Did you ever wish you could travel to some other magical world and maybe even become a hero? In her Gemma Doyle trilogy, Libba Bray shows her readers that whether in the world of reality or in the supernatural realms, all human beings possess the free will to become the heroes of their own stories, or the villains. Bray characterizes “good” behavior as selfless actions taken by individuals whose first priority is to help others, while “evil” behavior is carried out for selfish reasons by those who have become greedy for power. Throughout the protagonist Gemma Doyle’s journey, outside influences, such as positive, supportive friendships, play a significant role in shaping her decisions to act for the good of others, while the antagonist of the series, Circe, is driven to follow the path of evil in pursuit of more power. Bray’s young adult novels illustrate the universal human struggle to choose what is right over what is easy, and as her characters resolve this internal struggle, each one must be prepared to face the consequences of the path she has chosen.
Just as Libba Bray creates a fictional world in the Gemma Doyle trilogy, Clive Staples Lewis created the world of Narnia in The Chronicles of Narnia series. C.S. Lewis’ accomplishments extend beyond his authorship of The Chronicles of Narnia because he affected many people personally and spiritually through his writings and letters to his fans. There were several influences in his life, such as the death of his parents and his wife, Joy, and his friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien that caused Lewis’ faith in God to be tested and reevaluated. Lewis temporarily stopped believing in God after his mother died, and it was not until the death of his father that he rediscovered his faith. While grieving over his wife Joy’s death, C.S. Lewis’ bond with God became stronger than ever. Throughout his life, C.S. Lewis’ faith evolved and strengthened; Lewis expressed his faith in his literary works, such as the Narnia series, which helped his readers on their journeys of doubt and faith.
Major Works Consulted:
Bray, Libba. A Great and Terrible Beauty. New York: Delacorte, 2003.
Photo Credit: Bray, Libba. Rebel Angels. New York: Delacorte, 2005.
--. Rebel Angels. New York: Delacorte, 2005.
Coren, Michael. C.S. Lewis: The Man Who Created Narnia. San Francisco: Ignatius, 1996.
Duncan Ryan, John. The Magic Never Ends: The Life and Work of C.S. Lewis. Nashville: W. Publishing Group, 2001.