Rebel Angels

Written by Libba Bray
Review by Lisa Ann Verge

In this companion book to the New York Times bestseller A Great and Terrible Beauty, Libba Bray takes up where she left off, at Spence Academy, a posh English finishing school. Three sixteen-year-olds—rich Felicity, impoverished Ann, and the new girl, Gemma—head off to London for the 1895 Christmas season, still committed in their quest to bind the wild magic of The Realms, the world into which only Gemma has the power to enter. Bray has a firm grasp of the cruel interactions of young women, and she keeps the tension among them taut even as they work together to defeat Circe, a witch trying to claim the power of The Realms for herself—leaving corpses and madwomen in her wake. Like the first book, Rebel Angels is a complex and well-blended mix of fantasy, mystery, romance, and even a little horror, all dressed up in historical costumes. Yet its greatest charm is Gemma herself—powerful yet insecure, intelligent and witty, yet gauche in society, searching for a place in a world constantly trying to put her in her place. Brava to Libba Bray for a thoroughly entertaining, imaginative, and original novel.