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Publisher's 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.

©2005 Libba Bray (P)2005 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

"Readers will sink into her compelling, well-paced story." (Booklist)

What listeners say about Rebel Angels

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Sound error

Around 43:35 the sound interrupts to the narrator making a verbal revision to how she wants to read a character's line. Not a big deal, but would love for this to be edited out!! :)

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

wonderful

Rebel Angels is better than A Great and Terrible Beauty, the first book in the series. It helps the characters grow as individuals and explores more of the societal conditions that remain as true today as they were then. The burgening romance is sweet, and Jemma's feelings are both identifyable and exciting. The plot is a good mixture of the pranks, pettiness, and dramas of teenage girls with the dangerous and unearthly world of the realms. Overall, a book a girl can lose herself in.

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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audible version is terrible

audible version of this book is terrible. the chapters are all messed up. I highly recommend the book but audible needs to fix their version. the way it is set up right now they have multiple chapters shoved into one 'chapter' so the navigation is impossible.

2 people found this helpful

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Rebel Angels: Curiouser and Curiouser

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I would have the main character reflect, at least ONCE, on the wisdom of bringing her selfish friends into a magical kingdom where they (of course) behave selfishly and never, ever abide by the promises they make. This pattern repeats so many times and Gemma never questions it. To avoid spoilers, I'll describe it this way: you have the only key to this magical wonderful place. You have a REALLY IMPORTANT TASK to accomplish. Your friends beg you to take them to the place. You agree, as long as they help you to accomplish your task. When you get there, they hinder you and treat you horribly if you even mention your task. Would you take them back next time? Are these really your friends? Other than this repeated pattern of silliness, which - okay, I admit - is pretty realistic considering the main characters are all teen girls - this book is great. Just great. I'm WAY past my teenaged years and I still loved it.

Would you recommend Rebel Angels to your friends? Why or why not?

Yes, absolutely. It was fun and insightful and compelling.

Have you listened to any of Josephine Bailey’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

She did a great job with all the characters. She has the marvelous gift of making you feel like the whole story is unfurling in your mind - she gets the voices and accents exactly right, and she's brilliant, but because of that you forget that these characters aren't acting the whole thing out somehow in your iPod.

Do you think Rebel Angels needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

YEAH, obviously. There is a 3rd book and nothing is resolved at the end of this book.

2 people found this helpful

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Return to the Series Is Like Revisiting The Realms

I loved this series as a teenager and was recently compelled to return to it. I still love it. Josephine Bailey's narration is fantastic. While her voice remains measured and soothing, she still gives an animated performance, that is no less enthralling. Even the mundane world sparks with the magical in this installment.

I will say aspects of the story haven't necessarily aged well. I don't remember cringing quite as much in the mid-aughts, but the depiction of the non-white characters is less considerate than I recall. There's a clumsiness to their description that doesn't feel like Libba Bray lacks sympathy-- in fact, I think she wants Gemma to be quite sympathetic to the plight of others, and even quite open-minded for her time-- but instead perhaps lacks the foresight of a decade and a half's attentiveness in persevering to understand what words are acceptable descriptors. A lot of the characters of color-- Kartik included, and I promise I'm a MASSIVE fan of Kartik-- lack dimensionality, and even care in how they're described. Ms Bray certainly falls into the easy "food" descriptors that are so often an easy way out for writers to avoid coming up with new ways to describe dark features. (I haven't read any of her more recent works, so I don't know how she has grown as a writer since 2005.) I am glad the Romani people show up less in this book, because in my belief, possible (depending on the Romani person you ask) ethnic slurs with a complicated place in history and present should be used lightly.

On a lighter note, I was constantly embarrassed by Gemma. She's sixteen, she's a rebellious teenage girl interested in the occult. She's as emotionally messy as I recall that age being, not even counting the death threats. But this girl jumps to conclusions based on such little information. GREEN CLOAK, MUST BE EVIL!!!!! I promised I would pump the breaks, but "I don't even think of you as Indian"? GEMMA WHAT STOP WHY. I don't blame Kartik for leaving then. She grew up in India, I feel like she should be a little more sensitive to how absolutely inappropriate that was? I digress. Gemma was even more of a mess this book, I think, and with the responsibility on her shoulders, I think I can understand (mostly). I'm pretty here for it, except when I had to pause to compose myself because I was at work, on my break, not in an appropriate place to shout my frustration at fictional characters.

The romance BLOSSOMING this book is my favorite part. I'm a solid Karma shipper, and it's part of why I chose to revisit the series. When they danced in the carriage house and Kartik pulled Gemma closer because the propriety of being that close sounded DUMB? This boy needs more love in his life. His visible jealousy of Simon? Give him a hug, please. And for most of this book I regretted trusting Gemma to give him that love. Kartik and Emily could have been adorable, but Karma is just too sweet, and Gemma's addition at the end of the book of not needing anything aside from loyalty from him... yet, rekindled my adoration for them. (It never went anywhere, I was still searching through fanfiction to read decade-old fix-it fic.)

All this is my very 2021 reaction. Much of the issues may be less a part of ignorance or lack of care, and more an attempt for historical "accuracy" (which should be accompanied by context). I still adore the story, and I think the world Libba Bray created in the Gemma Doyle Trilogy is breath-taking and captivating. There are dark, dangerous, glittering corners and bright, enchanting, dangerous spectacles to enjoy in every chapter. I am thoroughly enjoying my return to the Realms and am sad to be two-thirds of the way through it. I highly recommend you listen.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved it

The only thing is there was one missed revision in the performance but overall i enjoyed this series very much.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Just plain silly

While I enjoyed the first book in this series, I am definitely going to stop here. I couldn't follow the author on the magic ride. It was just too silly and unbelievable to me.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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this is one of my favorite series !!

not disappointed at all, I love that this book being the second in the sequel gave us so much more info on the girls home life's and simply Sara Reese tomb!!! Holy crap that was a plot twist.

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Great narrator!

This is one of the best narrators I’ve heard on this app. I’ve been rereading this series for the first time since I was younger and I really enjoyed doing so through Audible. Recommend!

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I love this series so much

loooove it so much. I've enjoyed this more every year it grows older as do I.

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