Monday, May 3, 2010
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!