The Gemma Doyle Trilogy

A Great and Terrible Beauty
Rebel Angels
The Sweet Far Thing

This is a ton of words about a girls only boarding school in Victorian society. I think each goes over the 600 pages mark, with the last one ending in double that. No wonder I didn’t manage in the three weeks the library gave me, no matter how easy to read the novels are.

It’s not just boarding school; main character Gemma has to adjust to a new country (she moves to England from India), her family falling apart, and oh yeah – having a magical connection to another world.

So, Gemma has to juggle new friendships and enemies, magic, society’s expectations of a young woman, school, and a crush on a may-or-may-not-be bad guy.

Usually the first book out of a series, is the strongest, but I think I enjoyed the second one more this time. Everything and -one is fitted more into the right space, and the magical world(s) are developed a bit more. The third book is seemingly never ending, but gives a sobering, slightly surprising conclusion.

I’d take breathers between the three of them, or just go for Libba Bray’s other work. The Diviners, for example.

The Gemma Doyle trilogy, Libba Bray, Random House Children’s Books 2007

The Magician

The charity auction hadn’t started until well after midnight, when the gala dinner had ended.

Nergens op de cover of info-flap staat beschreven dat dit het tweede boek uit een serie is, in plaats van alleenstaand. Niet dat het veel uitmaakt hoor, alles wordt in hapklare brokken opgediend.

Er is Nicholas Flamel, zijn vrouw en andere onsterfelijken en die vechten tegen andere onsterfelijken die mensen in slaven en voer willen veranderen. Er is een tweeling, de machtigste tweeling ooit, zodra ze hun magische machten onder conreole hebben en aan welke kant zullen ze eindigen?
Er zijn – puntje voor de auteur – mythische creaties en eens niet alleen uit de westerse wereld. Gooi daar explosies, woeste magie en geheime bad guys bij en het kan zo in het rijtje voor-kinderen-ook-super-vermakelijk-boven-20.

Alleen dat gebrek aan duidelijkheid hè. Liep ik tegen een open einde omdat de auteur niet genoeg had aan 500 pagina’s.

The Secrets of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel: The Magician, Michael Scott, Random House Children’s Books 2008

Wonder

I know I’m not an ordinary ten-year-old kid.

August goes to school for the first time when he’s ten years old. Before that he’s been home-schooled, sheltered from the world. Because August looks very different. His face especially isn’t like that of other children. He’d rather walk around with an astronaut’s helmet than show his face, but his parents think it’s time for school. So he goes.

Wonder lets August and different people around him share how the world looks when you are/have something looking different in it. In the beginning there are stares, names and discomfort, but later on the stories show that it’s more about the unusual and how everyone reacts to it, then it is about August, and who he is. He can’t help this, he is just another kid in an original body.

Things have to happen (of course) before August and his parents and his older sister all realize that school is school, no matter who attends it. Bad things happen, good things happen and it’s you and the people around you that make a difference. R.J. Palacio manages to drive the point home without adding Life Lessons and deep morals. Wonder is an easy read with characters that learn and develop themselves.

Wonder, R.J. Palacio, Random House Children’s Books 2012