Rebel Angels ~ Libba Bray
Rebel Angles picks up where A Great and Terrible Beauty left off. Continuing in the same school year, Gemma, along with her partners in crime, tries to move forward through the holiday season with no further trauma, magical or otherwise.
Her hopes of a safe winter, though, vanish rapidly when she returns home to London. She finds her father plagued by demons that spread beyond mourning his lost wife, into much darker waters. She is almost immediately worn out by the constant efforts of her social climbing brother and grandmother. Though, that end of the deal is slightly sweetened by new arrival, Simon Middleton, a very big name on the very small campus of London.
As tough as the real world presents itself to be, it isn’t long before other matters call the girls back to the realms where things are not exactly how they left them in the autumn. Kartik, Gemma’s handsome, mysterious confidant where her visions and powers are concerned, takes on a more hectic and desperate tone with his need for control of the realms. Gemma does her best to help him but, of course, there are forces at work on the inside and out that threaten to take Gemma and others down. Her only prayer is to find some semblance of order before it’s too late.
If I developed a crush on this series with the first book, call me officially in love with the finishing of this second installment. Something like a cross between Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes and Narnia, the world of Libba Bray’s London and the realms is incredibly well done. I have always been such a sucker for stories like Narnia and Harry Potter in which parallel living situations presented alongside regular life. The consistency of the myths that run through Gemma’s second life remains true even through both whopping epic volumes.
Bray has a knack for understanding innate human fears and dreams, both of which she uses to her keen advantage throughout the stories. I am not often a fan of serial stories but this seems to be less a set of books and more a giant book that needed to be sliced in thirds based on shear length. I dare any love of mythology, fantasy or just good stories, to bypass this without falling in love.