[[quoteright:264:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/great-and-terrible_6683.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:264:[-Mm. [[OfCorsetsSexy Hot Victorian back]].-] ]]

--> ''I run after her, not really giving chase. I'm running because I can, because I must. Because I want to see how far I can go before I have to stop.''

Gemma Doyle is a [[FieryRedhead redheaded]] English lass living in India in 1895, until she [[DangerousSixteenthBirthday turns sixteen]] and her mother's past finally catches up with the Doyle family. Gemma is subsequently sent to Spence, a [[BoardingSchool finishing school]] back in England, where she is about to find out just how much of her mother's daughter she really is.

Gemma's story is told in a trilogy of young adult novels by American author Creator/LibbaBray: ''A Great and Terrible Beauty,'' ''Rebel Angels,'' and ''The Sweet Far Thing''. [[TheFilmOfTheBook A movie]] was in the works but was axed.
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!!Provides Examples Of:

* AbhorrentAdmirer: Mr. Bumble to Pippa.
* AbstractApotheosis: Gemma is called Lady Hope by the people of the Realms.
* AbusiveParents: [[spoiler:Mr. Fowlson]]'s backstory.
** Also [[spoiler:Felicity]]
* AllOfTheOtherReindeer: Gemma's stint at Spence starts out with her and Ann as this. Then they become besties with the most popular girls in the school. So, uh.
* AlliterativeName: Mr. Bartleby Bumble the barrister.
--> '''Ann''': This is my beloved, Mrs. Bumble. She wears a bright bauble bought from Barrington's Baubles. Beware barristers bringing baubles! [[spoiler:Better the berries than barristers! [[OverlyLongGag Bite bitter berries before becoming Bumble's beloved!]]]]
* AloofBigBrother: The social-climbing Tom Doyle is, more often than not, kind of embarrassed by Gemma.
* AlphaBitch: At first it seems like this will be Felicity's designated role, but she and Gemma wind up bestest buddies. The role is instead taken by Cecily Temple, who is jealous that the aforementioned happened.
* [[AlwaysNight Always Sunset]]: "The Garden" portion of the realms.
* AmbitionIsEvil: Played straight in one case ([[spoiler:Sarah Rees-Toome]]) and ultimately subverted in another ([[spoiler:Felicity]]).
* AnyoneCanDie: When the dead bodies at the end include [[spoiler: the main character's LoveInterest]], you know it's serious business.
* ArrangedMarriage: This is what leads to [[spoiler:Pippa's suicide]]. A far less tragic example almost happens to [[spoiler:Felicity, with Horace Markham, but when she tells him she's not interested in him, it turns out he feels the same about her and has no desire to force things]].
* BeautifulAllAlong: Interestingly, a version of this happens to [[spoiler:the very plain Ann]] in the third book, without any kind of a traditional makeover: [[spoiler:when she finally performs for the composer Mr. Smalls and nails it, as herself and not in disguise as Nan Washbrad, Gemma remarks that she is much more beautiful than the fictional persona of Nan Washbrad ever was]].
* TheBechdelTest
* BedlamHouse: ''The'' Bedlam figures prominently in ''Rebel Angels''. Although it's portrayed fairly positively, with the doctors honestly trying to be gentle with the patients, even if they don't really have the tools to help them.
* BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy: Charlemange and many of the Knights Templar were Rakshana, according to Kartik.
* BetterToDieThanBeKilled: Causes [[spoiler:Gemma's mother to kill herself]].
* BigEater: Pippa, for a dainty young Victorian lady, anyway.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:Sure, Gemma does end up defeating the BigBad but not before other characters including her own LoveInterest [[KilledOffForReal die]]]].
* BlondeBrunetteRedhead: Well, two brunettes [[spoiler:but one of them dies and then goes crazy]]. Gemma's definitely a FieryRedhead, Ann is something of a BrainyBrunette, but Pippa is not, and Felicity is very much ''not'' a DumbBlonde.
* BoardingSchool: Spence.
* BodyguardCrush: Apparently, it was once pretty common for the Rakshana and the members of the Order they guarded to be lovers. Named examples include [[spoiler:Gemma and Kartik ([[WillTheyOrWontThey eventually]])]], and [[spoiler:Miss [=McCleethy=] and Hugo Fowlson]]. It may or may not be worth noting that [[spoiler:neither pairing ends well]], but then, [[spoiler:what pairing in this series does?]]
* BrainlessBeauty: Pippa is the most beautiful and least intelligent of the four main girls.
* BrokenBird: There are so many of these it's like somebody gassed an aviary then went inside and just started stomping.
* TheCaretaker: Gemma herself, her brother Tom and their grandmother towards their addicted to laudanum father.
* CodeName: Loads, some of which are also {{Significant Anagram}}s. These include Circe, code name for [[spoiler:Hester Moore]], which is in itself a code name. [[spoiler:Claire [=McCleethy=]]] is a codename used by [[spoiler:Order member Sahirah Foster]] after [[spoiler:Circe]] used it first. Even the girls use code names, including Gemma [[spoiler:Dowd]], [[SignificantAnagram Nan Washbrad]], and Felicity's choice of "[[PunnyName Miss Anthropy]]."
* CoolTeacher: Miss Moore. She even has ''a pocketwatch''.
* DangerousSixteenthBirthday: ''A Great and Terrible Beauty'' starts on the day Gemma turns sixteen. This also happens to be the day Gemma has her first vision and the day of her mother's death. Worst.Birthday.Ever.
* DeadpanSnarker: Mainly Gemma, though Felicity gets her share of snark in as well.
* DealWithTheDevil: [[spoiler:Attempted by Sarah Rees-Toome and Mary Dowd, via HumanSacrifice. All does not go according to plan]].
* DeathIsCheap: Seems that way at first, given the nature of the Realms, but over the course of the trilogy several major characters do indeed end up KilledOffForReal.
* DefrostingIceQueen: Felicity.
* DidTheyOrDidntThey: [[spoiler:Gemma and Kartik]] in the realms. WordOfGod says [[http://libba-bray.livejournal.com/27952.html "that is open to interpretation."]]
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler:Pippa, when she realizes she cannot escape her ArrangedMarriage]].
** also, [[spoiler: Gemma's mother, Mary Dowd/Virgina Doyle, when Circe's assassin comes after her.]]
* DysfunctionJunction: Just focusing on the four main girls, there are several cases of ParentalAbandonment (both from death and otherwise), [[spoiler:ParentalIncest]], [[spoiler:self-harm]], and in one case--different from the previous!--[[spoiler:[[DrivenToSuicide suicide]]]]. For starters.
* TheEeyore: Ann isn't even a ''plucky'' scholarship student. She's just... kind of pathetic.
* EmbarrassingMiddleName: Felicity is chagrined to admit her middle name is "Mildrade." (From her full name, Ann develops the oddly appropriate anagram "Maleficent Oddity Ralingworth.")
* EnfantTerrible: Ann's cousins whose nanny she was supposed to be in ''The Sweet Far Thing''.
* {{Epigraph}}: One in each book, usually the source of that book's LiteraryAllusionTitle, excerpted from the following:
** "The Lady of Shalott" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson in ''A Great and Terrible Beauty''
** ''ParadiseLost'', Book 1 by Creator/JohnMilton, plus two lines from "A Dream Within a Dream" by EdgarAllanPoe in ''Rebel Angels''
** "The Rose of Battle" by Creator/WilliamButlerYeats in ''The Sweet Far Thing''
* EroticDream: Gemma has them about Kartik fairly often.
* ExtraordinarilyEmpoweredGirl: Gemma.
* ExtremeDoormat: Oh, Ann. [[spoiler:Fortunately, [[CharacterDevelopment she gets better]]]].
** Gemma, despite being a DeadpanSnarker, sure lets her friends walk all over her, especially when it comes to the realms. Even [[ButtMonkey Ann]].
* FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler:Pippa]]. Going from [[spoiler:the na´ve daydreamer who just wanted to true love]] to AGodAmI who [[spoiler:sacrifices people to preserve her own beauty and power]]? Ouch.
* FaintingSeer: Gemma.
* FieryRedhead: Gemma, and her mother before her.
* FilleFatale: Felicity, with an eye towards [[FemmeFatale graduation]].
* FiredTeacher: Miss Moore again. Way to go, guys.
* FirstPersonSmartass: Gemma. The funniest parts of the books are her internal monologues and observations.
* FishOutOfWater: Gemma, who travels from British-occupied India to England.
* FiveManBand: Despite the core group only numbering four, they actually fit the bill really well:
** TheHero: Gemma, the viewpoint character
** TheLancer[=/=]TheBigGuy: Felicity, definitely Gemma's second and the most aggressive of the girls
** TheSmartGuy: Ann, clever and especially good at wordplay
** TheChick: Pippa, the most na´ve and romantic of the girls
* FoodChains: In a play on any number of different mythologies, if you eat anything in the Realms, you can never leave again. [[spoiler:Eating berries from the Realms is how Pippa [[DrivenToSuicide kills herself]]]].
* FourGirlEnsemble: [[DeadpanSnarker Gemma Doyle]], [[TheEeyore Ann Bradshaw]], [[FilleFatale Felicity Worthington]], and [[TheIngenue Pippa Cross]].
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: Felicity is choleric, Pippa is sanguine, Ann is melancholic, and Gemma is phlegmatic.
* FriendlessBackground: there is no a single mention of possible friends that Gemma might have had in India.
* GaslampFantasy
* GenerationXerox: The parallels of the characters and general relationship of Gemma and Felicity with Gemma's mother and Circe are pretty obviously drawn. [[spoiler:In the end, however, it's avoided: Gemma never goes as far as her mother did with Carolina, and Felicity never betrays Gemma despite her jealousy.]]
* GirlPosse: Elizabeth Poole and, to a slightly lesser extent, Martha Hawthorne serve as this for [[AlphaBitch Cecily]].
* AGodAmI: By the end of the third book [[spoiler:Pippa]] has pretty much gone off the rails.
* GreenEyes: Gemma and her mother again. Both definitely of the magical type.
* TheGrimReaper: Members of the Order are supposed to act as psychopomps.
* HeelFaceTurn: Not exactly in the case of [[spoiler:Circe]], but she does end up saving Gemma when it comes down to it.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:Miss [=McCleethy=] substitutes herself for Gemma in Pippa's ritual. While she apparently didn't realize exactly how serious business the situation was at first, it's still clear that she would be willing to take the metaphorical bullet in order to keep Gemma and the magic safe.]] Before that was [[spoiler:Eugenia Spence, for Mary Dowd and Sarah Rees-Toome]], except in that case it... didn't work out so well.
** And how could we forget about [[spoiler:Kartik]]?
* HeroicSelfDeprecation: Ann is not a fan of herself, to the point of [[spoiler:self-harm]].
* HiddenDepths: Aside from most of the characters, interestingly, the books themselves. They look to have a more typical AllOfTheOtherReindeer CoolLoser vs. AlphaBitch plot and end up going somewhere much more complex (and, indeed, empowering) than that.
* HugeSchoolgirl: Though Gemma is very conscious of her height and the fact that she doesn't fit into the Victorian ideal of daintiness, she doesn't really have a complex over it.
* HumanSacrifice: Sends [[spoiler:Sarah Rees-Toome and Mary Dowd]] across the MoralEventHorizon.
* IWasQuiteALooker: Brigid, according to... Brigid.
* IllGirl: [[spoiler:Pippa, who has epilepsy]].
* TheIngenue: Pippa [[spoiler:at first]].
* IronicNurseryTune: [[TheOphelia Nell]] is fond of this.
* KansasCityShuffle: Pulled off by [[spoiler:Miss Moore, aka Circe]], to the point that our heroes [[spoiler:actually think she was a tragic victim of ''her own monsters'']].
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler:Circe. If you're not convinced that vaguely trying to save the life of the protagonist outweighs the sacrificing [=and/or=] murdering of countless innocent people (mostly children) then this trope arguably applies. Despite the aforementioned murders, she is given a place of 'glory' in the afterlife.]]
* KilledOffForReal: By the end of the trilogy the body count is pretty high. This includes but is not limited to [[spoiler:Virginia Doyle/Mary Dowd, Amar, Nell Hawkins, Circe, Miss [=McCleethy=], Pippa, and Kartik]].
* [[LetsPlay Let's Read]]: There's one that begins [[http://dragon-quill.blogspot.com/2011/12/great-and-terrible-beauty-ch1-2.html here.]]
* MagicMusic: The first talent others notice and try to foster in Ann is her singing voice, and yes, she gets to use it to magical effect at least once.
* MarySue: In-Universe - The main character in Ann's favorite book, "The Perils of Lucy". Also, in Rebel Angels, Cecily creates her own, named [[AuthorAvatar "Cecile"]]. HilarityEnsues as Gemma mentally snarks the quite awful story.
* MercyKill: [[spoiler:Nell]] foresees this happening to ''herself''. [[spoiler:Gemma]] doesn't get it at first, but when the time comes she fulfills the request [[spoiler:to stop Circe from using Nell as a sacrifice]].
* MissingMom.
* MyHovercraftIsFullOfEels: Gemma is wary of speaking Hindi [[CrowningMomentOfFunny for fear of this happening]].
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: As if there weren't enough cues upon his introduction, the leader of the Poppy Warriors introduces himself as Azreal.
** Subverted with Mrs. Nightwing.
* NeatFreak: Ann.
* NoNameGiven: Kartik is only ever known as exactly that. WordOfGod states he ''does'' have a last name that she chose privately (thus averting OnlyOneName), but she's not telling, so you can pick whatever. This also goes for Mr. Fowlson, who has a first name but is only ever known as "Fowlson."
** Kartik might not even be his real name: his name is the 8th lunar month of the Hindu calendar which corresponds roughly with... [[MeaningfulName November]]. In the third book he says his birthday is in November, solidifying the fact that his parents were either lacking in creativity when naming him, or when Gemma asked his name, he wasn't allowed to give it and just said the first thing that popped into his head.
** For what it's worth, Kartik/Karthik is actually a real Hindu name, and a very common one at that. It's not entirely impossible that there would be boys named Karthik who happened to be born in November. Not to mention, calendars vary throughout India: in some places, ''Karthika Maasam'' can refer to October as well.
* NoPeriodsPeriod: Averted, Gemma gets hers rather publicly in Rebel Angels.
* NouveauRiche: Ann's relatives, who sent her to Spence. Very much not people to root for or sympathize with.
* OfCorsetsSexy: Look no further than the book covers.
* OneGenderSchool
* TheOphelia: Poor, poor Nell Hawkins.
** While [[spoiler: Pippa]] isn't a typical example, being much more vicious than usual, she's associated with themes of drowning and flowers, and as she goes insane she's seen singing old folks songs.
* OpiumDen: A particularly low point for [[spoiler:Gemma and her father]], especially given that the whole thing happens as a result of [[spoiler:Gemma trying to use magic to ''cure'' her father's laudanum addiction]].
* OrWasItADream: Gemma dozes off in the boat on the lake on Spence grounds, thinking about her dead mother. While napping, she has a dream where she chases her mother through the woods, some ruins, and other places. [[spoiler:After she wakes up, she finds she has a torn and muddy scrap of blue cloth tucked into her bodice, exactly like the cloth that she tucked into her bodice in the dream after it tore off her mother's skirt]].
* OverlyLongGag: Ann is so unused to anyone reacting positively to the things she says that when people actually laugh at her jokes, she tends to run them into the ground until they aren't funny anymore. See AlliterativeName for an example.
* EeriePaleSkinnedBrunette: Pippa, considered by many characters to be the most beautiful girl they've ever seen. [[spoiler:By the end, she also most definitely fits into the "evil" variant of the trope.]]
* ParentalAbandonment: Gemma's mother's death is the catalyst for Gemma's adventures, and her father later becomes generally unavailable thanks to a very unpretty drug addiction. Felicity's mother is just kind of phoning it in, and while most people seem to think her father is a wonderful man, well... they're wrong. Ann is an orphan, and her living relatives are pretty awful. Pippa's parents are there for her, just [[ArrangedMarriage in the wrong way]].
* ParentalIncest: [[spoiler:Felicity]]'s backstory. When she got "too old," Daddy dumped her, later taking in another young relative as a "ward"...
* PowerTrio: [[spoiler:After Pippa begins to make the descent to AGodAmI, Gemma, Ann, and Felicity resolve themselves from a [[FourTemperamentEnsemble Four Temperament]] / [[FourGirlEnsemble Girl Ensemble]] into this, with Gemma as the ego, Ann as the superego, and Felicity as the id]].
* PrincessInRags: Ann pretended to be the grand-niece of the Duke of Chesterfield in ''Rebel Angels''.
* PurpleEyes: Pippa's unusual violet eyes add to her beauty.
* RagsToRoyalty: This is Ann's greatest daydream. She loves books in which this happens to the poor, plain heroine. She and Felicity even [[MockMillionaire try to convince others that this is truth]] in ''Rebel Angels''. [[spoiler:The lie, of course, eventually falls apart, and it never happens to Ann for real.]]
* RavenHairIvorySkin: Pippa.
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: Or perhaps even a FateWorseThanDeath, in the case of [[spoiler:Circe]].
--> [[spoiler:'''Circe''']]: Have no illusions about me, Gemma. I meant to save myself first. To have the power second. You were a distant third.
--> '''Gemma''': But I ''was'' third.
* RefusingParadise: [[spoiler: Gemma has to chose between dying and passing into the afterlife, honored as a hero, or being restored to life, granted one wish, and forgotten by time. She choses life, and wishes that her mentor/enemy be allowed into Heaven. ]]
* RightBehindMe: This happens to Gemma too often for her own good.
* UsefulNotes/{{Roma|ni}}: A band of gypsies (including Felicity's erstwhile boy toy Ithal) hangs around the woods near Spence on and off. This is something they've apparently done for years, as the elderly Mother Elena was around in Gemma's mother's time [[spoiler:as evidenced by the fact that it was Mother Elena's young daughter who ended up the tragic sacrifice of Mary Dowd and Sarah Rees-Toome]].
* RomanticFalseLead: Simon Middleton.
* RomanticTwoGirlFriendship: Mary and Sarah were inseparable. WordOfGod says the true nature of their relationship is open to interpretation.
* SacrificialLamb: Gemma's mom is dead by the end of chapter two. The list of bodies only grows from there.
* ScholarshipStudent: Ann, and she is never allowed to forget it.
* SchoolgirlLesbians: [[spoiler:Felicity]] is in love with [[spoiler:Pippa]]. The latter is probably BiTheWay (or possibly an example of IfItsYouItsOkay), but WordOfGod states that the former is definitely a lesbian, and her previous dalliances with men were part of her own self-denial (and, well, shameless attention grabs).
** Sarah Rees-Toome and Mary Dowd also have this going on, though it isn't said as directly (brought up by Felicity suspecting they're "Sapphists" when reading Mary's diary, and later reinforced by Brigid saying she saw Sarah kiss Mary "bold as you please" when spying on them). However, in Mary's case, like [[spoiler:Pippa's]], this is probably BiTheWay or IfItsYouItsOkay, considering [[spoiler:Mary grows up to become Gemma's mother and seems to have had a very loving relationship with her husband]].
* SecondLove: Mlle. [=LeFarge=] and Inspector Kent, after Gemma manages to (surreptitiously) convince the former to let go of her deceased fiancÚ. [[spoiler:Felicity]] worries that she will never find one of these after [[spoiler:Pippa is KilledOffForReal]].
--> '''Gemma''': You will love again, [[spoiler: Fee]].
--> [[spoiler:'''Felicity''']]: No. No, I won't. Not like this.
* ShootTheDog: The aforementioned MercyKill. It's not an easy choice to make.
* SignificantAnagram: Using anagrams was a common way for members of The Order to hide their identities. Most significantly, [[spoiler:Gemma is first fooled by "Claire [=McCleethy=]" being an anagram for "They call me Circe"]]--turns out [[spoiler:the Miss [=McCleethy=] Gemma knows took up the name as a decoy after the real Circe used it]]. Later, [[spoiler:once beloved teacher Hester Moore's middle name turns out to be Asa]], it doesn't take Gemma long to unscramble that to [[spoiler:Sarah Rees-Toome]].
* SlapSlapKiss: Gemma and Kartik. They spend the first book hating each other, the second book full of UST but still threatening each other with death (more Gemma doing the threats, though), and by the third book [[spoiler:they're together in an on-off way]]
* SternTeacher: Mrs. Nightwing.
* TheStoic: Ann is careful to maintain control of her reactions, due in part to her station meaning she has to take whatever is thrown at her by her "betters" and in part to the fact that she stutters horribly when she gets upset.
* StrongFamilyResemblance: Gemma inherited enough of her mother's appearance to significantly freak out at least one other character.
* SupernaturalFiction: The atmosphere of the setting is that of supernatural fiction and Libba Bray is fond of using this term to describe her works.
* TallDarkAndHandsome: Kartik.
* TitleDrop: ''A Great and Terrible Beauty'' is a phrase used by Gemma to describe [[spoiler:the feeling of using the magic in the runes in the realms]]. The other two are {{Literary Allusion Title}}s that get dropped in the {{Epigraph}}.
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil:Almost everything Gemma finds out about her mother in ''A Great and Terrible Beauty'' was supposed to be a surprise,but every synopsis everywhere, including to an extent the back of the book itself, lays it out bare (with, admittedly, the important exception of [[spoiler:Carolina's murder]]). Also, if you make the mistake of reading the back cover for ''Rebel Angels'' before finishing ''A Great and Terrible Beauty,'' oops, [[LateArrivalSpoiler now you know that]] [[spoiler:in the first book Pippa dies and the second book has a case of [[DeathIsCheap but not really]]]].
* VictorianLondon
* WorldTree: And not the good kind either. This is the kind that eats people.
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