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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on September 10, 2009
The Sweet Far Thing carries right after the events of Rebel Angels. Alliances have to be made. The magic has to be given equally to all tribes but Gemma hestitates. She loves the magic too much and likes helping her friends and loved ones by using it. Yet bad terrible things are happening in the realms and there's a strange eerie power that's growing in the dreaded Winterlands.

Be forewarned, this is a BIG book. It's slightly over 800 pages. So give yourself ample time to read it. This is a lot to read through and I'm afraid to say it, but it does seem to drag a bit. The girls go into the realms, then they're back to reality. This goes back and forth a lot and it gets tiring a bit. The reader can't help but get frustrated but, when you progress through the novel, the ending and the climax makes up for it tenfold. That being said though, there's a lot of action in this book. Fans of Victorian gothic and magic will love this. There's a good balance between the "real world" of Victorian England and the "other side" where magic, and fantasy come to life.

I still adore Gemma. She's not afraid of breaking any rules of propriety and does not care what the world thinks of her in their social circles. I like that about her. She wanted to run her life as she saw fit and didn't care what others thought of a woman running "loose and free" in society. She hasn't lost her wit (in fact it increases ten fold in this book) and her innermost thoughts still make you chuckle. What I didn't really like about her, is it seemed as if her friends just used her for her magic, and I thought Gemma was a lot stronger than that. Then again she's afraid of being lonely and is only doing what they ask for to please them and to let them stay with her. That being said, underneath that selfishness her friends end up staying fiercely loyal to her and they really do value her as a friend.

Aside from the constant travelling back and forth between the worlds, the last book of this series does a good job tying up loose ends and you're left with a satisfying yet bittersweet ending. Overall a good albeit long book. A great closing to a wonderful trilogy and a must read for fans of Victorian Gothic books.
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on February 12, 2008
The third and final book in Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy, THE SWEET FAR THING picks up a few months after REBEL ANGELS ended.

It's now spring, and Gemma has been unable to reenter the realms with or without her friends since the Christmas holidays, when she sealed all the magic inside herself. She has grown uneasy with dreams of the supposedly dead Circe and the absence of Kartrik, despite his pledge to support her. As Mrs. Nightwing oversees the rebuilding of Spence Academy's long destroyed East Wing, Gemma discovers a door that leads into the realms. Soon she, Felicity, and Ann have rejoined Pippa in the realms.

All is far from well, however. Within the realms, the various tribes strive to convince Gemma to share her magic, and she finds herself unable to trust any of them. Circe is not dead after all, and her warnings frighten Gemma. And what of the new visions, in which Gemma sees a former student of Spence Academy, who writes of the Tree of All Souls?

Outside the realms, there is just as much uncertainty. Gemma prepares for her debut and tries to make her peace with her father and brother. Felicity's headstrong behavior has put her on the verge of losing her inheritance and freedom. Ann must decide whether to risk everything on the chance of a career in the theatre.

As dark forces spread through the realms and the girls' debuts approach, Gemma must find more strength in herself than she ever thought possible, and decide just what kind of woman she wants to be -- for herself, not anyone else.

Fans of the trilogy will tear through this book, eager to reach its conclusion and learn the fates of all its characters. Bray's descriptions of Victorian life and the mysterious realms are as colorful as ever. Gemma makes a sympathetic if sometimes frustrating narrator, believable in her struggle to make the right decision. At over 800 pages, THE SWEET FAR THING is far longer than either of the books before it, and there is some repetition to the earlier scenes, but those who love the world will be happy to spend as much time there as they can. Toward the end, the plot picks up to a heart-pounding pace. Between cheering the happier parts of the ending, and grieving over its inevitable sadness, readers will be glad to have lived through this tale with Gemma and her friends.

Reviewed by: Lynn Crow
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on February 3, 2008
Gemma enters the realms and is clearly a very important and powerful person the the world, and yet she lacks the spark that requires me to believe that she is really this powerful person. The first hundred pages of the book are characterized not by her actions, but by her inactions; she waits and thinks and never really does anything. I realize that the author is attempting to give Gemma a teenage naivete and her head strong tendencies, but she makes obvious, point blank mistakes by never trusting common sense and never listening to those more exprienced than she; even when she admitts that she does not know it all. Also, Gemma is constantly incapable of seeing the "big picture" she threatens the neatrality of the world because she wants to save her friend from a life as a governess, which is not great but considering the apauling living conditions of many people during the industrial revolution her position is not all that bad. Though Gemma does grow throughout the book I find the protrayl of women in this book horribly cliche as if the entire population of women at the time were brain dead and without ingenuity; which I highly doubt.
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on November 13, 2010
First of all, I found this book too long. I actually enjoy when books are long (more to read!) but in this case there was too much. It seemed like half of it wasn't really necessary and was just extending the plot. However I loved how this book tied up any loose ends because usually the last book of a series or trilogy will leave you hanging. As well the end was well written and I enjoyed it (except for one part which I will not spoil).
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on January 22, 2009
i am actually sad that the trilogy is over.
i feel like this books conveys the message that it does not matter how many times you have fallen, but by how many times you have stood up again. Gemma is imperfect-like evry other person in the world. She had made mistakes, big and small. She has always stood up, no matter how hard she falls. A very well written trilogy, this definately belongs in my favourites.

Highly Recommended!!
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on April 3, 2008
I have to say, I love the romance-fantasy genre. This series was amazing. It really was full of everything, all sorts of drama, fantasy and romance, though it didn't seem forced. This book is the largest of the series, and bigger really is better in this case. A perfect ending to a great series, without a doubt.
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on October 29, 2012
I just want to add onto that note you are all saying that there was no red bandana. There was a red bandana that Katrik and Gemma used as a signal to come and meet each other. I remember in the first book Katrik left a red bandana in the ivy under Gemma's window. Just wanted to clear that up.
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on January 5, 2008
The Sweet Far Thing, was alround an amazing book. It is just as good as the first two. My only problem was the continuity. I was confused when Gemma mentioned the red bandanas that they used in Rebel Angels. I went back and checked. No Red Bandanas. Also (I didn't notice this, but I read it on a blog) the Spence Motto changes from Grace, Charm, and Beauty, to Grace, Strength, and Beauty. That is why I only gave it 4 stars. Otherwise this book is great. It was very sad at the end, but I also kind of found it amusing (I won't mention why). I was unclear though, whether Gemma would be able to enter the realms while she was in America. I got the impression that she wouldn't be able to, but I don't see why not.
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on February 5, 2008
I can not tell you how much I love this trilogy! The writing, the plot, the characters...I loved it all. As much as I hate to admit it, the ending was necessary (even though I cried) and it was beautifully written. The only problem I had with The Sweet Far Thing were the red bandanna that Gemma and Kartik supposedly used in Rebel Angels and continued using in TSFT....yeah, well they didn't use a red bandanna in RA. Also the motto for Spence was changed to say 'strength' instead of 'charm'. These are only minor issues and no matter what, this trilogy will remain one of my all thime favourites.
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on July 3, 2015
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