REVIEW: Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
Rebel Angels is the second book in the Gemma Doyle Trilogy. We follow Gemma, Felicity, Ann and Kartik as they figure out the world of the realms. We open our book two months after the last with Kartik being told what Gemma did. That Gemma destroyed the runes, which released the magic to all, including those that are in the winterland. Kartik is charged with getting Gemma to find the temple to bind the magic to the Rakshana and once she does so, he must kill her. He then relays the message about the temple and that she needs to bind the magic, and she must say a phrase in order to bind it.
It is now the end of term and Christmas is upon us. Gemma returns home to London to a house that she is has never lived in before, because she has lived in India all of her life. Gemma’s brother Tom is late to pick her up from the train station in London, and she fears that the Rakshana are following her, so she strikes up a conversation with a young man who turns out to be Simon Middleton. He is a young aristocrat who is taken with Gemma for her bravery to talk to him without a chaperone. He invites her and her family over to dinner and from this moment on, they begin to court each other. Simon and Tom attended Eton together.
Once in London, she runs into her former art teacher, Miss Hester Asa Moore. Before she left Spence for the Christmas Holidays, a new teacher arrived called Miss McCleethy and gives Gemma doubts about her true intentions. Gemma meets up with Felicity and Ann whilst they are in London for the holidays. Ann is pretending to be Russian nobility so that she would be able to stay with Felicity and her family. If they knew the truth about her, that she is of a lesser station, she would not be able to stay with them and as such Felicity helps her create this façade.
Whilst in London, they see Miss McCleethy and follow her into a book shop where she buys a book by Wilhelmina Wyatt, who becomes a crucial character in the next book. Felicity, Ann and Gemma buy the book and find that it has all different clues in it about the realms and other cults. It is via this book that they realise that Miss Claire McCleethy is an anagram for ‘They Call me Circe.’
Once at a dinner with the Middleton’s Tom mentions one of his patients at the Bethlem Royal Hospital. He mentions that Nell, the patient, has gone mad talking about the realms and the Order. We find out that Nell had gone to a finishing school that Miss McCleethy had taught at before coming to Spence. With the help of Nell, though she is not totally sane, Gemma puts together clues as to where the Temple is within the realms. Nell eventually reveals her visions of what happened to her and her friends that caused her to go insane. It was Miss McCleethy as she pressured them to go into the realms, but it was not the Miss McCleethy we all know, it was Miss Moore. The name Hester Asa Moore is an anagram for Sarah Rees Toome who is the true Circe.
The Miss McCleethy that we know turns out to be Sariah Foster, a member of the Order. She tells Gemma that the words that Kartik gave her to bind the magic would give all of the magic to the Rakshana and that Kartik was ordered to kill her after she bound the magic. She also tells her the words to say to bind the magic to The Order. Furious, she goes after Kartik and has ago at him and tells him to admit the truth, he tells her everything she already knew. She goes to the realms filled with anger. She binds the magic not to the Rakshana or the Order but to the people of the realms, which she is the temple and the magic flows inside her. With this, the Rakshana are after her and Kartik for not completing his mission. They escape and Kartik turns his back on the Rakshana.
Despite wanting a normal life, Gemma rejects Simon and they are no longer courting. She knows that he could never accept her for who she truly is, magic and all. So she leaves him.
Over all this book spins a tale of that of magic and heartbreak. After the devastating ending of the last book gave this one more of an eerie feel than the last. You truly see what loss and devastation can do to people. You see manipulation at its finest as well as love and magic come to life. The world of magic and our world interact in this book making you wonder what would have been if such a thing did exist during this time. That maybe your life would have been different. This book is so great and does wonders for your imagination.
4 out of 5 stars.