Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Rebel Angels

Rebel Angels

Libba Bray
Fiction  Series
For ages 14 and up
Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2007   ISBN: 978-0385733410

Gemma and her friends Felicity and Ann are slowly beginning to recover from the loss of their friend Pippa. With Christmas approaching, Gemma hopes that a break from the Spence Academy will do them all some good and give them something else to think about. Then Kartik comes to see her again, and this time he tells her that she must find a temple in the realms. Apparently this temple is the source of all the magic in the realms, and when she broke the runes during her last visit to the magical place she freed all the magic, letting it loose so that anyone could claim it. Only by binding the magic in the temple can she once again bring order to the realms. Of course Kartik, being a member of the Rakshana, wants her to bind the magic in the name of his organization. Gemma, being a member of the Order, should want to bind the magic in the name of her organization. The problem is that Gemma has no idea where this temple is. How will she find it?

There also is another problem. There is Circe. Gemma did not defeat Circe the last time they met, and Gemma is certain and this enemy, this woman who had her mother killed, will want to bind the magic in the realms for herself.

As Gemma tries to find out where the temple is she is tormented by dreams and visions of three girls dressed in white. Who are these three girls and what terrible thing happened to them? Somehow Gemma is certain that they are connected to Circe and to the realms.

Meanwhile Gemma, Felicity and Ann leave Spence and go to London for the Christmas holidays. Gemma meets a charming young man, Lord Denby, who certainly seems enamored with her. There are dinners, a ball, and an evening at the opera, which are punctuated by journeys to the realms with Felicity and Ann. On the one hand Gemma is a lovely young woman being wooed by a very eligible young man, and on the other she is a "witch" or "priestess" of the Order who is trying to prevent the realms from collapsing into chaos. At the same time she is doing her best to help her father who is fast falling into the misery of opium addiction. It is not surprising that Gemma finds herself wondering who on earth she is. Is she the school girl, the priestess, the witch, the would-be wife of a Lord, or something else altogether?

In this sequel to A great and terrible beauty Libby Bray once again takes her readers into a world that is completely absorbing and altogether fascinating. Readers will be able to see how Gemma grows, finding confidence in herself as she begins to come to terms which who she is and her destiny. It is without a doubt a painful process, and Gemma makes more than a few mistakes along the way. But, in the end, she finds her own way and refuses to be dictated to. She is willing to break the rules and accept the consequences.

Beautifully written and unlike any other book out there, this is a title that will have readers eagerly asking for more of the same.