The concluding adventures of Gemma Doyle, proper Victorian debutante and keeper of the magic of a mystical world called the realms, which is threatened by intruders from the ominous Winterlands.
The Sweet Far Thing ends the trilogy that began with A Great and Terrible Beauty, followed by Rebel Angels. Gemma Doyle and her friends are boarding school girls in Victorian England. They should be focusing on their upcoming debuts, but instead their attentions are captured by a war brewing in the realms, the magical world that Gemma can open.
Gemma now has control of the magic of the realms, and though she’s promised to share it among some of the groups who call the realms home, she wants to keep her power long enough to secure her future and that of her friends. However, Gemma soon learns that the magic has a will of its own, and she starts to see her decisions have unforeseen results.
The plot is quite dense, and at times it was difficult to follow–perhaps all the more so because it’s been a while since I read books one and two. However, Libba Bray’s deft characterizations and risky choices kept me more than happy to keep reading. Gemma is a complex girl, who doesn’t always make the right decisions. And her love affair with Indian Karthik oozes with passion.
I am eager to see what Bray writes next. I love what she did with Victorian England, not just the setting but the mores and tensions of an era on the cusp of modernization. She’s got a real storytelling gift and conjures wonderfully nuanced characters. The Gemma Doyle trilogy is great YA fantasy for older teens, as well as readers like me who have never grown out of the genre.