I’ve heard some really great things about this book. In fact, it was recommended to me by one of my coworkers at the bookstore. I’d been eyeing it on the shelves for a while and it had been singled out on the YA recommended reads section so I thought it might be worth a try. I loved the cover and was excited by the prospect of reading a good fantasy/paranormal historical (because historicals are a bit of a weakness for me). Unfortunately, it hasn’t been going as well as I’d expected.
The book centers around Gemma Doyle, a sixteen year old sent to Spence Academy after her mother dies in India. The situation surrounding her mother’s death is mysterious and help us understand that Gemma isn’t like other girls – she suspects she is having visions of the future. At Spence she finds herself among snobby elitist girls and for a while she’s forced to be an outsider. But the more time she spends at the Academy, the more secrets she unravels about her mother and about her own power – if it wasn’t for the young man constantly warning her she shouldn’t pursue these visions.
For starters, I was thrilled about the setting. India and then Victorian England?! I expected to fall in love. Unfortunately, it didn’t wow me. The only time I ever really felt the setting was when the gypsies appeared or when the girls talked of their male prospects, usually disgusting older men waiting for them to finish their grooming so that they could be young trophy wives. Other than that, Gemma seems very much a modern day heroine. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not what I expected.
The mystery is well done and it is revealed slowly, perhaps too slowly for my taste. The book delves in gothic undertones and definitely has a creepy factor, delving into dark aspects of magic and clairvoyance. Some people love that. In this case, it just didn’t really work for me.
But if you like a chilling mystery, the romance of a historical time period and paranormal elements, then this book is for you.
My Rating: C+/B- (prepares to receive hatemail)