The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

Synopsis:
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.

Review:
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.

9 thoughts on “The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray”

  1. I just finished this yesterday (after devouring the last few hundred pages in a day). I agree, I’m looking forward to reading Bray’s next novel. I sometimes felt that I didn’t relate to all of the aspects of these books, but in the end I think it’s an outstanding trilogy. She took the characters, the feminist issues, the epic plot, the fun asides, the romances, and everything to the fullest point. I had goosepimples and tears, which is rare. Very satisfying.

  2. This books promises to be a great read, especially due to the fact that there is a fanatsy, magical world involved. Such books that talk of fantasy worlds totally impress and intrigue me. Recently, I have been reading the famous fantasy novels of CS Lewis (I am a great fan of his too)- The Chronicles of Narnia, and am highly impressed by the author’s imagination as well as the few well-described war sequences in the stories and of course the magical land of Narnia itsellf! Since reading these and Lord of the Rings and of course Harry Potter, I’ve become an ardent fan of books that deal with new utopic worlds.
    In fact, Disney and Walden are coming up with the latest Narnia movie-Prince Caspian, this May 16th. It promises to be awesome by the looks of the trailer. The very hot Ben Barnes is playing the character of Prince Caspian!! I am soo awaiting this release.

  3. I have been tring desprately to get a hold of ‘The Sweet Far Thing’…. But every time I went to the library… Someone else had gotten it first……. I’m looking for other books that are ok compared to how badly I want this book!!!!!
    But the only reason I know about the ‘Libba Bray Trilogy’ is because I have been blessed with an awsome 7th grade English teacher/who is evidently my reading teacher too 🙂 :p

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