THE GEMMA DOYLE SERIES
Picking an older series for this post was difficult for me at first, but when I thought back to the books that first got me into reading, the Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray popped into my mind. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this series before on the blog mainly because I didn’t have the blog yet when I first discovered and fell in love with this series.
The Gemma Doyle series is a Young Adult series that is a fantastic blend of Historical Romance and Fantasy. I would even say there are some Gothic Horror elements. I first encountered this series because I was browsing the shelves in a library and the covers caught my attention. Beautiful and elegant, I think they really fit the style of the books. The heroines of this series are a group of young girls who are all friends. It features what you would expect most Young Adult novels would when set at a school (in this case, an Academy), but there’s also a lot of mystical and fantastical things that occur here as well.
There’s no way I’m going to go into detail about the events of what happen in this series because that would be too spoilery, but if you like adventure, forbidden romance, and lots and lots of heartbreak, then you’re going to fall in love with this series. Be warned though, the last book is a killer. At over 800 pages, it’s a beast of a book but the emotions rolled into it will have you crying at the end. This book devastated me and as a result, it still remains as one of my all time favorite YA series.
The Gemma Doyle series was one of the earliest series that I can remember that contributed to my love of reading. It was this series in particular that also made me realize that Romance was also my preferred reading genre and for that, I’m forever grateful that I’ve found this series.
by Libba Bray
Released: December 9th 2003
Series: Gemma Doyle #1
Published by Simon and Schuster
A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy—jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.
Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother's death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls' academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions "for a bit of fun" and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the "others" and rebuild the Order.
“No one asks how or what I am doing. They could not care less. We’re all looking glasses, we girls, existing only to reflect their images back to them as they’d like to be seen. Hollow vessels of girls to be rinsed of our own ambitions, wants, and opinions, just waiting to be filled with the cool, tepid water of gracious compliance.
A fissure forms in the vessel. I’m cracking open.”
by Libba Bray
Released: December 26th 2006
Series: Gemma Doyle #2
Published by Ember
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.
“Meraa mitra yahaan aaiye,” he murmurs. I understand only a little Hindi, enough to know what he has said: Come here, my friend.
I’ve never known a braver girl,” he says.”
by Libba Bray
Released: December 26th 2007
Series: Gemma Doyle #3
Published by Delacorte Press
IT HAS BEEN A YEAR OF CHANGE since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy. Her mother murdered, her father a laudanum addict, Gemma has relied on an unsuspected strength and has discovered an ability to travel to an enchanted world called the realms, where dark magic runs wild. Despite certain peril, Gemma has bound the magic to herself and forged unlikely new alliances. Now, as Gemma approaches her London debut, the time has come to test these bonds. The Order - the mysterious group her mother was once part of - is grappling for control of the realms, as is the Rakshana. Spence's burned East Wing is being rebuilt, but why now? Gemma and her friends see Pippa, but she is not the same. And their friendship faces its gravest trial as Gemma must decide once and for all what role she is meant for.
“When I dream, I dream of him. For several nights now he’s come to me, waving from a distant shore as if he’s been waiting patiently for me to arrive. He doesn’t utter a word, but his smile says everything: I’ve missed you.”