Posts Tagged '19th century'

Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

Genre: Fantasy

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 548 p.

RAC Book: Yes

Iowa High School 2008 Award Winner

Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are living in the year 1895 struggling with their families, boarding school, and of course the magical realms they discovered in A Great and Terrible Beauty. Gemma is responsible for the magic she released at that time and must find a way to bind it all together so that not just anyone can abuse the magic. Gemma knows she will need help along the way, but it is unclear who she can trust. Miss McCleethy, their new art teacher, seems very interested in Gemma and her secrets, but Gemma is not sure if she can trust her. Miss Moore, the teacher Gemma got fired in the last book, surfaces again and Gemma wonders if she is the one who is supposed to guide her into the realms. Finally, Pippa, the girls’ former friend and schoolmate is now trapped in the realms and seems to be the same, but Gemma is not so sure she has not been corrupted.

In addition to all of their worrying about the magical realms, there are other issues at hand as well including Gemma’s father’s addiction to opium, a prospective suitor, and Ann’s lack of family during the holidays. Bray does a nice job of balancing life in the late 19th century with the fantasy world they often visit. The problems of both worlds seem equally alarming and disastrous. Bray moves the story into a much more exciting path than the previous book as Gemma, Felicity, and Ann try to control the magic they set free in that book. The characters, both secondary and primary, develop a lot more in this book so that the reader can understand more about their backgrounds and motivations throughout the story. A page turner for fantasy readers, much more compelling than the first book.

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Silent Echoes by Carla Jablonski

Genre: Mystery/Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Age Level:  12 and up

# of pages:  344

RAC Book:  Yes

Sixteen year old Lucy Phillips lives in Manhattan in the late 1800s.  Her father has trained her to be a medium and hold seances in order to make money.  One night during one of these fake seances, Lucy hears a real voice asking her for help.  The voice belongs to a girl named Lindsay who lives in present day Manhattan.  She lives with an alcoholic mother and an abusive stepfather and is having trouble coping.

Lindsay is not too eager to listen to the voices in her head, afraid that it will cause others to think she is crazy.  Lucy, on the other hand, can’t wait to reconnect with Lindsay so that she can support herself as a real medium and earn money by predicting events in the future.  Through their eventual friendship, Lucy does prosper while Lindsay’s situation worsens.  Lucy feels so bad about Lindsay’s problems that she devises  a way to help her from the 19th century.

Silent Echoes was a delightful story about two girls who could speak many generations apart from each other.  Both need the other’s help and are struggling with their current lives,  but they learn a lot about the times they live in as well as each other.  They begin to see how some girls in both settings simply do not have many chances to raise above their dire circumstances.  The book also speaks about how many rich people will do anything to stay above the poor, even if it is unethical.  Many issues are covered in this book, but the interesting and fast paced story is what many readers will enjoy.  Highly recommended.


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