I had reservations about reading A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray because I remember reading some not so faltering reviews on Amazon. So for the past few years, I’ve been going through some internal struggle between wanting to read the book (because the cover art is so enticing!) and heeding the advice of noted Amazon reviewers. This week, I gave in and approached A Great and Terrible Beauty with an open-mind. Verdict: I love it!
Granted, I don’t love everything about it (the otherworldy realm scenes being the problem area), but what this book has going for it is pages and pages of gothic Victorian atmosphere. In a previous post, I mentioned that there are certain things associated with the Victorian Era that really creeps me out: old photographs with dour, unsmiling subjects, faces illuminated by gaslights, crumbling old castles, etc… And Libba Bray, with her attention to detail, succeeded in unnerving me. I read this book late at night, and just the thought of Gemma Doyle strolling down hallways dotted with black and white Victorian photographs…shudder. In many ways, the atmosphere reminds me of Jane Eyre; is that a recommendation or what?
That being said, it’s time for some casting fun! Here are my picks for the principle characters. Do you concur? Or beg to differ? Comment away!
Gemma Doyle (Rachel Hurd-Wood)
Felicity Worthington (Romola Garai)
Pippa Cross (Alexis Bledel)
Ann Bradshaw (Ann Maxwell Martin)
Kartik (Steven Strait)
If that isn’t enough visual stimuli for ya, here’s A Great and Terrible Beauty reinactment from the Teen Book Awards. It reminds me of those high school English projects we had to do back in the day without benefit of digital cameras and high tech video editors, except this video is leagues above the crap I made for English class. A video like this back in say, 2000, would have blown my English class away.