Monday, May 3, 2010

Recommended Reads


This weekend I re-read one of my favorite book series, Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and The Sweet Far Thing.

Then I read Elana Johnson's post today and decided to spread the awesome that is Libba Bray.

While I have yet to read Going Bovine, I just adored how lyrically Bray wove together the story of Gemma Doyle, and how well she fleshed out her main characters, four young girls in a British finishing school who want more out of their predictable Victorian existence.

I know this series has met with mixed reviews, but it captivated me in a way that kept me thinking about the book and the characters long after I finished reading. It doesn't hurt that I was raised with a healthy love of Frances Hodgsen Burnett's A Little Princess, which instilled in me a curiosity about both India and Victorian England.

What I really love is how her prose borders on the poetic without being to florid or purple. Style. A style I find myself trying (and usually failing) to emulate. Hence this weekend's re-read. There were times when I found I had to force myself to pay attention to things like dialogue and tags and beats, etc., because I was just letting the writing sweep me away again.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a fantasy, paranormal girl, through and through, and I loved the plots, but I really love it when an author can tell the story using such beautiful prose. I found that in these books.

On another note, Bray's less than immediately likable boarding school girls helped me decide not to make Mara from STRINGS too likable. I didn't think she had to be to captivate the reader. I never liked Bray's Felicity Worthington, but I was captivated by her none the less.

Finally, the idea of the four girls finding power in an age where women were essentially powerless wasn't lost on me. I appreciate how much research Bray must have done, and how hard it must have been to keep from preaching the truth unnecessarily. Yet another aspect of these books that kept me thinking long after the books were finished and put back on the shelf.

I hope you'll share your favorite books with the world!

25 comments:

KM said...

I've tried reading this book, but I was in the middle of school and my brain was too frazzled to comprehend anything. I'm also captivated by the Victorian England/India duo, so this is definitely on the TBR pile. Eventually, I'll get back to it. :)

Angela said...

Oh I want to read this book. I have Going Bovine on my desk right now!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY is on my TBR.

Elana Johnson said...

Dude, I thought you were doing As You Wish by Jackson Pearce! Oh well, I'll change it to Libba Bray for you! *wink*

Did you see the list here: http://elanajohnson.blogspot.com/p/recommended-reads.html

Have you been getting my updates? I must be made of fail...

Elana Johnson said...

Oh, and will you link to Tiffany? That would be awesomesauce: http://tiffanyneal.blogspot.com/2010/05/spread-awesome-books-that-deserve-10.html

Elana Johnson said...

OMGosh, I am such a fail today! Forget linking to Tiffany. Sorry! Just ignore all that. I got you confused with someone else!

Nisa said...

Oh I really need to pick up a couple books by Libby Bray and read them. They're on my list. My very long list... Hehe! Thanks for the review!

Suzette Saxton said...

This book kept me reading from first to last - not many books do!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I read that series and was amazed at her ability to capture the time and constraints society put upon the characters. Going Bovine is soooooo different. I love it for it's off-the-wall brilliance.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I loved the series. Great review!

Elle Strauss said...

Thanks for the recommend. I'll check it out one day.

Icy Roses said...

Funnily enough, I posted on LiLa's blog today that one of the things I want to do before I die is have lunch with Libba Bray, haha.

jessjordan said...

I just bought the first in this series, after hearing a million good things about it. Now I'm afraid to read it ... I don't wanna be let down!

Jonathon Arntson said...

A) Elana's comments just made me laugh out loud.

B) I adored GOING BOVINE, so this should be a shoe in?

C) Maybe not, but I am picking it up anyway!

Abby Annis said...

I still have Going Bovine sitting on my shelf telling what a slacker I am for not having read it yet. I'm saving it for research for my next story. Sure. That's it. ;)

Thanks for the recommendation. These books sound really cool! Can't wait to check them out. :)

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

I look forward to reading Libba Bray's series. And you know what? Some of my all-time favorite books have received very mixed reviews. It's the work with real style, with intelligence, and with a strong message that some don't "get." I'll definitely pick these up!

Nichole Giles said...

I haven't read this one, but did read Going Bovine about two weeks ago. I loved Bray's style, and agree that she has a way with lyrical prose. Ever since, I've had this series on my lise. I need to check it out. Thanks!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I haven't read these, but you've convinced me, Tere! I'm so glad you decided to join the party today! :-)

Zoe C. Courtman said...

Hey, Tere! Just found your blog - nice! And I really dug this trilogy; Bray nailed the atmosphere (the "brood" of that old boarding school) and the characters. Loved to hate Felicity :D

Krispy said...

I just finished the last book in the series. Overall, I really enjoyed them, though I liked the first one the most. Agree with everything you said about Libba Bray's prose. It just sucks you in and feels so effortless. I also loved how not all the characters were likeable at first, and how they continue to be frustrating and not necessarily likeable as the books continue.

I need to get my hands on GOING BOVINE.

Julie Dao said...

I've read that book :) I thought it was entertaining and interesting, but haven't checked out any of the sequels. Did you hear that there are movie rumors? I haven't heard any more about that, but they were talking about it at one time.

Jackee said...

Man, I've had this darn series on my bookshelf for years and I still haven't gotten to it. Thanks for your reccomendation--now I'll move it up on my TBR. Have you read her head-trippy Going Bovine? If so, what did you think?

Have a great weekend!

Callie Forester said...

I really liked this series. I agree that her prose was beautiful. One of those writers that makes me sigh and think I'll never be that good. lol...and the characters really stuck in my head, long after I finished the series. I wasn't huge on the ending, but as a whole I enjoyed them enough to absolutely recommend them.

On another note, Going Bovine was fantastic. Totally one-thousand percent different from the Gemma Doyle stuff. I mean, even the writing style, everything. I don't know how she could do that!

It was actually different than anything I'd ever read, that's why I loved it so much. If you are looking for an amazing book with some truly mind blowing concepts, make sure to pick this one up!

Lisa and Laura said...

I LOVE the Gemma Doyle trilogy. We have Going Bovine in our TBR pile. Can't wait to read!

Jen said...

Your blog is cute!!! It seems that we have a lot of blog buddies in common I don't know how I could have missed you before hand!

This book looks like one good read so I'll be sure to check it out!