Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle Trilogy #2)

Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle Trilogy #2)

by Libba Bray


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Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Academy—spending time with her friends in the city, attending balls in fancy gowns with plunging necklines, and dallying with the handsome Lord Denby. Yet amid these distractions, her visions intensify—visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened that only the realms can explain.

The lure is strong, and soon Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are turning flowers into butterflies in the enchanted world that Gemma takes them to. To the girls' great joy, their beloved Pippa is there as well, eager to complete their circle of friendship.

But all is not well in the realms—or out. Kartik is back, desperately insisting to Gemma that she must bind the magic, lest colossal disaster befall her. Gemma is willing to comply, for this would bring her face-to-face with her late mother's greatest friend, now Gemma's foe—Circe. Until Circe is destroyed, Gemma cannot live out her destiny. But finding Circe proves a most perilous task. . . .

This sumptuous companion to A Great and Terrible Beauty teems with Victorian thrills and chills that play out against the rich backdrop of 1895 London, a place of shadows and light . . . where inside great beauty can lie a rebel angel.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385733410
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 12/26/2006
Series: Gemma Doyle Trilogy Series , #2
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 122,491
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.22(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Libba Bray is the New York Times bestselling author of the Gemma Doyle trilogy (A Great and Terrible BeautyRebel Angels, and The Sweet Far Thing); the Michael L. Printz Award-winning Going BovineBeauty Queens, an L.A. Times Book Prize finalist; and The Diviners series. She is originally from Texas but makes her home in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, son, and two sociopathic cats. Visit her at and at @libbabray on Twitter and Instagram.

Read an Excerpt

December 1895
Spence Academy for Young Ladies

Ah, Christmas!
The very mention of the holiday conjures such precious, sentimental memories for most: a tall evergreen tree hung with tinsel and glass; gaily wrapped presents strewn about; a roaring fire and glasses filled with cheer; carolers grouped round the door, their jaunty hats catching the snow as it falls; a nice fat goose resting upon a platter, surrounded by apples. And of course, fig pudding for dessert.
Right. Jolly good. I should like to see that very much.
These images of Christmas cheer are miles away from where I sit now, at the Spence Academy for Young Ladies, forced to construct a drummer boy ornament using only tinfoil, cotton, and a small bit of string, as if performing some diabolical experiment in cadaver regeneration. Mary Shelley's monster could not be half so frightening as this ridiculous thing. The figure will not remind a soul of Christmas happiness. More likely, it will reduce children to tears.
"This is impossible," I grumble. I elicit no pity from any quarter. Even Felicity and Ann, my two dearest friends, which is to say my only friends here, will not come to my aid. Ann is determined to turn wet sugar and small bits of kindling into an exact replica of the Christ child in a manger. She seems to take no notice of anything beyond her own two hands. For her part, Felicity turns her cool gray eyes to me as if to say, Suffer. I am.
No, instead, it is the beastly Cecily Temple who answers me. Dear, dear Cecily, or as I affectionately refer to her in the privacy of my mind, She Who Inflicts Misery Simply by Breathing.
"I cannot fathom what is giving you such trouble, Miss Doyle. Really, it is the simplest thing in the world. Look, I've done four already." She holds out her four perfect tinfoil boys for inspection. There is a round of oohing and aahing over their beautifully shaped arms, the tiny woolen scarves—knit by Cecily's capable hands, but of course—and those delicate licorice smiles that make them seem overjoyed to be hanging by the neck from a Christmas tree.
Two weeks until Christmas and my mood blackens by the hour. The tinfoil boy seems to be begging me to shoot him. Compelled by a force larger than myself, I cannot seem to keep from placing the crippled ornament boy on the side table and performing a little show. I move the ugly thing, forcing him to drag his useless leg like Mr. Dickens's treacly Tiny Tim.
"God bless us, every one," I warble in a pathetic, high-pitched voice.
This is greeted by horrified silence. Every eye is averted. Even Felicity, who is not known as the soul of decorum, seems cowed. Behind me, there is the familiar sound of a throat being cleared in grand disapproval. I turn to see Mrs. Nightwing, Spence's frosty headmistress, staring down at me as if I were a leper. Blast.
"Miss Doyle, do you suppose that to be humorous? Making light of the very real pain of London's unfortunates?"
"I—I . . . why . . ."
Mrs. Nightwing peers at me over her spectacles. Her graying pouf of hair is like a nimbus warning of the storm to come.
"Perhaps, Miss Doyle, if you were to spend time in service to the poor, wrapping bandages as I once did in my own youth during the Crimean War, you would acquire a healthy and much-needed dose of sympathy."
"Y-yes, Mrs. Nightwing. I don't know how I could have been so unkind," I blabber.
Out of the corner of my eye, I can see Felicity and Ann hunched over their ornaments as if they were fascinating relics from an archeological dig. I note that their shoulders are trembling, and I realize that they are fighting laughter over my terrible plight. There's friendship for you.
"For this you shall lose ten good conduct marks and I shall expect you to perform an act of charity during the holiday as penance."
"Yes, Mrs. Nightwing."
"You shall write a full account of this charitable act and tell me how it has enriched your character."
"Yes, Mrs. Nightwing."
"And that ornament needs much work."
"Yes, Mrs. Nightwing."
"Have you any questions?"
"Yes, Mrs. Nightwing. I meant, no, Mrs. Nightwing. Thank you."
An act of charity? Over the holiday? Would enduring time with my brother, Thomas, count toward that end? Blast. I've done it now.
"Mrs. Nightwing?" The sheer sound of Cecily's voice could make me froth at the mouth. "I hope these are satisfactory. I do so want to be of service to the unfortunate."
It's possible that I shall lose consciousness from holding back a very loud Ha! at this. Cecily, who never misses an opportunity to tease Ann about her scholarship status, wants nothing to do with the poor. What she does want is to be Mrs. Nightwing's lapdog.
Mrs. Nightwing holds Cecily's perfect ornaments up to the light for inspection. "These are exemplary, Miss Temple. I commend you."
Cecily gives a very smug smile. "Thank you, Mrs. Nightwing."
Ah, Christmas.
With a heavy sigh, I take apart my pathetic ornament and begin again. My eyes burn and blur. I rub them but it does no good. What I need is sleep, but sleep is the very thing I fear. For weeks, I've been haunted by wicked warnings of dreams. I cannot remember much when I awaken, only snatches here and there. A sky roiling with red and gray. A painted flower dripping tears of blood. Strange forests of light. My face, grave and questioning, reflected in water. But the images that stay with me are of her, beautiful and sad.
"Why did you leave me here?" she cries, and I cannot answer. "I want to come back. I want us to be together again." I break away and run, but her cry finds me. "It's your fault, Gemma! You left me here! You left me!"
That is all I remember when I wake each morning before dawn, gasping and covered in perspiration, more tired than when I went to bed. They are only dreams. Then why do they leave me feeling so troubled?

Table of Contents

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Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle Series #2) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 680 reviews.
songcatchers More than 1 year ago
This second novel in Libba Bray's trilogy is at least as good as the first, A Great and Terrible Beauty. This has all the magic and intrigue of the first book plus more! We get to explore more of The Realms and see more of the strange and unique inhabitants. Gemma struggles to find the Temple in the Realms and bind the magic that is running rampant for anyone to abuse. She struggles to help her father with his addiction to laudanum. She struggles with her feelings about the dashing Simon Middleton as well as her feelings for Kartik. Gemma has many conflicts to face and overcome in Rebel Angels. There are characters in this book who are not who they seem to be and Gemma has to decide who she can trust and who she cannot. Libba Bray is a fantastic writer who brings her characters to life. She does a wonderful job at giving each character a distinct personality. This book has humor, romance, suspense, fantasy all blended together into a story that is fun, entertaining and will leave you wanting more!
Niesey31 More than 1 year ago
what an amazing trilogy!!! highly recommend the Gemma Doyle series to anyone who enjoys supernaturl mixed with some romance and excitement!!!! I am a 32 year old woman so that just goes to show its not just for teen readers. could not put this one down, anything i say couldnt do it much justice just read it!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Omg i love the romance in this book! Its so exciting! Who does she love more Katrik or simon middleton! I GO FOR HANDSOME KATRIK!!! TEAM KATRIK OR TEAM SIMON! Im TEAM KATRIK!!!!!!!!
SILENT_SOUL More than 1 year ago
#2 of this series is intense and you can tell it'll bring a bang to the last book. This book brought more life into the characters. This book is highly recommended for the reader who wants something more than just a quick read. If you love a good mystery that will leave you guessing till the very end then this book is for you. Beautiful writing, angles and the right amount of romance circulates smoothly in Rebel Angels.
WingdReader6 More than 1 year ago
"Rebel Angels" was such a great sequel to the already amazing "The Great and Terrible Beauty". Libba Bray has done an amazing job on this follow up as with the first book I couldn't stay away till I was finished.
Christinewannabe47 More than 1 year ago
Another excellent book by Bray. Intriguing, sad, happy, exciting, what else do you want? Not slow, a wonderful read. The characters flourish even more, if that's at all possible. Even if you haven't read the first, it's easy to pick up the story, which is great. Definately a keeper and a part of my library for a very long time!
xojewlzx012 More than 1 year ago
This book was soo awesome! I loved it alot more then the 1st one. The 1st moved kind of slow, but it was till good, but this one had you on the edge of your seat and i couldn't put it down. The end was a surprise too, it was a good twist. I recommend it.
Janae More than 1 year ago
I read the first one very fast and loved it. I was delighted to find out that there was a second (as well as a thrid). I was a little worried that the second might be a disapointment, because after the adventure they just had how could there be any more...But I was wrong. The second was just as good if not better! It was darker and full of more epic adventure! We learn about the realms as well as getting to venture more deep within. The girls are starting to grow up and mature. They have to face bigger foes, such as Poppy Warriors and a new teacher.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heck yes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Gemma Doyle Trilogy is my favorite series. This book does not disappoint those those who have finished the first book and crave more of Gemma Doyle's adventures. The first book did not give me a chance to understand Gemma's character but this book remedies that. We learn all about Gemma's hardships.The book's setting is not at Spence and instead various houses around London. We also learn much more about Felicity's character and home life. From Ann, who doesn't really have a home life, we begin understanding a little more about her personality and insecurities. The only problem I had with character development is Felicity's attitude. Sure, she seems like a great girl sometimes and I have sympathy for her troubles, but sometimes she has such an attitude toward her friends I wonder why Gemma and Ann put up with it. Maybe Libba is building up to something. I hope so.This book is constant heart-pounding action. Every page is filled with adventure and suspense. There wasn't a minute that something dull happened. A great read, and a real page-turner!
stelle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It had me dying for more!
KathrynGrace on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As wonderful as the first.
alana_leigh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So, remember how I said I wouldn't continue reading this series unless I stumbled upon a used copy of the next books? Well, I found one of Rebel Angels, the second in the series by Libba Bray, and I also had an afternoon where all I wanted was something easy to read that I could finish quickly. This fit the bill.Of course, that doesn't mean that I liked the second novel any more than the first. I actually preferred the first, because this seemed to fall victim to the usual muddled second novel problems.It is shortly before Christmas at Spence, a finishing school for girls in England, and everyone is getting ready to return to their homes for the holidays. Gemma is scheduled to head to London for Christmas with her grandmother, father, and brother; Felicity will also be in London with her father the Admiral and her mother, who is hosting the most popular ball of the Christmas season; and poor, orphaned Ann will be staying at Spence with the servants. It's been nearly two months since the girls learned about the Order, visited the Realms, and had their terrible encounter with Circe. This resulted in the death of their friend Pippa, who chose to remain in the Realms rather than face a loveless marriage and continue keeping her epilepsy a secret. While Felicity, Gemma and Ann miss her dearly, Gemma is unwilling to enter the Realms again for fear of what she'll find there, after having smashed the stones that kept the magic from flowing freely. It is only after a visit from Kartik (the young Indian man ordered to watch Gemma in the last novel by his own sect, the Rakshana) where he urges her to enter the Realms again to bind the magic in the Temple that Gemma and her friends attempt to return. Of course, what Gemma doesn't know is that Kartik has been ordered to help her find the Temple, bind the magic to the Rakshana instead of the Order, and then kill her. Kartik has mixed feelings on this last bit, seeing as he seems as conflictingly smitten with Gemma as she is with him.Rather than separate the girls for the course of the narrative (which takes place entirely during the Christmas break), Felicity uncharacteristically invites Ann home with her for the holidays with the plan of spreading the rumor that Ann is really descended from Russian royalty. Before Gemma even makes it home from the train station, she meets Simon, a young aristocrat of good breeding. He's rumored to have a bit of a reputation as a ladies' man, but he seems rather open in his courtship of her. There are a number of other details that all come into play in terms of the narrative: Gemma's brother is desperately trying to break their father's addiction to laudanum (and later, opium) while home from his duties as a doctor at Bethlam Bedlam insane asylum; Gemma learns of a girl at Bethlam who might also have access to the Realms and know where to find the temple; there's concern over a new teacher at Spence who might know more than she lets on; Gemma meets up once again with Miss Moore, their old art teacher from Spence who lost her job as a result of Gemma and her friends; Felicity's family has taken on a new ward which irritates Felicity, though perhaps not for entirely selfish reasons; and while it might be nice to see Pippa again, Gemma is uncertain whether Pippa can be trusted, as souls in the Realms who do not cross over are usually corrupted. Of all these, the last is the most interesting, as Bray seems to have no problem turning beautiful Pippa into a rather terrifying creature before the book is over.So as you can see, there's a lot of balls in the air and Bray tries her best to keep them all going. I found that there were a few too many scenes that didn't seem that necessary. One of which involved Gemma dressing up as a boy to pull her father out of an opium den. Perhaps the most irritating scene of all, though, took place at a ball when Simon persuades Gemma and her friends into trying absinthe... which unsurprisingly has a bad effect on Gemma, who alre
thenightbookmobile on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rebel Angels is the second book in the Gemma Doyle series and takes Gemma and her friends out of their boarding school and out on to the streets of London. When she's not in the Realms battling water nymphs or in London vying for the attention of Simon Middleton Gemma finds herself visiting a very mad girl named Nell Hawkins. Nell is a patient at a local institution where Gemma's brother is employed. I found the loss of the boarding school setting did not do this continuation any favors, a certain feeling was lost along with the school and its creaking floor boards and closed down wings, but the institution was a welcome change from the fantasy of the Realms and put a very interesting spin on Gemma's adventures. For me this book did not meet the expectations that I had for the series after finishing A Great and Terrible Beauty but it was still enjoyable. Gemma Doyle continues to be a refreshing YA series full of clever characters and unexpected twists and turns.
Beatles101 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Something to read over and over!
roseysweetpea on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found the second installment in Gemma's story just as engaging as the first. Though I had already figured out the major plot twist, it was still intriguing to watch the characters unravel the mystery. As Gemma grows, she has more social challenges to deal with as well as her own special gift and that really humanizes her. It makes you wonder, how would I deal with living that double life? I can't wait to read the third and final (to my knowledge) book and see how it is all going to end.
vanedow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿This book was excellent for a second-of-a-series. If you liked the first one, I'm going to guess you'll like this one even more. It was the kind of book that just pulled me right in, leaving me literally speaking out loud to the characters. "Don't do that, you idiot!"Felicity and Ann drove me a little crazy with their annoying ways, especially in the first half of the book. Why on earth does Gemma hang out with these people, anyway? But I love the way the Kartik storyline is going. I'll definately be reading the final book.
megamegpie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So much better then the first of the series
keltwister on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I just finished this last night and my head is still spinning. I found the first one, A Great and Terrible Beauty interesting but not as riviting as some of my friends. Honestly, there were times I thought about putting it down. I'd just came off of the Twilight series so perhaps this great switch in storylines and setting was hard to adjust to. So when I bought the second one I opened it with a great sigh...hoping it would be a tad more interesting. I was pleased to see by just a few pages in I was hooked. The story takes place mostly in Victorian era London, so the setting is 10 times more intriguing! Without giving too much away, Gemma is faced of course with the task of sealing the magic within the realms before Circe finds Gemma and takes the magic for herself. The story twists and turns in ways I couldn't anticipate and ends in with a turn I didn't see coming (for this I'm extremely mad at myself). The character development in this story is greatly strengthend...we learn A LOT more about Gemma and Felicity and their families, are introduced to new characters and get to see old ones grow. Katrik is still pivitol to the storyline and I like how Libba Bray keeps the ties between Katrik and Gemma. This middle book in the series is strong and a GREAT read but won't want to put it down!
booksandbosox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Really good book. This series is very readable and enjoyable. Gemma is a bit irritating in her naive need for approval by Felicity and Ann's modesty about her singing is a bit tedious. I thought I had figured this all out and it was getting a bit predictable and then - BAM! Threw a curveball at me. Really refreshing twist there. I don't love the scandal with Kartik or Simon Middleton. I think this series is better when focusing on the girls and not their social exploits. But I'm still very much looking forward to book three!
calexis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you are fans of A Great and Terrible Beauty, you won't be disappointed with the sequel. And I love how it's set for Christmas time... what a perfect way to start my holidays. Anyways, about the book, I am going to admit that I still have the same conflicted emotions about the book as I did the first in the trilogy. I love Gemma Doyle. I think she's brave, stubborn and not like other girls. But her weakness seems to be the girls she calls her friends. It's true that eventually she will see the truth in them and usually does what she has to for the sake of everyone. But I feel as if Felicity and Ann have too much over her. Fee and Ann... are just not the sidekicks you imagine. True, they have a lot of redeeming points-- Fee has power in school, is spirited and lively. Ann ... honestly, at the moment, I can't seem to think of her redeeming points. Okay, she sings good.... gosh, that sounds weak. But the truth is... Fee and Ann gang up on Gemma a lot, forcing her to do things that usually lead them astray. So though they do help her out in the end, I get this uneasy feeling about them.As for the rest of the characters, well, great job on that. I loved Gemma and Kartik's chemistry in this book. I thought Simon was charming until... proven otherwise. I loved Tom's better, professional and compassionate side. I loved Gemma's father despite his weaknesses. As for Ms. Cleethly and Ms. Moore... awesome! haha. I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't read it yet. So there you have it. Hmm.. the paperback for The Sweet Far Thing isn't out till May of next year. Can I wait that long? I suppose I'll have to... I like books in a series to be of the same format.
susanbevans on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rebel Angels is the second book in Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy. After reading the first book, A Great and Terrible Beauty, I wasn't all that excited to finish the series. I just felt that the book promised something that it couldn't entirely deliver. I'm really glad I gave the series a second chance though, because Rebel Angels was really terrific! In this sequel, Gemma continues to pursue her destiny as the one who can bring order back to the realms. This book takes place over the winter break for Gemma and her friends Felicity and Ann. After Pippa's death in the first book, Gemma has been too frightened to return to the realms. Now she discovers that she is the only one who can bind the strong magic of the realms, and bring back balance. She must go back through the door of light and find the lost Temple. But Gemma must be very careful along the way, not everything in the realms (or in the "real world" for that matter) can be trusted. Dark beings are vying for power, beings that refuse to be denied. Rebel Angels has a complicated and twisting plot. In it we delve further into the magical world of the realms. We are introduced to more interesting characters: the gorgon, punished for her role in the uprising, bound to serve the Order for all time; the untouchables, creatures living in the forbidden Cave of Sighs; the evil poppy warriors, creatures who try to mislead the girls and capture the magic for themselves; and the water nymphs, who sing a siren's song to entrance the girls and steal their skin. The story is a traditional Gothic terror/suspense, complete with Victorian setting, foggy, misty woods, and even a lunatic asylum. It is extremely well written, rich with imagery, passion, secrets and intrigue, and of course magic. Rebel Angels is a thoroughly enthralling novel, and I was spellbound from almost the first page. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book
mikitchenlady on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In Rebel Angels, Bray takes us away from Spence Academy for most of the story, as Gemma, Felicity and Ann travel to London to celebrate the Christmas holidays. Of course, it wouldn't be the same if they didn't have to travel into the Realms to find out what's happening with Pippa. Plus, Kartik is back and has told Gemma she needs to bind the magic in order to keep Circe from getting access. And who is this new teacher, Miss McCleethy, and why does she seem to not like Gemma? And will Gemma's father get any better or will he remain addicted to laudunum as he morns the death of his wife.In some ways I liked this middle volume better than the first, as we got to know more about the characters through their families, plus their travels into the Realms. Gemma also takes a bold stance here, as she is challenged to choose between the Rakshana and the Order, as to whom should be left in control of the magic. There are no easy answers here, and Gemma makes some interesting decisions in this book. I began to dread their trips into the Realms, because I'm not so great at visualizing (a necessary skill to fully appreciate these parts), and because it was all to clear that this was the wrong thing to do, that the girls were playing with fire. Not my favorite fantasy series, but more fun because of the female protagnoist/hero.
eatcakes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gemma is such an interesting character! Sometimes I wish that I could have a bit more of her; a more intense delving into who and what she is, but then I remind myself that I've got an imagination and I should use it! Can't wait for the last book in the series. I need the ending to this story.
stephaniechase on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While not quite as good as the first -- it is a tad repetitive -- I am still hooked.