By: Libba Bray
“Ah, Christmas! Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Academy, spending time with her friends in the city, attending ritzy balls, and on a somber note, tending to her ailing father. As she prepares to ring in the New Year, 1896, a handsome young man, Lord Denby, has set his sights on Gemma, or so it seems. Yet amidst the distractions of London, Gemma’s visions intensify–visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened, something only the realms can explain…
The lure is strong, and before long, Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are turning flowers into butterflies in the enchanted world of the realms that Gemma alone can bring 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. The mysterious Kartik has reappeared, telling Gemma she must find the Temple and bind the magic, else great disaster will befall her. Gemma’s willing to do his intrusive bidding, despite the dangers it brings, for it means she will meet up with her mother’s greatest friend–and now her foe, Circe. Until Circe is destroyed, Gemma cannot live out her destiny. But finding Circe proves a most perilous task.”
~ From Goodreads
I have a deep love for the Victorian Era. There are some who view it as stuffy, confining and solemn, but I’ve always found it to be rather colorful. While there may have been strict rules and backward gender standards, there was also a boom in scientific innovation, literature, and human rights activism. I saw this series and thought I’d fall in love with it. It was a part of my favorite genres (fantasy and historical fiction) and was set in my favorite time period. I was largely disappointed by the first book and I only feel slightly better about this second installment. It had its good points, but I felt myself slogging through two-thirds of the story with lead feet.