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It has been a year of change since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy. Having bound the wild, dark magic of the realms to her, Gemma has forged unlikely and unsuspected new alliances both with the headstrong Felicity and timid Ann, Kartik, the exotic young man whose companionship is forbidden, and the fearsome creatures of the realms. Now, as Gemma approaches her London debut, the time has come to test those bonds.

As her friendship with Felicity and Ann faces its gravest trial, and with the Order grappling for control of the realms, Gemma is compelled to decide once and for all which path she is meant to take.

Pulled forward by fate, the destiny Gemma faces threatens to set chaos loose, not only in the realms, but also upon the rigid Victorian society whose rules Gemma has both defied and followed. Where does Gemma really belong? And will she, can she, survive?
Published: Simon & Schuster UK on
ISBN: 9781847387189
List price: $12.99
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reread : I still think that this book in the series could use a good editor ( 200 pages of back and forth in the realms could really stand to be trimmed ) and I am yet again confused on how Felicity's path is somehow neatly resolved, but all in all, I do enjoy this books.more
Gemma is forced to (finally) decide what to do with the magic of the realms now that forces of evil have begun to openly move to seize it. The time has also come for the girls to leave school and make their debuts along with choices about their futures.OMG that was soooo loooooong. (Apparently teen Victorian lit puts me in the mood for txt speak.) Seriously, make a decision. Any decision. The realms and your lives are in danger. Do NOT play games in a castle.I enjoyed most of the themes here, and, for the most part, I was glad of the way things ended, as well, but by the end of it, when she talked about every character's longing, I was mostly just longing for her to get on with it. Yay for strong female characters. Still pretty glad I read the series.*Spoilery Bits!!!*++++++++++++++++++1. Thank goodness Ann finally had some strength, but I wish she had kicked a little more booty in the realms, too. She was kind of inconsequential there. 2. Yay for GLBTQ characters, but did she really have to be abused as a child first? 3. Kartik being gone was really the easy way out. It would've been a lot harder to explain how they got on with their life if he had continued to exist in this world.more
Although, I feel that Libba Bray threw in everything even the kitchen sink in this one I do believe that it was a good conclusion to the series. Again, Gemma and the girls must deal with very serious issues on both internal and external levels. As they attempt to restore the Realms they must look inside themselves. The result is a harrowing journey through darkness and into light.more
While the size of this book daunted me a little, I tore through it. The plot twisted in ways I didn’t think, and the ending was gut-wrenchingly good. (In that NOOO must these characters die, stay here, I love you! way) I loved Gemma’s dealings with everyone trying to get her magic and how she tries to stay on her own path without descending into darkness. Ann’s story was completely heart-breaking for a good chunk of the book, and I almost cheered when she decided to take her life and destiny into her own hands. The only thing I didn’t like was the third-person prologue—it makes sense in context, but it’s jarring to see the narrative out of Gemma’s head. I was afraid that the size of the book would mean a long, drawn out ending book that will. Not. End, but I loved every page of this.more
I was unimpressed with the conclusion of this series. This last installment was far more predictable (and I had the conversation with myself: do I have a better feel for Gemma's character? Is that why I see what's coming?--but no, it's just predictable, right down to the Big Reveal of Pippa and Felicity) and Gemma was all over the place. The previous two books show her to be a strong, smart girl, but now here she makes some of the most idiotic decisions.

I'd still recommend the series to people, but this ending didn't light my world on fire. And the ending conversation with the headmistress, about how the girls should be taught to THINK and not just Be Fine Ladies? Ugh. A good message, sure, but could it have been any more heavy-handed?more
Ah, Kartik!

This series was very fun to listen to. I'm not sure if I would have READ them, but the reader of the audio books was very good. I loved having a fun, interesting story to listen to in my car. Also, my Indian accent is WAY better now. :Dmore
This book is amazing, one of my favorite books of all time. It is a bit long, but I didn't care I couldn't put it down. It is the last book that has to tie loose ends, it normally is long anyway. I loved that Kartik and Gemma got together in this book. Again beautiful language, and an ending that left me in tears. When an author is brave enough to kill off a major character, you have something that stands out as more complex and therefore special, to invoke such emotion in the audience. If you have not read this book, I suggest you do so because you are missing out.more
3.5 / 5

I'm a bit conflicted about this book. I read A Great and Terrible Beauty quite a while ago and enjoyed it, even though I thought there were flaws; then I started to read Rebel Angels and gave up on it halfway through. I probably would have given up on the series if I hadn't read and enjoyed Libba Bray's new book, Beauty Queens.

Things I liked: I was entertained; I was surprised by the ending, but thought it was good/appropriate; Felicity.

Things I didn't like: the language felt a bit sloppy/awkward at times - to give one example, the characters "groused" lines of dialogue on at least three occasions, two of which were quite close together.

I felt that there could have been more description in certain places. It often seemed jarring when the characters traveled in the realms, because they go so abruptly from one point to the other with little description of what each point actually looks like or what they see in between.

While I enjoy long books, it felt like this one could have been condensed in several areas.

Anyway, I'm glad I read it. I'm interested to see what Libba Bray's new series will be like.more
This third and final book in the Gemma Doyle series was incredibly similar to the second. Maddeningly slow to get started, but with beautiful descriptions of locations. Again, Gemma allows her friends to push her into making stupid decisions and even makes some of her own. This was also by far the worst about stringing you along forever before telling you anything about what was really going on. Although this review is mostly negative, that’s simply because the changes compared to the first book in the series are mostly bad things. I still enjoyed the world the author created and the evocative descriptions. I would definitely recommend the whole series; just don’t expect to like the sequels quite as much as the first book.more
Great end to the trilogy, but did leave me wanting more!more
The final book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy follows Gemma as she deals with her role in controlling the magic of the realms and the impending battle with the dark creatures of the Winterlands. At the same time she and her friends must also face their futures as they prepare to leave Spence Academy and make their debuts.The final book in the trilogy was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Throughout all three books, the main characters have been clearly defined as realistic and flawed teenage girls and it was this characterization that really annoyed me for the first half of the book. However, in the second half of the book, the action picked up and the characters' choices ceased to irritate me.Bray continued to impress me with her ability to skillfully include so many different historical elements. My favourites in this book were references to H.G. Wells, Oscar Wilde, Jack the Ripper, suffragettes, and the development of workers' unions. She also used W.B. Yeats' poem "The Rose of Battle" as the epigraph and weaved themes from the poem very effectively into the narrative.While I think the first half of the book could have been edited to be a little tighter, the final half of the book made up for these flaws. I found it to be a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy and I was pleased with how Bray allowed her characters to develop.more
It was a nice read. A tad long-winded maybe, and not particularly strong plot-wise. I didn't specifically like the way Gemma's magic was used to fit the plot - now she's all-powerful, now she can't manage a thing. And I found her a bit too modern in her views, out of place. I'm sure fans of the series will delight in reading about Gemma's final adventures.more
The Sweet Far Thing was the one filled with most action, even though i liked better the first one, it cought up my atention until the very end. It took me almost 3 days to finish it entirely because its 820 pages long and also because the first 20 chapters werent as intense i though and hoped they would have been.One thing i loved from the movie was the love stories between Pippa, Felicity, Gemma and Kartik, the way they always feel the rush to be together altough they shouldn't. I also like the way Miss McCleethy dies and they way they tell it in the book, the feelings the girls show like if it wasnt such a big deal. The one thing i didnt expect was Tom trying to enter the Rakshana or Gemmas father going back to India and those where the things that made the story worth reading for.At the end it all finished the way we all expected it to, Gemma saves the realms and doesnt give up on the magic but gets away for a while. I, personally, wanted it to end in a different way, maybe she would've died and the realms would have disappear with her, or maybe she was the one the tree chooses and Kartik live, that was the only thing i really wanted, Kartick to live. Great book, and i would've read more of them if there were any, but as they say, Everything Eventually Has To Get To An End.more
This was the third, final, and most well written of the trilogy. Gemma has bound the magic of the realms to herself and is able to wield it in her own world while stalling in making the alliance necessary in the realms. She finds herself torn between the realities of the world she lives in and the things she and her friends desperately want.While it was more lengthy than may have been needed, the ending was both tragic enough to bring a swell of tears to my eyes, and uplifting in it's purity and balance. Certainly it was fitting and worth the wait. The beautiful imagery seen in the first two books is found here again, intertwined with darkness and shadow that makes for a wonderful balance. Written for young adults, this is whimisical enough to make me feel giddy and dark enough to keep me coming back for more. Not being a young adult myself, I'm satisfied with a well told story and glad I stumbled upon the set.more
Venture into a tale in which life was different then how it is now. Where only men had all the power and all a woman had was her own reputation and a tale where real magic happens. Libba Bray's The Sweet Far Thing will ensnare you in in a book of twists and turns of magical confusion. Gemma Doyle is a girl who lives life in London in a time where girls wore corsets and pretty dresses, as those with no money live on the streets. Gemma is attending Spence Academy, a school for young ladies where it is grand and magnificent. Though Spence Academy is part of a cursed area, which burned down long ago ashen and dead. Moving on Gemma is no ordinary girl she is not a lady with fair skin, she is a lady who has seen the sun and felt it's heat in India. Gossip and parties do not spark an interest in her for she worries about something more urgent. That urgent thing is, the Realms, a place of inbetween or magic, where dreams come true or they come to be shattered. Also a place for those to pass over. In this place there are places of good where flowers shall bloom and thrive, and there are places that brings a cold that may chill you to your bone, as people hang from trees like forbidden fruit, it is known as the Winterlands, cold and resentful. Evil will rise, and Gemma must come forth to stop it. Betrayals will happen, and secrets revealed. Nothing is certain in the realms. Even though there is much more to this story, I will not be the one to spoil it. The book ends with an air of sastification, and an ending with sayings that are meaningfull and true. This is a book for those who likes to read fantasy books and who enjoys a plot filled with unexpecteded ends. But truly it is for those who love happy endings. Reader you will be given a magical story of twists and turns.more
This is without a doubt, the best book in the trilogy. I have to wipe my nose and some tears from my eyes as I close it.Let me just say this book is 100x better than Breaking Dawn. The resolution is bittersweet.more
Trilogies tend to let you down in the final book - they can't sustain the weight of the story told so far and resolve things satisfactorily in the time remaining. That is NOT the case with this book. I couldn't stop reading it until I had finished. Bray has a way of drawing the reader into her characters' lives; it's like if you stop reading, you'll let them down. The battle that ended the war that had been brewing for 2 books was suitably epic, and the individual fates of the characters following the end of the war were bittersweet - not overly sugarcoated. That added a level of maturity to the ending, which otherwise might have been trite. Beautiful trilogy.more
Plot: Gemma has taken all the magic of the realms into herself and has promised to create an alliance to share the magic equally. But now that the time is upon her, she is hesitant. She doesn’t know who to trust anymore. Her enemies are using her family against her, Kartik has disappeared without a trace and Gemma has started having dreams about a murdered young woman. The woman is trying to warn her about something but she has no idea what. Her time at Spence is almost up and her coming out is almost upon her. It should be the happiest moment of her life but she is too busy trying to find a place for herself and her friends in this world and in the realms. She is too busy trying to survive the plots of those who would control her power.This is the last volume in the Gemma Doyle series and by far the largest at over 800 pages. I was hesitant to get started on it with all the other novels that have piled up but ultimately I couldn’t resist. Bray has completely charmed me with her version of Victorian England and her very real, very flawed characters. I didn’t not for a minute think the book was too long (only too heavy). I needed to know if and how they get through their adventures in the end. I won’t spoil anything but I will say that Bray is not afraid to hurt her characters for the sake of the story. And that’s a good thing, it makes the story all the more exciting and suspenseful.I still occasionally got a bit frustrated with the selfish and thoughtless was the girls dealt with their powers and the trouble it ultimately led to; they didn’t seem to have learned from their mistakes in the previous two books or matured at all. But even so, in spite of their flaws and mistakes, I cared for these girls and for what would happen to them and that kept me reading. I found the ending a little too open-ended to fully satisfy me but the journey there was more than worth it.If you are teaching, this book (and those before it) is a great starting point to discuss many of the social issues of the period (most of which continue to be relevant today) such as race, class and the position of women. Bray doesn’t shy away from these problems and she doesn’t ignore them to make her narrative easier (the problems of class and race in the relationship between Gemma and Kartik are a good example of this). There is even a reader’s guide at the end to help you get started.more
I adored the first two Gemma Doyle books by Libby Bray. They were so different than anything I previously had read. I immediately adored Bray's world. Gemma atteneds Spence Academy after her mother's murder in India. She makes friends with three girls attending the English boarding school. Beautiful Pippa, fiesty and scandulous Felicity, and charity case Anne. The girls discover a mysterious, magical place called The Realms. The Realms aren't all goodness and light. There are many dark forces at play and everyone wants power over the Realms and the real world as well. For three LONG novels, I have been invested in the Realms and the many factions fighting for the power. I have been enamoured with the four main girls who all exhibit signs of light and dark as well. I have pitied the girls, laughed with them, and even shed a tear or two along the way. While "The Sweet Far Thing" is not a bad book, by any means, it does fall short of the first two. One reason is at 800+ pages it is too long. If these pages were filled with important content or thread closures it might be the perfect legnth. Unforunately I found it to have more filler than usual. There are several new characters and I don't usually think adding new characters into the series on the last book is a good idea. Here it definitely is not. This made the book feel like Bray backed herself into a corner and had to quickly put in some new characters and plots to get herself out of them. Just this week I read the last book in the Hunger Games trilogy. Many fans are upset with the choices that author made. She sacrificed some beloved characters as well as made a brazen choice of what to do with one of the members of the love triangle. I spoke out in my review stating that while sad and disappointing, these choices felt natural to the book. They were well thought decisions that stregnthened the series and gave it a satisfying conclusion. With "Sweet Far Thing", Bray also made some decisions for Gemma and her friends. A couple felt natural. (Pippa, Anne, and Felcity ended up in places that felt in line with the series storyline arc) The other controversial choice was where Kartik ended up. This has to be the biggest "What the Heck?" moment I've come across in my reading. There was no build up to this, no reason for it. It was a jarring and disappointing choice for Bray to make. It will certainly make me think twice about recommending this series to others. After investing the time and money, not to mention the heart, to this series, I feel that there is ultimately no payoff. Something is missing. Both with Kartik and with the status of Realms at the end. I don't need a happy ending and I don't need all my personal preferences met in a novel, but this was so ridiculous and out there. I give it three stars because I did enjoy it up until the end and I did like the resolutions for some of the characters.more
Final book of the Gemma Doyle Trilogy. Gemma struggles with the pressures of preparing for her debut as a young woman in London society while she works to bring order to the growing chaos in the Realms. Alliances are tested and puzzling clues cause Gemma to question who and what to trust--including her own mind. For those who wish the trilogy wouldn’t end, this 800-page plus book may satisfy. Bray leaves it open-ended and it seems possible that she may someday re-visit Gemma Doyle.more
This is one of my favorite books I read it around the time it came out and I have read it four times since then. This book is the third and last book in the Gemma Doyle sieres it is beautifully written and has a very intrresting plot and story line it has calm momments throughout the book but they are never boring...This book is amazing!!! You wont want to put it down untill you have read every singel page...more
What Bray does best in this series is use the fantasy elements in the story to talk about the real emotional plight of women at the time. The freedom of the fairy land is a good way to illustrate the stifling social customs in the real world. This is my favorite of the three, because Gemma really comes into her own. The series would fit well in a unit on women's studies.more
A satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. There are quite a few surprises along the way and not everything is pretty, but in the end you are happy for how things turn out for Gemma, Ann and Felicity.more
I very much enjoyed this series. I thought it was beautifully written with wonderful plot lines highlighting the peaks and valleys of love, friendship, and the harsh realities we are forced to see as we grow older. It is a wonderful 'coming of age' story that is fitting for any age to read. It is a clean read, so parents should not hesitate to let their teens read it; yet at the same time, is written with enough sophistication to appeal to older crowds. I would definitely suggest giving this series a try...at the very least, pop in the book on cd and listen to a bit of it while you are driving. The reader is wonderful!! But be careful...cause that is how i got hooked. If you already love historical fiction, you will devour this read. If not, it's a great place to start.more
Long, boring, and relatively pointless. I read Going Bovine first and it was an awesome book, so I had high hopes for the rest of her work. I was very dissapointed by this series, especially since I love seeing stories out there about girls that don't fallow the set path. This book doesn't deliver a memorable story though. The one good thing I can say is that at least it's not one of those books brainwashing teenaged girls into buying more jimmy chu shoes.more
I rated the book The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray a ten. This book was amazing. The way Libba Bray created a fantasy world yet making it realistic, was incredible. I felt like I was the main character herself. I felt everything she went through and all the emotions she went through. Even though this book is about magic and couldn't possibly be real, it felt real. Just like the first two books in this series, Gemma Doyle faces challenges with the magic she's been given. She has to decide right from wrong, and good from bad...but how is she supposed to figure that out if she doesn't know who's the bad guy?Emmamore
Even though this book is over 800 pages, I loved every page of it! I tried to figure out if there was any part of it that could’ve been cut out, but I don’t think I would’ve liked it as much if any of its parts were missing. There is so much going on in the book – from everyone wanting to possess the magic to the individual struggles of Gemma, Felicity, and Ann – but it never felt tedious to me. The pacing of the story was exactly as it needed to be to tell the complete story.This book, more than the other two in the trilogy, kept me guessing about what would happen next. I was fairly sure I knew where some parts of the plot would end, but there were aspects of this story that came as a complete surprise. As someone who enjoys surprises, I like the vagueness of Gemma’s dreams and visions, as they can be understood in a number of ways. However, it also drives me crazy that someone who is communicating beyond the grave can’t be more specific. I mean, seriously, if you die and want to tell me about someone who’s trying to kill me, please, for the love of all that is holy, give me details! Use a name! But, as this is a useful dramatic device, I’ll allow it in a book.Throughout the first two books I felt a connection to the main characters, but in this one I finally got the depth that I was hoping for. This certainly accounts for the length of the book, but it is the journeys outside of the Realms that Gemma, Felicity, and Ann must take that interested me most. For much of the series, Ann has faded into the background, destined for a life of servitude. There are moments in this book where she has to fight for what she wants, and watching her as she battles through swirling emotions was actually one of the best parts of this story for me. But I’m not gonna lie; unless they were on-page together, I spent most of the book anticipating Gemma and Kartik’s next interaction. I’m not saying that I fully understand why their relationship is so appealing to me, but the push and pull between the two of them is electric. Their sense of longing for each other jumped off the page and seeped into my blood, and I could not get enough of their tension-filled encounters.Of course, everything in the trilogy has been building to a showdown over the magic. Figuring out which side of the battle each character stands on is part of the drama, so I won’t give anything away about that. But I do want to say that I’m glad that there was some ambiguity in that matter, that someone could end up on the wrong side for the right reasons or the right side for the wrong reasons.I’m sad that this series has come to an end, for a number of reasons, but I think that the ending worked well for the story as a whole, especially when remembering when and where it is set.more
Well, it's over. The Sweet Far Thing is the last in this trilogy of books by Libba Bray that depict young women in Victorian England with access to magical realms (creatively called "the realms") and yet don't have any idea what to do with this magic, so they spend three books trying to figure that out while dodging all adult advice/manipulation. Of course, just because it's the last book doesn't mean that it's a fast conclusion. Oh no. You've got 819 pages to savor the end of the series. It's Harry Potter proportions... only I haven't found this series to be anywhere near as compelling.Here's the thing. It's the third book, so if you've made it through the first two, it means that you either (a) love these books and so you're excited or (b) are like me and have an obsessive need to finish what you've begun. Either way, you're probably going to read it, having made it this far, so I don't feel like I need to sell anyone on this.Gemma is still seventeen, in her last few months attending Spence's boarding school for young ladies, and she's still trying to decide what to do with this power she's been given -- and everyone else is quick to demand that she hand it over. The Order, the Rakshana, Circe... yes, I know that Gemma thought she killed her in book two, but as you know if you've read these books, people who have been killed aren't nearly as dead as they should be when the realms are concerned. Pippa, who was already lost to the realms, is now assured that she's certainly stuck there and her own sense of self-importance is fanned by a coterie of adoring girls (victims of a factory fire also stuck in this limbo) who might not be cultured, but worship Pip. Circe is still somehow present in the realms' temple and all too easily works her way into Gemma's confidence. (Um, Gemma? This woman is responsible for your mom's death. Remember that?) And then there's Amar, the brother of Gemma's love interest, Kartik, and member of the Rakshana. He's prowling around as a corrupted being like Pippa and he seems to be commanding an army of Winterlands creatures in a bid to keep the magic for their own use. How are the mighty fallen.Of course, Gemma has to come a long way before she realizes that curtsying correctly for her presentation to Queen Victoria is not exactly something she can compare with all the difficult decisions ahead. It's too easy for Gemma to use magic for her own purposes... whether that's making her family a little happier or making herself seem more powerful and wanted by Simon to upset his father, a member of the Rakshana. Sure, she's a teenager, but even she should know better by this point. When it comes down to the big decisions, a lot of them are made off the cuff, without much forethought. Spur of the moment things that are meant to show bravery or somesuch nonsense, but really just seem to suggest that no one can think ahead.Suffice to say that since this is the last book, we finally have some resolutions about things. The Felicity/Pippa connection (if you haven't figured out that they're not just friends by now, then I'm not sure that you actually read the previous two books) is built up to this huge unveiling, but since that seemed obvious, it was a bit annoying... and particularly annoying is Fee's absolute conviction in her inclinations. Being only a teenager at this time period, I should think that she would still be figuring it all out as opposed to being so convinced of her orientation. Those looking for Gemma and Kartik to finally get together should feel pleased... for a few minutes. Kartik's utter devotion to Gemma might seem unrealistic, but given the out-of-the-ordinary circumstances that unite them, I accepted it as sweet and chivalrous, because at least you knew he had struggled with his decisions. Though the fact that they get together before we're close to the finale should be your first indication that nothing can end well. It did, however, annoy me that Bray settled on the path that allows their love (which could probably never exist in the real world outside the realms, given the time period) but takes the easy way out as far as resolutions go. Ultimately, I have a hard time seeing how all this trouble can be attributed to anything but Gemma's inability to make up her mind and part with her powers. She acts much younger than her age, particularly given how most everyone else around her seems capable of rising to their challenges. She may be the narrator and thus, the one we are supposed to identify with and root for, but my sympathy for Gemma only goes so far.As for the writing, I feel as though Bray isn't quite where she needs to be. She moves much too quickly through her descriptions, particularly as it concerns the action. It's as though she assumed by writing quickly, we'd hurry through it and the only important part, really, is the outcome so we'll focus on that instead. And that's an odd feeling to have... for eight hundred or so pages. Even three lengthy books didn't seem enough to encompass an adequate description of this fantasy world that Bray created. I would have preferred a storyline much more compact in its scope and more detail about the realms. Or if epic was the objective, then something else needed to give way. I felt as though very few decisions were made... which rather makes me equate Gemma with Libba Bray in that sense.If you enjoyed the series up to now, you'll probably still like it because you're predisposed to such a decision. If you're on the fence, then I think you might be swayed towards annoyance. I do appreciate Bray's expansive imagination that allows for such fantastic creations, but ultimately I think she needs to learn that writing is about making choices... which seems to be the lesson that she's trying to teach Gemma throughout this trilogy, so it would be a good one to take to heart.more
This is the third, and final book, of the Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray. Although this was an excellent book; I think it was the weakest of the series.This book picks up with the girls back at Spence Academy looking forward to a new school year. Gemma is struggling to use her magic to summon a door to the realms and also finds out that the wing of the school that burnt down is being rebuilt. Gemma has more visions and eventually they lead her to find that there is a door to enter the realms in the old wing of the school. When Felicity, Ann, and Gemma enter the realms they find that things have changed; the creatures from the Winterlands are missing. Gemma is pressured by the forest folk to share the magic that she bound to herself in the last book and is unsure of who to trust throughout the whole book.There is a lot to say about this book. The book was very long; a bit too long. It is a long time until Kartrik enters the story and initially you are left wondering if you'll ever see him again. Gemma's character became kind of frustrating to read about. She knows that what she does with the magic is really important, yet she seems to spend a lot of time playing with the magic. This seems inconsistent with her character; usually she gets things done. In this book she spends a lot of time using the magic for frivolous purposes. I am not sure if this was supposed to portray Gemma's immaturity or what the purpose was.This book had some interesting political overtones; which were different from previous books in the series. There was more of a women's rights and worker's rights theme to this book. I thought it was strange that politics enter into the storyline fairly prominently. This was something the girls never worried about much before. Maybe the politics were supposed to show us that the girls were maturing and starting to pay more attention to society outside of their little happy sphere.I am not surprised at how things ended between Gemma and Kartrik. I am surprised that so many readers were caught off guard by the result of their relationship. Really, to stay at all true with the times, that was probably the best way to handle things. Felicity, Gemma, and Ann are already bolder than I think the society of the time would really allow for; what happens with Gemma and Kartrik brings a bit of realism to the story.I though Felicity and Ann's storylines were well done and wrapped up nicely. I especially like how Ann's story went; that girl deserved a nice turn in her life. I think Felicity's story ended on a more positive note than it would realistically. As for Gemma's final story; I have to agree with other reviewers that that was totally out of left field. No idea at all where that came from. Gemma's decisions about her future didn't seem to fit with the rest of Gemma's interests and life style. It was odd. I am not sure if the author's sole intention was to surprise and shock but, well, I guess if that was the intention, it worked.Overall the book was well-written, ended okay, and left the characters in pleasant (almost too pleasant) stages of their lives. I wish the story had been a bit tighter, that Gemma's character had stayed more true to her, well, character, and that things hadn't ended on such an absurdly positive fairytale-ish note. Other than that it was a very satisfying read and a good conclusion to an absolutely wonderful series. It will be interesting to see what Miss Bray writes next!more
After being so amazingly impacted by the first two books in the Gemma Doyle Trilogy, I had been wanting to read this conclusive volume for a long while.Maybe I was simply expecting too much, but I was a bit disappointed by "The Sweet Far Thing."While it wasn't all that terrible, there was just too much wrong with it for me to enjoy it nearly as much as its prequels.Firstly, at 848 pages, it was much too long. It seemed that the author wanted to stretch the book out into a grand, very long, epic - but it wasn't. The plot would have much better fit into a book half this one's size.Also, I was disappointed by the characters. They did not seem so engaging or lifelike as before.The plot was largely predictable, and I was not really surprised by anything that happened.Libba Bray does her best toward the ends of books, with thrilling, page-turning climaxes, but do not expect such here. The climax kept breaking off, and Gemma would go see her family, or something inconsequential. It made little sense and took away much for the desired feeling of urgency and excitement.However, it is true that not all in this book was bad. I liked how everything ended, even if it was a bit sad. The author ties every event from the first two books together well.In short - not nearly as good as the first two, but still a good book.more
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Reviews

reread : I still think that this book in the series could use a good editor ( 200 pages of back and forth in the realms could really stand to be trimmed ) and I am yet again confused on how Felicity's path is somehow neatly resolved, but all in all, I do enjoy this books.more
Gemma is forced to (finally) decide what to do with the magic of the realms now that forces of evil have begun to openly move to seize it. The time has also come for the girls to leave school and make their debuts along with choices about their futures.OMG that was soooo loooooong. (Apparently teen Victorian lit puts me in the mood for txt speak.) Seriously, make a decision. Any decision. The realms and your lives are in danger. Do NOT play games in a castle.I enjoyed most of the themes here, and, for the most part, I was glad of the way things ended, as well, but by the end of it, when she talked about every character's longing, I was mostly just longing for her to get on with it. Yay for strong female characters. Still pretty glad I read the series.*Spoilery Bits!!!*++++++++++++++++++1. Thank goodness Ann finally had some strength, but I wish she had kicked a little more booty in the realms, too. She was kind of inconsequential there. 2. Yay for GLBTQ characters, but did she really have to be abused as a child first? 3. Kartik being gone was really the easy way out. It would've been a lot harder to explain how they got on with their life if he had continued to exist in this world.more
Although, I feel that Libba Bray threw in everything even the kitchen sink in this one I do believe that it was a good conclusion to the series. Again, Gemma and the girls must deal with very serious issues on both internal and external levels. As they attempt to restore the Realms they must look inside themselves. The result is a harrowing journey through darkness and into light.more
While the size of this book daunted me a little, I tore through it. The plot twisted in ways I didn’t think, and the ending was gut-wrenchingly good. (In that NOOO must these characters die, stay here, I love you! way) I loved Gemma’s dealings with everyone trying to get her magic and how she tries to stay on her own path without descending into darkness. Ann’s story was completely heart-breaking for a good chunk of the book, and I almost cheered when she decided to take her life and destiny into her own hands. The only thing I didn’t like was the third-person prologue—it makes sense in context, but it’s jarring to see the narrative out of Gemma’s head. I was afraid that the size of the book would mean a long, drawn out ending book that will. Not. End, but I loved every page of this.more
I was unimpressed with the conclusion of this series. This last installment was far more predictable (and I had the conversation with myself: do I have a better feel for Gemma's character? Is that why I see what's coming?--but no, it's just predictable, right down to the Big Reveal of Pippa and Felicity) and Gemma was all over the place. The previous two books show her to be a strong, smart girl, but now here she makes some of the most idiotic decisions.

I'd still recommend the series to people, but this ending didn't light my world on fire. And the ending conversation with the headmistress, about how the girls should be taught to THINK and not just Be Fine Ladies? Ugh. A good message, sure, but could it have been any more heavy-handed?more
Ah, Kartik!

This series was very fun to listen to. I'm not sure if I would have READ them, but the reader of the audio books was very good. I loved having a fun, interesting story to listen to in my car. Also, my Indian accent is WAY better now. :Dmore
This book is amazing, one of my favorite books of all time. It is a bit long, but I didn't care I couldn't put it down. It is the last book that has to tie loose ends, it normally is long anyway. I loved that Kartik and Gemma got together in this book. Again beautiful language, and an ending that left me in tears. When an author is brave enough to kill off a major character, you have something that stands out as more complex and therefore special, to invoke such emotion in the audience. If you have not read this book, I suggest you do so because you are missing out.more
3.5 / 5

I'm a bit conflicted about this book. I read A Great and Terrible Beauty quite a while ago and enjoyed it, even though I thought there were flaws; then I started to read Rebel Angels and gave up on it halfway through. I probably would have given up on the series if I hadn't read and enjoyed Libba Bray's new book, Beauty Queens.

Things I liked: I was entertained; I was surprised by the ending, but thought it was good/appropriate; Felicity.

Things I didn't like: the language felt a bit sloppy/awkward at times - to give one example, the characters "groused" lines of dialogue on at least three occasions, two of which were quite close together.

I felt that there could have been more description in certain places. It often seemed jarring when the characters traveled in the realms, because they go so abruptly from one point to the other with little description of what each point actually looks like or what they see in between.

While I enjoy long books, it felt like this one could have been condensed in several areas.

Anyway, I'm glad I read it. I'm interested to see what Libba Bray's new series will be like.more
This third and final book in the Gemma Doyle series was incredibly similar to the second. Maddeningly slow to get started, but with beautiful descriptions of locations. Again, Gemma allows her friends to push her into making stupid decisions and even makes some of her own. This was also by far the worst about stringing you along forever before telling you anything about what was really going on. Although this review is mostly negative, that’s simply because the changes compared to the first book in the series are mostly bad things. I still enjoyed the world the author created and the evocative descriptions. I would definitely recommend the whole series; just don’t expect to like the sequels quite as much as the first book.more
Great end to the trilogy, but did leave me wanting more!more
The final book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy follows Gemma as she deals with her role in controlling the magic of the realms and the impending battle with the dark creatures of the Winterlands. At the same time she and her friends must also face their futures as they prepare to leave Spence Academy and make their debuts.The final book in the trilogy was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Throughout all three books, the main characters have been clearly defined as realistic and flawed teenage girls and it was this characterization that really annoyed me for the first half of the book. However, in the second half of the book, the action picked up and the characters' choices ceased to irritate me.Bray continued to impress me with her ability to skillfully include so many different historical elements. My favourites in this book were references to H.G. Wells, Oscar Wilde, Jack the Ripper, suffragettes, and the development of workers' unions. She also used W.B. Yeats' poem "The Rose of Battle" as the epigraph and weaved themes from the poem very effectively into the narrative.While I think the first half of the book could have been edited to be a little tighter, the final half of the book made up for these flaws. I found it to be a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy and I was pleased with how Bray allowed her characters to develop.more
It was a nice read. A tad long-winded maybe, and not particularly strong plot-wise. I didn't specifically like the way Gemma's magic was used to fit the plot - now she's all-powerful, now she can't manage a thing. And I found her a bit too modern in her views, out of place. I'm sure fans of the series will delight in reading about Gemma's final adventures.more
The Sweet Far Thing was the one filled with most action, even though i liked better the first one, it cought up my atention until the very end. It took me almost 3 days to finish it entirely because its 820 pages long and also because the first 20 chapters werent as intense i though and hoped they would have been.One thing i loved from the movie was the love stories between Pippa, Felicity, Gemma and Kartik, the way they always feel the rush to be together altough they shouldn't. I also like the way Miss McCleethy dies and they way they tell it in the book, the feelings the girls show like if it wasnt such a big deal. The one thing i didnt expect was Tom trying to enter the Rakshana or Gemmas father going back to India and those where the things that made the story worth reading for.At the end it all finished the way we all expected it to, Gemma saves the realms and doesnt give up on the magic but gets away for a while. I, personally, wanted it to end in a different way, maybe she would've died and the realms would have disappear with her, or maybe she was the one the tree chooses and Kartik live, that was the only thing i really wanted, Kartick to live. Great book, and i would've read more of them if there were any, but as they say, Everything Eventually Has To Get To An End.more
This was the third, final, and most well written of the trilogy. Gemma has bound the magic of the realms to herself and is able to wield it in her own world while stalling in making the alliance necessary in the realms. She finds herself torn between the realities of the world she lives in and the things she and her friends desperately want.While it was more lengthy than may have been needed, the ending was both tragic enough to bring a swell of tears to my eyes, and uplifting in it's purity and balance. Certainly it was fitting and worth the wait. The beautiful imagery seen in the first two books is found here again, intertwined with darkness and shadow that makes for a wonderful balance. Written for young adults, this is whimisical enough to make me feel giddy and dark enough to keep me coming back for more. Not being a young adult myself, I'm satisfied with a well told story and glad I stumbled upon the set.more
Venture into a tale in which life was different then how it is now. Where only men had all the power and all a woman had was her own reputation and a tale where real magic happens. Libba Bray's The Sweet Far Thing will ensnare you in in a book of twists and turns of magical confusion. Gemma Doyle is a girl who lives life in London in a time where girls wore corsets and pretty dresses, as those with no money live on the streets. Gemma is attending Spence Academy, a school for young ladies where it is grand and magnificent. Though Spence Academy is part of a cursed area, which burned down long ago ashen and dead. Moving on Gemma is no ordinary girl she is not a lady with fair skin, she is a lady who has seen the sun and felt it's heat in India. Gossip and parties do not spark an interest in her for she worries about something more urgent. That urgent thing is, the Realms, a place of inbetween or magic, where dreams come true or they come to be shattered. Also a place for those to pass over. In this place there are places of good where flowers shall bloom and thrive, and there are places that brings a cold that may chill you to your bone, as people hang from trees like forbidden fruit, it is known as the Winterlands, cold and resentful. Evil will rise, and Gemma must come forth to stop it. Betrayals will happen, and secrets revealed. Nothing is certain in the realms. Even though there is much more to this story, I will not be the one to spoil it. The book ends with an air of sastification, and an ending with sayings that are meaningfull and true. This is a book for those who likes to read fantasy books and who enjoys a plot filled with unexpecteded ends. But truly it is for those who love happy endings. Reader you will be given a magical story of twists and turns.more
This is without a doubt, the best book in the trilogy. I have to wipe my nose and some tears from my eyes as I close it.Let me just say this book is 100x better than Breaking Dawn. The resolution is bittersweet.more
Trilogies tend to let you down in the final book - they can't sustain the weight of the story told so far and resolve things satisfactorily in the time remaining. That is NOT the case with this book. I couldn't stop reading it until I had finished. Bray has a way of drawing the reader into her characters' lives; it's like if you stop reading, you'll let them down. The battle that ended the war that had been brewing for 2 books was suitably epic, and the individual fates of the characters following the end of the war were bittersweet - not overly sugarcoated. That added a level of maturity to the ending, which otherwise might have been trite. Beautiful trilogy.more
Plot: Gemma has taken all the magic of the realms into herself and has promised to create an alliance to share the magic equally. But now that the time is upon her, she is hesitant. She doesn’t know who to trust anymore. Her enemies are using her family against her, Kartik has disappeared without a trace and Gemma has started having dreams about a murdered young woman. The woman is trying to warn her about something but she has no idea what. Her time at Spence is almost up and her coming out is almost upon her. It should be the happiest moment of her life but she is too busy trying to find a place for herself and her friends in this world and in the realms. She is too busy trying to survive the plots of those who would control her power.This is the last volume in the Gemma Doyle series and by far the largest at over 800 pages. I was hesitant to get started on it with all the other novels that have piled up but ultimately I couldn’t resist. Bray has completely charmed me with her version of Victorian England and her very real, very flawed characters. I didn’t not for a minute think the book was too long (only too heavy). I needed to know if and how they get through their adventures in the end. I won’t spoil anything but I will say that Bray is not afraid to hurt her characters for the sake of the story. And that’s a good thing, it makes the story all the more exciting and suspenseful.I still occasionally got a bit frustrated with the selfish and thoughtless was the girls dealt with their powers and the trouble it ultimately led to; they didn’t seem to have learned from their mistakes in the previous two books or matured at all. But even so, in spite of their flaws and mistakes, I cared for these girls and for what would happen to them and that kept me reading. I found the ending a little too open-ended to fully satisfy me but the journey there was more than worth it.If you are teaching, this book (and those before it) is a great starting point to discuss many of the social issues of the period (most of which continue to be relevant today) such as race, class and the position of women. Bray doesn’t shy away from these problems and she doesn’t ignore them to make her narrative easier (the problems of class and race in the relationship between Gemma and Kartik are a good example of this). There is even a reader’s guide at the end to help you get started.more
I adored the first two Gemma Doyle books by Libby Bray. They were so different than anything I previously had read. I immediately adored Bray's world. Gemma atteneds Spence Academy after her mother's murder in India. She makes friends with three girls attending the English boarding school. Beautiful Pippa, fiesty and scandulous Felicity, and charity case Anne. The girls discover a mysterious, magical place called The Realms. The Realms aren't all goodness and light. There are many dark forces at play and everyone wants power over the Realms and the real world as well. For three LONG novels, I have been invested in the Realms and the many factions fighting for the power. I have been enamoured with the four main girls who all exhibit signs of light and dark as well. I have pitied the girls, laughed with them, and even shed a tear or two along the way. While "The Sweet Far Thing" is not a bad book, by any means, it does fall short of the first two. One reason is at 800+ pages it is too long. If these pages were filled with important content or thread closures it might be the perfect legnth. Unforunately I found it to have more filler than usual. There are several new characters and I don't usually think adding new characters into the series on the last book is a good idea. Here it definitely is not. This made the book feel like Bray backed herself into a corner and had to quickly put in some new characters and plots to get herself out of them. Just this week I read the last book in the Hunger Games trilogy. Many fans are upset with the choices that author made. She sacrificed some beloved characters as well as made a brazen choice of what to do with one of the members of the love triangle. I spoke out in my review stating that while sad and disappointing, these choices felt natural to the book. They were well thought decisions that stregnthened the series and gave it a satisfying conclusion. With "Sweet Far Thing", Bray also made some decisions for Gemma and her friends. A couple felt natural. (Pippa, Anne, and Felcity ended up in places that felt in line with the series storyline arc) The other controversial choice was where Kartik ended up. This has to be the biggest "What the Heck?" moment I've come across in my reading. There was no build up to this, no reason for it. It was a jarring and disappointing choice for Bray to make. It will certainly make me think twice about recommending this series to others. After investing the time and money, not to mention the heart, to this series, I feel that there is ultimately no payoff. Something is missing. Both with Kartik and with the status of Realms at the end. I don't need a happy ending and I don't need all my personal preferences met in a novel, but this was so ridiculous and out there. I give it three stars because I did enjoy it up until the end and I did like the resolutions for some of the characters.more
Final book of the Gemma Doyle Trilogy. Gemma struggles with the pressures of preparing for her debut as a young woman in London society while she works to bring order to the growing chaos in the Realms. Alliances are tested and puzzling clues cause Gemma to question who and what to trust--including her own mind. For those who wish the trilogy wouldn’t end, this 800-page plus book may satisfy. Bray leaves it open-ended and it seems possible that she may someday re-visit Gemma Doyle.more
This is one of my favorite books I read it around the time it came out and I have read it four times since then. This book is the third and last book in the Gemma Doyle sieres it is beautifully written and has a very intrresting plot and story line it has calm momments throughout the book but they are never boring...This book is amazing!!! You wont want to put it down untill you have read every singel page...more
What Bray does best in this series is use the fantasy elements in the story to talk about the real emotional plight of women at the time. The freedom of the fairy land is a good way to illustrate the stifling social customs in the real world. This is my favorite of the three, because Gemma really comes into her own. The series would fit well in a unit on women's studies.more
A satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. There are quite a few surprises along the way and not everything is pretty, but in the end you are happy for how things turn out for Gemma, Ann and Felicity.more
I very much enjoyed this series. I thought it was beautifully written with wonderful plot lines highlighting the peaks and valleys of love, friendship, and the harsh realities we are forced to see as we grow older. It is a wonderful 'coming of age' story that is fitting for any age to read. It is a clean read, so parents should not hesitate to let their teens read it; yet at the same time, is written with enough sophistication to appeal to older crowds. I would definitely suggest giving this series a try...at the very least, pop in the book on cd and listen to a bit of it while you are driving. The reader is wonderful!! But be careful...cause that is how i got hooked. If you already love historical fiction, you will devour this read. If not, it's a great place to start.more
Long, boring, and relatively pointless. I read Going Bovine first and it was an awesome book, so I had high hopes for the rest of her work. I was very dissapointed by this series, especially since I love seeing stories out there about girls that don't fallow the set path. This book doesn't deliver a memorable story though. The one good thing I can say is that at least it's not one of those books brainwashing teenaged girls into buying more jimmy chu shoes.more
I rated the book The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray a ten. This book was amazing. The way Libba Bray created a fantasy world yet making it realistic, was incredible. I felt like I was the main character herself. I felt everything she went through and all the emotions she went through. Even though this book is about magic and couldn't possibly be real, it felt real. Just like the first two books in this series, Gemma Doyle faces challenges with the magic she's been given. She has to decide right from wrong, and good from bad...but how is she supposed to figure that out if she doesn't know who's the bad guy?Emmamore
Even though this book is over 800 pages, I loved every page of it! I tried to figure out if there was any part of it that could’ve been cut out, but I don’t think I would’ve liked it as much if any of its parts were missing. There is so much going on in the book – from everyone wanting to possess the magic to the individual struggles of Gemma, Felicity, and Ann – but it never felt tedious to me. The pacing of the story was exactly as it needed to be to tell the complete story.This book, more than the other two in the trilogy, kept me guessing about what would happen next. I was fairly sure I knew where some parts of the plot would end, but there were aspects of this story that came as a complete surprise. As someone who enjoys surprises, I like the vagueness of Gemma’s dreams and visions, as they can be understood in a number of ways. However, it also drives me crazy that someone who is communicating beyond the grave can’t be more specific. I mean, seriously, if you die and want to tell me about someone who’s trying to kill me, please, for the love of all that is holy, give me details! Use a name! But, as this is a useful dramatic device, I’ll allow it in a book.Throughout the first two books I felt a connection to the main characters, but in this one I finally got the depth that I was hoping for. This certainly accounts for the length of the book, but it is the journeys outside of the Realms that Gemma, Felicity, and Ann must take that interested me most. For much of the series, Ann has faded into the background, destined for a life of servitude. There are moments in this book where she has to fight for what she wants, and watching her as she battles through swirling emotions was actually one of the best parts of this story for me. But I’m not gonna lie; unless they were on-page together, I spent most of the book anticipating Gemma and Kartik’s next interaction. I’m not saying that I fully understand why their relationship is so appealing to me, but the push and pull between the two of them is electric. Their sense of longing for each other jumped off the page and seeped into my blood, and I could not get enough of their tension-filled encounters.Of course, everything in the trilogy has been building to a showdown over the magic. Figuring out which side of the battle each character stands on is part of the drama, so I won’t give anything away about that. But I do want to say that I’m glad that there was some ambiguity in that matter, that someone could end up on the wrong side for the right reasons or the right side for the wrong reasons.I’m sad that this series has come to an end, for a number of reasons, but I think that the ending worked well for the story as a whole, especially when remembering when and where it is set.more
Well, it's over. The Sweet Far Thing is the last in this trilogy of books by Libba Bray that depict young women in Victorian England with access to magical realms (creatively called "the realms") and yet don't have any idea what to do with this magic, so they spend three books trying to figure that out while dodging all adult advice/manipulation. Of course, just because it's the last book doesn't mean that it's a fast conclusion. Oh no. You've got 819 pages to savor the end of the series. It's Harry Potter proportions... only I haven't found this series to be anywhere near as compelling.Here's the thing. It's the third book, so if you've made it through the first two, it means that you either (a) love these books and so you're excited or (b) are like me and have an obsessive need to finish what you've begun. Either way, you're probably going to read it, having made it this far, so I don't feel like I need to sell anyone on this.Gemma is still seventeen, in her last few months attending Spence's boarding school for young ladies, and she's still trying to decide what to do with this power she's been given -- and everyone else is quick to demand that she hand it over. The Order, the Rakshana, Circe... yes, I know that Gemma thought she killed her in book two, but as you know if you've read these books, people who have been killed aren't nearly as dead as they should be when the realms are concerned. Pippa, who was already lost to the realms, is now assured that she's certainly stuck there and her own sense of self-importance is fanned by a coterie of adoring girls (victims of a factory fire also stuck in this limbo) who might not be cultured, but worship Pip. Circe is still somehow present in the realms' temple and all too easily works her way into Gemma's confidence. (Um, Gemma? This woman is responsible for your mom's death. Remember that?) And then there's Amar, the brother of Gemma's love interest, Kartik, and member of the Rakshana. He's prowling around as a corrupted being like Pippa and he seems to be commanding an army of Winterlands creatures in a bid to keep the magic for their own use. How are the mighty fallen.Of course, Gemma has to come a long way before she realizes that curtsying correctly for her presentation to Queen Victoria is not exactly something she can compare with all the difficult decisions ahead. It's too easy for Gemma to use magic for her own purposes... whether that's making her family a little happier or making herself seem more powerful and wanted by Simon to upset his father, a member of the Rakshana. Sure, she's a teenager, but even she should know better by this point. When it comes down to the big decisions, a lot of them are made off the cuff, without much forethought. Spur of the moment things that are meant to show bravery or somesuch nonsense, but really just seem to suggest that no one can think ahead.Suffice to say that since this is the last book, we finally have some resolutions about things. The Felicity/Pippa connection (if you haven't figured out that they're not just friends by now, then I'm not sure that you actually read the previous two books) is built up to this huge unveiling, but since that seemed obvious, it was a bit annoying... and particularly annoying is Fee's absolute conviction in her inclinations. Being only a teenager at this time period, I should think that she would still be figuring it all out as opposed to being so convinced of her orientation. Those looking for Gemma and Kartik to finally get together should feel pleased... for a few minutes. Kartik's utter devotion to Gemma might seem unrealistic, but given the out-of-the-ordinary circumstances that unite them, I accepted it as sweet and chivalrous, because at least you knew he had struggled with his decisions. Though the fact that they get together before we're close to the finale should be your first indication that nothing can end well. It did, however, annoy me that Bray settled on the path that allows their love (which could probably never exist in the real world outside the realms, given the time period) but takes the easy way out as far as resolutions go. Ultimately, I have a hard time seeing how all this trouble can be attributed to anything but Gemma's inability to make up her mind and part with her powers. She acts much younger than her age, particularly given how most everyone else around her seems capable of rising to their challenges. She may be the narrator and thus, the one we are supposed to identify with and root for, but my sympathy for Gemma only goes so far.As for the writing, I feel as though Bray isn't quite where she needs to be. She moves much too quickly through her descriptions, particularly as it concerns the action. It's as though she assumed by writing quickly, we'd hurry through it and the only important part, really, is the outcome so we'll focus on that instead. And that's an odd feeling to have... for eight hundred or so pages. Even three lengthy books didn't seem enough to encompass an adequate description of this fantasy world that Bray created. I would have preferred a storyline much more compact in its scope and more detail about the realms. Or if epic was the objective, then something else needed to give way. I felt as though very few decisions were made... which rather makes me equate Gemma with Libba Bray in that sense.If you enjoyed the series up to now, you'll probably still like it because you're predisposed to such a decision. If you're on the fence, then I think you might be swayed towards annoyance. I do appreciate Bray's expansive imagination that allows for such fantastic creations, but ultimately I think she needs to learn that writing is about making choices... which seems to be the lesson that she's trying to teach Gemma throughout this trilogy, so it would be a good one to take to heart.more
This is the third, and final book, of the Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray. Although this was an excellent book; I think it was the weakest of the series.This book picks up with the girls back at Spence Academy looking forward to a new school year. Gemma is struggling to use her magic to summon a door to the realms and also finds out that the wing of the school that burnt down is being rebuilt. Gemma has more visions and eventually they lead her to find that there is a door to enter the realms in the old wing of the school. When Felicity, Ann, and Gemma enter the realms they find that things have changed; the creatures from the Winterlands are missing. Gemma is pressured by the forest folk to share the magic that she bound to herself in the last book and is unsure of who to trust throughout the whole book.There is a lot to say about this book. The book was very long; a bit too long. It is a long time until Kartrik enters the story and initially you are left wondering if you'll ever see him again. Gemma's character became kind of frustrating to read about. She knows that what she does with the magic is really important, yet she seems to spend a lot of time playing with the magic. This seems inconsistent with her character; usually she gets things done. In this book she spends a lot of time using the magic for frivolous purposes. I am not sure if this was supposed to portray Gemma's immaturity or what the purpose was.This book had some interesting political overtones; which were different from previous books in the series. There was more of a women's rights and worker's rights theme to this book. I thought it was strange that politics enter into the storyline fairly prominently. This was something the girls never worried about much before. Maybe the politics were supposed to show us that the girls were maturing and starting to pay more attention to society outside of their little happy sphere.I am not surprised at how things ended between Gemma and Kartrik. I am surprised that so many readers were caught off guard by the result of their relationship. Really, to stay at all true with the times, that was probably the best way to handle things. Felicity, Gemma, and Ann are already bolder than I think the society of the time would really allow for; what happens with Gemma and Kartrik brings a bit of realism to the story.I though Felicity and Ann's storylines were well done and wrapped up nicely. I especially like how Ann's story went; that girl deserved a nice turn in her life. I think Felicity's story ended on a more positive note than it would realistically. As for Gemma's final story; I have to agree with other reviewers that that was totally out of left field. No idea at all where that came from. Gemma's decisions about her future didn't seem to fit with the rest of Gemma's interests and life style. It was odd. I am not sure if the author's sole intention was to surprise and shock but, well, I guess if that was the intention, it worked.Overall the book was well-written, ended okay, and left the characters in pleasant (almost too pleasant) stages of their lives. I wish the story had been a bit tighter, that Gemma's character had stayed more true to her, well, character, and that things hadn't ended on such an absurdly positive fairytale-ish note. Other than that it was a very satisfying read and a good conclusion to an absolutely wonderful series. It will be interesting to see what Miss Bray writes next!more
After being so amazingly impacted by the first two books in the Gemma Doyle Trilogy, I had been wanting to read this conclusive volume for a long while.Maybe I was simply expecting too much, but I was a bit disappointed by "The Sweet Far Thing."While it wasn't all that terrible, there was just too much wrong with it for me to enjoy it nearly as much as its prequels.Firstly, at 848 pages, it was much too long. It seemed that the author wanted to stretch the book out into a grand, very long, epic - but it wasn't. The plot would have much better fit into a book half this one's size.Also, I was disappointed by the characters. They did not seem so engaging or lifelike as before.The plot was largely predictable, and I was not really surprised by anything that happened.Libba Bray does her best toward the ends of books, with thrilling, page-turning climaxes, but do not expect such here. The climax kept breaking off, and Gemma would go see her family, or something inconsequential. It made little sense and took away much for the desired feeling of urgency and excitement.However, it is true that not all in this book was bad. I liked how everything ended, even if it was a bit sad. The author ties every event from the first two books together well.In short - not nearly as good as the first two, but still a good book.more
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