Review: The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, Book 3)

This is going to be a very short review. For one, it’s book 3 in a trilogy, and I don’t want to give anything away about how the series ends for those of you who haven’t yet read this book. I also don’t want to give too much away about the two previous books because I know a few people who read this blog want to start reading the Gemma Doyle Trilogy (like Little Sis). So, here is the synopsis and review in a nutshell.

The Sweet Far Thing is the end of the much loved Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray. I put off reading it for….3 years(?) because I loved the first two so much, and as many of you probably know, I hate finishing a really great series. Gemma at this point has been in England about a year, and it’s been about the same time since her mother’s death back in India. Her friends from the last two books are also in this one (Ann, Felicity, and my favorite, Pippa). Kartik, the mysterious young Indian man also reappears here. Gemma at this point has sole control of the Realms, or so she thinks. She has promised to share her powers with all the tribes in the Realms, but starts to doubt her own plans when the Realms’ magic starts acting weird. Gemma and her friends will have to come face to face with whatever evil is lurking in their once peaceful world, putting themselves and the ones they love in danger. Will they succeed, and at what costs?

Once again, Libba Bray has not let us down. Her writing is beautiful and really captures the scenery of the countrysides and London’s streets (and society life) back in the late 1800s. This book for me started a little bit slow, but I’m 100% positive that it’s just because I read the last book like….3 or 4 years ago and was having issues for a little while remembering where I left off in the story. Once I refreshed my memory, the book went a lot faster and I couldn’t put it down. I read the last 400 or so pages in one sitting.

I love how I could see the characters evolve. In a way, taking so long to finally pick up this last book helped me to see how much the main characters changed from the first book. I remembered their quirks and their faults, and slowly, as I read this, I saw the characters “grow up.” Which, ya know, makes sense, because Gemma and Felicity are about to make their “debuts” to the queen in this book. They truly are becoming young women, and by the time the book ends, they definitely are grown up.

I, of course, bawled my eyes out during this book. I knew it was probably going to happen. I burst in to tears shouting “WHAT?! THAT CANNOT HAPPEN!!” and my mom started yelling at me because as she put it, “It’s just a book. You shouldn’t cry over a book.” Which is funny, because all she does is read too. I replied, “BUT MOMMY, IT’S JUST SO SADDDDDD!”. And she was like, “Oh.”

So there, no spoilers. Except you know that I cried and that it is sad. PUHLEASSEEEE, if you’ve read this and want to chat with me about it, email me, or find me on Twitter. Because I was a bit in shock for about, oh….a week. I loved the book, and I understand why it ended the way it did. But still. Twin of course was still in France when I finished this, so I couldn’t just call her up and be like “OMG we need to talk about this!” She loves these books too, and I remember her crying when she read in back in 2007 too.

I definitely recommend the Gemma Doyle Trilogy to all of you. Young Adult books are not usually what I choose to read, but these are so good that I barely noticed they were “young adult.”
Oh, and sorry if this review is kind of not really much of a review and more just me and my train of thought explaining my reaction to the ending. I’ve now calmed myself down 😉

Some favorite quotes:
From The Rose of Battle, a poem by W.B. Yeats:
“Rose of all Roses, Rose of all the World!
You, too, have come where the dim tides are hurled
Upon the wharves of sorrow, and heard ring
The bell that calls us on; the sweet far thing.
Beauty grown sad with its eternity
Made you of us, and of the dim grey sea.
Our long ships loose thought-woven sails and wait,
For God has bid them share an equal fate;
And when at last, defeated in His wars,
They have gone down under the same white stars,
We shall no longer hear the little cry
Of our sad hearts, that may not live nor die.”

Pg. 47 (Gemma as narrator): We take such pains to be polite.  We never say what we mean.  For all it matters, we could greet each other and speak only of cheese- “How was your Limburger, miss?”  “Salty as a ripe Stinking Bishop, thank you.”  “Ah, very cheddar, miss.  I’ll have your Stilton brought to your Camembert, then.” -and no one would likely notice.
“Your grandmother waits for you in the parlor, miss.”
“Thank you.”  I cannot help myself.  “I’ll see myself into the Muenster.”
“As you wish, miss.”
And there are are, though it is a pity my wickedness has been wasted with no one to appreciate it but me.
(I LOVE Gemma’s wittiness.  She says the most hilarious things in this book, which can be embarrassing if you’re reading it in public and start laughing out loud..)

Pg. 673: (Gemma and her brother, Thomas, arguing.)  His eyes widen.  “And you would take her part against me, your own blood?”
Blood is thicker than water.  That’s what they say.  But in truth, most things are.

Title: The Sweet Far Thing
Author: Libba Bray
Date of Publication: 2007
Number of Pages: 832
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Source: Borrowed from a Friend

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About Kelly

Hi! My name’s Kelly. I’m a twenty-something gal from Buffalo, NY. Mom to a little dog named Peabody and a slightly evil cat named Archie. Engaged to the best dude ever. I love books and craft beer! I also love all things France and francophone and have a degree in French Language and Literature from Buffalo State College. My blog used to be called Kelly’s France Blog, but I finally decided it needed a change because I wasn’t posting about French things nearly as often as I used to! You can still see all my imported posts on A Book and a Beer, or you can visit my original blog at http://kellysfranceblog.blogspot.com.
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