this is my first post here, so I hope I'm doing everything right.
I wanna share my review/impressions of Rebel Angels by Libba Bray with you. I just finished it and haven't read book 3 yet, so please don't include any spoilers in the comments!
I'm actually surprised that I only seem to haven given 3 1/2 stars to "A Great And Terrible Beauty" (book one of the Gemma Doyle trilogy) because Rebel Angels really had me hooked from beginning to end. It was so good to meet all the characters again - except for maybe Ann who slightly annoyed me with her insecure whininess but luckily Felicity thought so too and told her to shut it.
To be honest the very first chapter that deals with Kartik put me off a little, the whole Rakshana thing wasn't what I wanted to hear about, plus book 1 had not made me care about Kartik much. This changed throughout book 2 though. Kartik got more important and I also got to know him better. I started liking him around the time he snuck into Gemma's room and watched her talking to herself in the mirror, really made me smirk.
I was so happy to find out Pippa was still kind of alive but I had a funny feeling about it right away. Still I love how she turns out (or away) at the end and I'm sure she'll become a great strong character in book 3.
All the new characters were a great addition. I fell for Simon and his secret box right away and I really hope he'll have a few more appearances in book 3 even though he lost sympathy points after the absinth "I'm so naughty, I take off your gloves and kiss your wrist" encounter with Gemma (which was cleverly done though because it totally added more heart-shaped points to Kartik's account).
Nell and her nursery rhyme were fantastic as well.
The revelation of Miss Moore was a great, unexpected twist. Same goes for Felicity's past. I would've never expected this (I stumbled upon the kiss little Polly had to give her uncle though) and it gave Felicity much more depth and strength as a character. Unlike Ann's character, she seems to have her role and never really grows out of it. There were some things mentioned about her situation and yes, it sucks and sounds hopeless, but she still annoyed me.
I'm also constantly sympathizing with Gemma. I don't even know why, there's nothing extremely extraordinary about her. I just never get mad at her actions and can always rely to her emotions and decisions. She got a lot smarter than in book 1, too even though it seems to have taken her forever to figure out that the way Nell bend her necklace actually was important. At least she distrusted Pippa right away.
I enjoyed the whole Christmas feeling. It was good to get to know the girls away from school and to watch them in unknown surroundings.
High praise goes to Josephine Bailey who does a great job narrating the book on the audio version. She managed to give every character a significant voice that can be told apart easily. Also her British accent makes this a listening pleasure.
Last but not least I'd like to recommend you all to read up on some interviews or short biographies of Libba Bray because they are hilarious. That woman has an amazing sense of humour and I can't wait to read a book by her in which she can let that humour run free (things weren't as funny and sarcastic back in Victorian times).
One last question: Why did the author chose the artist name "Libba"? Because the text copyright says her name is "Martha E. Bray", not Libba.