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Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle Trilogy #2)

Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle Trilogy #2)

4.5 628
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


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.

Editorial Reviews

In this magnificent and mystical follow-up to A Great and Terrible Beauty, Gemma Doyle faces her biggest challenge yet, as she returns to the magical realms on a quest to find the Temple and bind the magic she released in her last adventure. Featuring complex and compelling characters and an intricately woven plot, this riveting fantasy is steeped in Victorian sensibility -- and filled with history, mystery, and spellbinding romance.
Publishers Weekly
"Although Bray's follow-up to A Great and Terrible Beauty feels a bit like a bridge between the launch and the next installment in her series," said PW, "fans of the author's first novel will nonetheless remain enthralled." Ages 12-up. (Dec.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
In this, the author's companion to A Great and Terrible Beauty, the reader joins three girls, Gemma, Felicity, and Ann, at the Spence Academy for Young Ladies as the Christmas holiday season approaches. It immediately becomes apparent that these are not average young ladies of the late 1890s in England. While they might fit the mold of the prim and proper private-school girls, you quickly realize that they are carrying a hidden, dark secret. The girls travel to London for the Christmas holidays, where they are embroiled in the social events of the season, their families, and travel into the world of magic. Talk of "the Realm" and "the Order," "the Eastern Star" and "the Rakshana" fills their conversations. Gemma, knowing that her mother died as a result of her own work for the Order, has visions of three young ladies in white who call to her to follow them into the Realm. Along with Felicity and Ann, she is able to visit the realm to search for the Temple, that is "rumored to be the source of all power in the realms", where they believe they will "bind the magic" to re-establish the Order as the ruler of the realms. Danger lurks in every corner because they do not know who they can trust, in both the real world and the world of magic. The Rakshana, a new teacher at their school, Kartik, a young man from India, whose brother died along with Gemma's mother when the "Runes of the Oracle" were destroyed, are all there to help or hinder the search. Filled with darkness and fear, the story also tells of friendship and love, reliance and rebellion. Every family has its secrets and those in this story are no different, but also very different. This novel has enough mystery and excitementto thrill the most critical readers. 2005, Delacorte Press, Ages 12 up.
—Naomi Williamson
Children's Literature - Mary Jo Edwards
In book II of Bray's trilogy, which takes place two months after the events in book I, sixteen-year-old Gemma and her Spence Academy friends Felicity and Ann travel to London to celebrate Christmas. Kartik, a Rakshana novitiate, is back. His mission is to persuade Gemma to locate the Temple and bind the magic in the realms, and then kill her. Gemma's foe, Circe, is also trying to assume control of the power by finding the Temple. Meanwhile, Gemma's feelings are torn between Kartik and an aristocrat named Simon Middleton. Gemma also deals with her father's addiction and Felicity's history of incest. Gemma finally discovers Circe's identity and a battle for the magical power ensues. Set in 1895 England, this tale is aptly narrated by British voice actor Josephine Bailey. Fans of the fantasy genre will enjoy this suspenseful unabridged audio book. Although it is lengthy—fourteen hours on twelve compact discs—this title will hold the young adult listener's attention. The story is fast-paced with a few exceptions. Even though Bray's story occurs in 1895, today's adolescents will relate to its issues—dating, molestation, addiction, self-doubt, inner strength, and friendship. Before listening to this recording, it is beneficial, but not imperative, to read the print version or listen to the audio version of book I. Look for the release of book III in the fall of 2007.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-The sequel (Delacorte, 2005) to Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty (Delacorte, 2003; Listening Library, 2004) takes up 17-year-old Gemma Doyle's adventures above ground, in Victorian London, and below in the magical Realms, just days after the first book ended. Narrator Josephine Bailey remains consistent and inspired in the range of accents and tones she provides for Gemma, her posh friend Felicity, their whiney classmate Ann, the mysterious and sensual Indian youth Kartik, and the newly introduced characters that include a suspicious new teacher and a patient at London's famous Bethlehem Hospital (Bedlam). Those unfamiliar with the prequel to the current adventures may find themselves a bit lost at the outset, but the flurry of immediate events will soon catch them up as Gemma works feverishly to understand how she can bind the magic running loose in the Realms, whether Kartik is her ally or her deadly opponent, and if her father's moodiness is an expression of the continuing grief at her mother's death or an opiate habit. Added to these Gothic matters is the fact that Gemma must come to terms with her feelings for the young man who pays her court during the Christmas holidays she's spending away from finishing school and in her grandmother's house. Bray realizes the time period not only in her skillfully embedded descriptions of sounds, textures, and smells, but also by evoking the social framework within which Gemma must move, at least while above ground. The Realms, on the other hand, include both other worldly beauty and ghastliness, befitting of hallucinations. Gemma proves her strength and her charity in both arenas.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
What beastly luck. When Victorian schoolgirl Gemma Doyle smashed the magical realms' runes two months ago (A Great and Terrible Beauty, 2003), she thought she was destroying evil. Instead, she unbound the magic and made it available to any malevolent force. In London for the Christmas holidays, Gemma must bind the power before disaster falls-but bind for whom? The all-female Order, which allowed corruption to enter the realms in the first place? The male secret society of the Rakshana, which wants Gemma dead? Betrayal is in the air, and the backstabbing distrust of London, where any girl or woman might be the evil Circe in disguise, is a far cry from the budding homoeroticism of Gemma's earlier adventure. To make matters worse, Gemma's father has become an opium eater, her erstwhile lover Kartik might be planning her death and her only clues to Circe's identity come from a Bedlamite. While the characters and setting lack the lush richness and depth that made the first volume appealing, Gemma's shivery adventures, lacking easy answers, make for an exciting mystical quest. (Fantasy. YA)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Gemma Doyle Trilogy , #2
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.19(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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?

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Libba Bray is the author of the New York Times bestselling Gemma Doyle trilogy, comprised of A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and The Sweet Far Thing. She is also the author of Beauty Queens and Going Bovine, which won the Michael L. Printz Award. Libba lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, son, and two cats. Visit her at libbabray.com.

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Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle Series #2) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 628 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.
AnneMc More than 1 year ago
Rebel Angels is an entertaining fantasy novel. Libba Bray creates vivid and memorable worlds both in Victorian London and the magical Realms. The characters are well drawn, though the dialogue is often clunky. As a teacher, though, I could not recommend the novel because of the messages it sends to its readers—messages that are particularly dangerous to its intended audience of teen girls. The novel normalizes date rape and stalking. Bray presents two possible love interests for main character Gemma. At a party, the first, a widely admired young man, gives her too much absinthe, and when she is incapacitated, tries to take advantage of her. He is prevented by magic, but when Gemma is herself again, she wants to apologize to him! Yes, Bray’s character thinks she should apologize to a man who almost raped her. He is also still considered the ideal marriage partner. The second possible love interest is drawn as the better romantic choice. He understands Gemma, looks at her for who she truly is, and becomes someone she can trust. The reason he knows her so well, though, is because he spends the entire novel stalking her. He even appears unexpectedly in her bedroom one night. He clearly has been following her and watching her every move, yet the author sets him up as the person who is the best partner for Gemma. I would not recommend that girls read this book, or if they do, that they have a long, frank conversation with a trusted adult.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite book.period.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
atlantabooklover More than 1 year ago
Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Can't wait to ready the third.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
not that good
chrissyoftheorder More than 1 year ago
I had waited until I found this book in stores and finally ate the B&N in chino hills the lady ordered it for me, it came in like three days! I read it in two! I love this trillogy I kept reading the first book over and over until I was able to get this book. In love. Must read. And must thank all those hard working people at barns and noble you guy truely made me super happy!!!!
ABookishGirlBlog More than 1 year ago
So the second book really heats this series up! I pretty much had the same experiences with this book that I did with the first, great characters, great content, and the same amount of eye rolling. However, this time there was more romance to it and this was a pleasant development for the characters since they are getting older and more out in society. I also liked to that this book's setting was not all at Spence but mostly in London while the girls are on Christmas break it let you really get to know the characters even better particularly Felicity. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
arbjamesAJ More than 1 year ago
In this second installment in the Gemma Doyle trilogy, Gemma must try to bring order to the chaos she created at the end of the first book when she destroyed the runes of power. Now the magic has been released into the realms, controlled by none and coveted by all. Although Gemma defeated Circe's assassin, Circe is still on her quest for vengeance and power, and now Gemma has others to contend with who also want their share, including the mysterious Rakshana. With Felicity and Ann, whose deepest secrets are revealed, Gemma must restore order to the realms and figure out who she can really trust. She also learns some hard lessons about letting go and not being deceived by appearances. Once her decision is made and the magic has been bound, Gemma discovers that it's only the beginning of the real war to come. I think this second book in the series is even better than the first one. Gemma has learned a few things and matured a bit, although not nearly enough. It's easy sometimes to forget that she is only 16 and is still dealing with everything that a normal teen-aged girl would be dealing with in addition to the whole magical power struggle thing. She wants to be liked and is sometimes way too easily led astray. I appreciate the humor that Bray has kept in Gemma's character. It's interesting that books get longer--the first was 300+ pages, this second one is 500+ pages, and the third one is over 800 pages. I'm getting ready to launch into that one in just a bit. This second book read pretty quickly for over 500 pages, so I'm hoping that 800 pages go by quickly, too! I think that once it's over I will hate to leave Spence behind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OMG i hope she will get together with katrick because he is so mysrerious. I lovevwhen gemma and katrick kiss
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVED THIS BOOK i read the first one a nd got so excited to read the second one, this book fits all my excpectations i love the drama with her friends (as well as kartik) im on the third book now and is very disappointed that it is ending. I would recomend this book to anyone i meet (11 or older) -Anna, 11
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
This was even better than the first and one of my favorites. It looks like something big will happen, foreshadowing etc. Also love the moments with Kartik and Gemma. Writing is even better in this. Though at times it got frustrating. But I guess it was the time period and all that but still. Really good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago