Thursday, September 19, 2013
Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
If you like: anagrams * tradition * Christmas
Rebel Angels is the second book in the Gemma Doyle Trilogy. It picks up right after the prior book left off and follows the girls as they continue to learn about the magic of the realms. Not only do the girls continue to unravel the secrets of the magic, but they also begin to unravel the secrets of modern society. They are out and about in London at Christmas and not only must be secretive inside the realms, but also in the greater world that surrounds them.
The power of magic continues to play an important role in the story. This is not only confined to the realms, but also an influence on the world in the girls' day-to-day lives. As they navigate the traditions of society in London, they begin to realize that the power that they desire in the realms also translates to the real world. Women do not hold much power at first glance, but as the girls delve deeper they see just how much power a society matron can wield. Their new secrecy carries a much greater weight as they strive to become a part of society all while having fun in experimenting with their places in the world. Within the realms they also seek to achieve greater power while not been corrupted as they risked being last time. Pippa finds it especially difficult to deal with the situation. She longs to join forces with her friends after refusing to cross over. Every day that she stays in the garden she runs the risk of becoming more and more corrupted and places her dear friends in greater danger as they must decide what to do with her. Additionally, the girls must bind power of the Temple and hope to achieve balance while at the same time granting themselves the power to explore safely throughout the realms.
Tradition plays an increasingly important role in Rebel Angels. The traditions of society keep people from being honest with themselves and those around them. Keeping up appearances is most important, and risking anything by sharing the truth can ruin a family forever. Each person being forced to hold all their secrets deep inside can create many situations in which they can poison their own minds and souls by withholding the internal pain and refusing to seek help. This is mirrored in the realms as the girls do not know who they can trust with their secrets and who they can turn to for assistance. The girls must make careful choices to preserve their friendship and not betray themselves or the Order. The Order is entirely different. The traditions of the Order have wielded the power to those of the Order and prevented anyone else within the realms from having it. In some cases this is deserved, but in others entire groups were not given the chance to prove that they were worthy of the power. Gemma is faced with a grave decision when she must determine whether or not she should uphold traditions of the Order or reward those who seem worthy of trust inside the realms. Traditional views on femininity lead to both power and the lack of it in Rebel Angels. Women are kept from many pursuits because of their delicate constitution. There are also many different challenges that occur because young women cannot be trusted to do anything alone. At the same time, the members of the Order used their womanhood to connect and harness the power of the magic, putting them in a position of great dominance. Much of what happened to the Order was out of fear of women holding power, and also because they allowed their new power to be corrupted into a tool to be used against those they did not find deserving. Gemma gives those in the realms hope that she will take this newfound responsibility and embrace it thoroughly, and allow the magic to flow throughout all those in the realms who would use it well.
If you would turn a blind eye to all the danger that follows you home, read Rebel Angels.
Bray, Libba. Rebel Angels (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy). Random House Children's Books, 2007. Kindle Edition.