Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

Have you read Blythe’s review of A Great and Terrible Beauty?

by Blythe Robbins

Caught Between Two Worlds

When we last left sixteen-year-old Gemma Doyle in A Great and Terrible Beauty, she had just buried her friend Pippa and figured out her destiny: She alone must unite the once powerful sorceress group, The Order, and defeat the evil Circe. Now, several months later, Rebel Angels finds Gemma and her friends still grieving for their lost friend, but eagerly looking forward to the upcoming distraction of Christmas balls, handsome men, and holiday festivities.

But just before the girls leave for London, Kartik–handsome member of the mysterious Rakshana–appears with shocking news: Gemma has unknowingly loosened the magic in the realms, allowing anyone to access it. Now, the only way to gain control over the magic is for Gemma to find the hidden Temple and bind the magic.

Gemma arrives in London dead-set on completing Kartik’s task, but she soon finds that London is full of distractions that are difficult to ignore. Juggling the interest of the noble Simon Middleton, her father’s continuing drug addiction, weighty supernatural visions, and ramblings from a mad girl in a mental hospital is no easy task–especially in a corset!

The girls, however, have not forgotten about the task at hand, and they return to the realms whenever possible, especially when they find that Pippa is still alive. Emboldened by the power the magic gives them in a world where they’re not allowed much freedom, the girls spirit away in the middle of a luncheon, dance, or opera, hoping to find a way to bind the power that lies within the realms.

Of course, there are various factions vying for power: The mysterious Rakshana, the elusive sorceresses of The Order, and the evil Circe. As the girls race around London and the realms trying to figure out who they can trust, they reveal more about themselves than ever before. Felicity unveils a shocking dark secret that sheds light on her occasional cruelty to others.  Ann displays a more rebellious side as she lies about her social status to gain entrance into Gemma and Felicity’s world. And Gemma doubts whether to welcome the attentions of Simon, even if it means disappointing her family.

There is no doubt that Rebel Angels is even more of a page-turner than the previous Gemma Doyle novel, with meatier story lines, grittier characters, and settings even more fabulous than before. Gemma manages to juggle the world of high society London with that of the magical realms in this book, but it will surely come to a head in the final novel of the trilogy: which world will Gemma choose? Or will she be capable of living in both?

Blythe Robbins, a Californian living in New York City, is a geeky editor by day. At night, she can be found reading or writing YA fiction.

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