! That's perfection in a nutshell. Great review Kelli!


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