26 February 2008

"a curse upon her if she stay"

So something you may not know about me is that I tend to start things and then abandon them for months at a time. It happens a lot; I still have boyfriends from high school who are waiting for me to call them after I get home from dance practice. Okay, that's an exaggeration, obviously. Everyone knows I didn't have any boyfriends in high school.

At any rate, I apologize for my absence from the blogosphere (that's such a dumb word. Like I don't even think it makes sense in a scientific way. Where is the blogosphere located? At what distance from the earth? Will you be burned on your journey through defamer or Perez? Probably.) and can only offer for my excuse that I have been very busy buying a new car and being screwed over by the IRS. Also, tv.

One of the many reasons I've been kept busy is the fact that the third book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy has finally been released. So in anticipation of that event, I reread the first two books and am now happily ensconced in the last one, dreading the conclusion and hoping against hope that if the book does feature an epilogue, it does not involve Gemma's 2.5 children boarding a train for Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Yeah, I'm still not over that.

But perhaps I should back up and explain. Here is a true fact about yours truly: I love YA novels. Love them. People are usually either shocked or disdainful when I tell them this, which is dumb, because hello, we were all young adults at one time. Also, sometimes YA books talk about sex.

The Gemma Doyle trilogy is written by Libba Bray and is about a young teenage girl called Gemma (natch) who struggles to make her way in a repressive Victorian society whilst all the while grappling with a strange and exotic power that has been bestowed upon her. Joining her in her quests to discover the secrets of a magical dreamworld (while also learning how to properly serve tea) are her finishing school friends: the charming and damaged Felicity, beautiful and impestuous Pippa and scholarship student Ann, the emo self-harmer. (Whatever, I sort of hate Ann sometimes. Okay, you're poor and you'll have to be a governess to your bratty cousins! That's no reason to break out the sewing scissors, Maggie Gyllenhaal.) And, most deliciously, Kartik, the young Indian boy with whom Gemma would secretly like to have lots of sex and babies. So would I, Gemma! So would I.

The first book, A Great and Terrible Beauty sees Gemma struggling with her mother's death and a subsequent move to England from her childhood home of Bombay. She and her friends learn about the dark past of their finishing school, a secret group of powerful women called The Order, and the beauty of a place called the realms, where all their secret hopes can come true. Who controls the magic in the realms? Who are Mary and Sarah? And why won't Gemma just do it with Kartik already?

The second book in the trilogy is Rebel Angels and it picks up shortly after the first book ends. The girls have all changed: Gemma is experiencing frightening visions, Ann is struggling to invent a place for herself in British society, Felicity's secrets are revealed and poor Pippa is not at all what she seems. Gemma meets and is courted by the well-to-do Simon Middleton even as she fights her feelings for Kartik, and struggles to find a way to save her father from his opium addiction. Meanwhile, she struggles to find and destroy the villainous Circe and avoid the treachery of both the Order and their protectors, the Rakshana. And she still doesn't do it with Kartik, because she can't hear me screaming at her through the page.

The series ends with the most recent book, TheSweet Far Thing and I'm deep in the middle of it. No one is quite what they seem and poor Gemma has more enemies than ever. AND SHE STILL HASN'T GOTTEN IT ON WITH KARTIK. But they're getting closer. :)

Recommended for: fantasy lovers, girl power lovers and Jane Austen lovers. But hands off Kartik. I saw him first.

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