Title: Rebel Angels (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy Book #2)*

Author: Libba Bray

Historical Fantasy YA

Published 12/26/06 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers 

Goodreads summary: 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


If you’re looking for Second Book Slump, look somewhere else.


We thought at the end of A Great and Terrible Beauty that Gemma had triumphed over the evil Circe though it came at a price. That she had saved the magic in the realms properly. Not so, we learn in Rebel Angels. Instead she has only bound it.

In this second book, we not only get a closer look at the realms, but we also learn more about a few characters and what makes them tick. I found Felicity’s past, in particular, to be the most intriguing. And other characters that we caught only a glimpse of before are explored more fully in Rebel Angels. People like Gemma’s brother, her father, her grandmother…

But most importantly?


Yes. Swoony, swoony Kartik who is conflicted over the mission that the Rakshana has bestowed upon him. Gemma finds herself drawn to him over and over again despite finding a much more suitable match.

Bray is a deft hand with pacing and structure, a master of the unexpected, and a cultivator of the red herring.

I can’t wait to pick up the final installment.

Rating: 4/5. I liked the first book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy (A Great and Terrible Beauty), but I think that this one may have trounced it in a Victorian alley somewhere.

*I am an Amazon affiliate and if you choose to purchase the book through this link, I receive a small percentage of the sale. This in no way affected my review.