Flashback Friday · Weekly Themes

Flashback Friday! (April 21)

FLASHBACK FRIDAY (BLUE)

Hey, y’all!

I want to do a weekly post on BACKLIST books. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, too often, people see shiny new books coming out and don’t check out books that are a bit older. There’s, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with that.

But.

I think it’s time we gave those books some lovin’, don’t you?

In the FLASHBACK FRIDAY series, I’m going to boost at least one book/series/author per week. Hopefully this will encourage others to do it as well, and maybe inspire people to go check out those backlist books and support some great authors.

So without further ado, our first FLASHBACK FRIDAY SPOTLIGHT is…

GEMMA DOYLE TRILOGY by Libba Bray!

This trilogy is one of my absolute favorites! I binged it during high school, and every so often, I revisit the books.

I love the story of this girl, Gemma, discovering this world of magic that she had no clue about before and finding her place in this new reality she’s faced with. It’s so interesting to watch her navigate the every day life of Victorian England and boarding school, while forming tenuous friendships with other girls as they delve deeper into the magical mysteries. Each of the main four girls are so dynamic in their own ways, and it is such an amazing journey to watch their character development.

Also, this trilogy was one of my very first introductions to queer characters. There are two girls who are in a relationship, and baby queer Leah was so fascinated by their interactions and overall devotion to each other.

There are some epic action scenes, a ton of mythological creatures, an enemies-to-lovers dynamic between Gemma and her love interest, and so much more.

Trigger warnings for self-harm/cutting, drug usage, parental death, involuntary drugging

THE BOOKS:

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A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY (Gemma Doyle, #1)

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.

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REBEL ANGELS (Gemma Doyle, #2)

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.

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THE SWEET FAR THING (Gemma Doyle, #3)

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.

What BACKLIST book would you recommend everyone read?

4 thoughts on “Flashback Friday! (April 21)

  1. First of all, I love the idea of this feature! Secondly, I’M SO HAPPY YOU FEATURED THIS PARTICULAR SERIES. It’s one of my all-time favorites, and it definitely deserves more love! These books pretty much got me through middle school; I just reread them last year (7 years later) and they were just as wonderful this time around. I adore Gemma so much. ❤

    Like

    1. Thank you!

      And I could not agree more!! I wish these got more attention than they do, because Libba Bray is genius and these are amazing. All the characters were so incredible, and the worldbuilding was fantastic. Gah, now I want to reread them right now!

      Like

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