Fantasy, historical fiction, young adult

Audiobook Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

A great and terrible beauty audiobook cover

Title: A Great and Terrible Beauty (Unabridged)
Author: Libba Bray
Narrator: Josephine Bailey
Publisher: Random House, Inc. & Listen Library
Length: 11 hours 13 minutes
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction, fantasy
Rating: 4 folded pages

Blurb:

It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?

Review:

The last time I read a great and terrible beauty by libba bray I was 13. I remember having to look up nearly every other word or suffer through not knowing half of what was being said but I loved it none-the-less.  I decided to give audiobooks a try recently and started with something I’ve been meaning to re-read for a while considering it’s been almost 9 years.

I still love the plot as much as I remember which makes me really happy. I was slightly afraid I’d read (or rather listen to) it and I wouldn’t like it. I do think the book has a slow start. I kept wondering when they would get to the magic bit. The writing is still phenomenal though. I think that combined with listening to it rather than physically reading it is why I didn’t get impatient like I normally would.

The narrator, Josephine Bailey, did an amazing job. Every voice felt distinct and her British Victorian accent for Gemma felt very real. I enjoyed the way she pronounced and enunciated words and her voice wasn’t grating at all.

I thoroughly love Gemma but I did feel like some of the side characters like Pipper, Ann and Felicity could have been fleshed out a little more. Especially Pipper, I feel like most of the book we just get an annoying, jealous girl who’s afraid of losing Felicity to Gemma. I would have liked to see more go on between Gemma and Pipper to warrant some of what happens in the end. Another reason I couldn’t give this book a full 5 folded pages.

I enjoyed every minute of listening to this audiobook. I think I’m going make audiobooks a part of my reading. I had never really thought about it before, but I enjoyed listening to it while doing chores and taking walks.

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