The Sweet Far Thing

Paperback | April 28, 2009

byLibba Bray

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* “A huge work of massive ambition.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred

It has been a year of change since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy. Her mother murdered, her father alaudanum addict, Gemma has relied on an unsuspected strength and has discovered an ability to travel to an enchanted world called the realms, where dark magic runs wild. Despite certain peril, Gemma has bound the magic to herself and forged unlikely new alliances. Now, as Gemma approaches her London debut, the time has come to test these bonds.

The Order—the mysterious group her mother was once part of—is grappling for control of the realms, as is the Rakshana. Spence's burned East Wing is being rebuilt, but why now? Gemma and her friends see Pippa, but she is not the same. And their friendship faces its gravest trial as Gemma must decide once and for all what role she is meant for.

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A #1 Book Sense Bestseller
A
New York Times Bestseller
A
Publishers Weekly Bestseller
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USA Today Bestseller
A 2008 New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age

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From the Publisher

* “A huge work of massive ambition.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred It has been a year of change since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy. Her mother murdered, her father alaudanum addict, Gemma has relied on an unsuspected strength and has discovered an ability to travel to an enchanted world called the realms, where dar...

From the Jacket

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, October 29, 2007:“A huge work of massive ambition.”Review, People, December 24, 2007:"This is a rare treat that offers a bit of everything--romance, magic, history, Gothic intrigue--and delivers on all of it in 819 beautifully crafted pages."From the Hardcover edition.

Libba Bray is the author of the New York Times bestselling Gemma Doyle trilogy, comprised of A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and The Sweet Far Thing. She is also the author of Beauty Queens and Going Bovine, which won the Michael L. Printz Award. Libba lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, son, and two cats. Visit h...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:848 pages, 8.15 × 5.5 × 1.75 inPublished:April 28, 2009Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0440237777

ISBN - 13:9780440237778

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17

Customer Reviews of The Sweet Far Thing

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect ending This is a great trilogy for young readers. I started and finished these as a young adult and found them incredibly well-written, (I find sometimes authors cut corners on quality of writing, etc., when doing so for a younger audience but not Ms. Bray) engaging and emotive. Probably not great for readers under 14 as there are some 'heavier' or perhaps confusing/awkward themes that arise toward the end of the series, but my goodness you can certainly get lost in the writing! Despite what some reviews have said this end to the three books was fantastic. I actually needed a few days after finishing it to recover from the ups and downs and emotion of the whole thing! Gemma Doyle is wholly likeable and you root for her the entire time. It graduates by the end with Gemma as a young woman in 1800s London and I think the reader graduates with her, too. While the ending may be sad for some readers it wraps things up absolutely and I think, even if you're sad about some things that happen, you still have a feeling of peace for the whole connective story. I'd recommend this for anyone with a huge imagination who loves a little magic realism and brave heroines with the perfect amount of wit!
Date published: 2015-12-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Series Great series but I was a little disappointed with the way it ended. However after I got addicted to the series I had to keep reading all the way through.
Date published: 2011-05-19
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Meh... I loved the first two books in this series. They were both gripping and entertaining; I couldn't put them down. Then I started this one. It rambled on for eight hundred pages, when the important content could have easily fit into the same amount of pages as the other two books, and because it was so slow going, it took me over a month to get to an ending that I hated. I, personally, wouldn't read this book, or series, again.
Date published: 2010-08-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from CUT IT OUT This book took me FOREVER to read. It was so... um... repetative. I just wanted it to be OVER already! I finished it just for the sake of finishing it. It was a well written book, but I would not read it again NOR suggest anyone else to read it haha.
Date published: 2010-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Book! This book was an amazing read, the ending wasn't bad at all, left you wanting more. This book is one of my favourites!
Date published: 2010-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AH-MAZING! A must read! My favourite book of the triology... it'll appeal to all your emotions and keep you thinking about it for weeks after you've finished it! Sooooo good! I loved it. Absolutely loved it!
Date published: 2010-06-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Slightly Disappointed... While reading the first two books in the series, I was completely engrossed in the story of Gemma Doyle. The third book, and last one in the trilogy was slightly disappointing compared to the previous two books. First of all, the book was over 800 pages and the story could have been nicely wrapped up in 500 pages. Gemma goes on a magical journey to return the magic to the realms and restore order. It is a well written story that is an enjoyable read. I would recommend this book to anyone in their teen years and up.
Date published: 2009-10-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply Amazing I absolutely love this trilogy and I am sad to say that it came to an end. This was my favourite book in the series; it completely captivated me till the end. To me it was probably the most complete book I have ever read. There was so much packaged into this book, but hey it was over 800 pages, at least when reading it didn't feel that long. I even wished it to be longer at times. There was an almost perfect balance of suspense, romance, betrayal, and friendship. They were moments that made me laugh and there were moments that made me cry. I must really commend Libba Bray for her writing style for I loved it, and for the fact that she did such an amazing job in creating her characters. She really made me feel for the characters, not just Gemma, but everyone. There were moments when the characters made me feel happy for them, sad for them, sorry for them, and mad at them. Altogether I just love how everyone interacted with everyone else. To me this book, really felt more than a book. I was so invested in it emotionally that I could not put it down, and I had really no idea how it would end. I do have to say that the ending, at first, unsettled me (don't worry I won't spoil it), but after reading the interview with Libba Bray (at the back of the book) I felt a lot better, and I realized that it had an amazing ending. I would definitely recommend, not just this book but the entire series (for you must read the other two before this), to pretty much anyone remotely interested in reading a suspenseful, exciting, absolutely enchanting, magical, romantic book.
Date published: 2009-09-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wish There Was More It's sad to say this series has come to an end, but I think the journey through the three novels was quite worth it. One thing I would have ranked under irritating this time around, were Felicity and Ann. I kept rolling my eyes at their antics and wanted them so badly to jsut stop whining. I imagine that if I was a young girl who didn't have this gift, I would probably also do anything I could to get a hold of it, but it still amde me shake the novel every so often. I kept wanting Gemma to just grow a pair, make some decisions, and figure out what was going on. Because of that, I did tend to find the novel a bit slow at first. There seemed to be a lot of scenes that could have been removed, or conversations that could have been combined rather than dragged on over so many pages. At the same time, this did give the author a chance to write about a different time, its attitudes and its forms of entertainment. It was interesting, but again, it just didn't help the story along. The action picks up quite a bit at the end and flows much better. I think it's about time the supernatural stories for young adults met with different eras and how girls of those generations might have reacted to things we take for granted. It's well done and I hope to see more by this author, even if it's not in this series.
Date published: 2009-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from brilliant ending one of my all time favourite books i must say. Libba Bray did an amazing job at this final book. though it is long it is not enough. you just cant put this book down. the characters become deeper and more mature finally starting to undertand themselves. Bray doesnt hide from things like self abuse, sexual abuse, lesbianism. she puts it all out there and does it brilliantly. i especially liked the romance in this book. though the ending didnt sit right with me. it was definitly sad and took me a while to accept. if you liked the first two books you till love this one.
Date published: 2009-07-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply Amazing! This book has everything you can love. Romance, Action, Death, Life, everything. Though I hate the ending I realized how much I loved the book. I have suggested this book to many people, it is an amazing piece of work I feel proud to have read. I will miss this series but will keep rereading over and over again, it pulls you in and captivates you, it makes you feel like part of the book. Libba Bray, you have written an amazing book, please make a final book so we can have some closure with Kartik.
Date published: 2009-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazingggg!!! This book is incredible, it was arond 850 pages, but for me it just wasn't long enough, these books always leave you with wanting more. Throughout this whole series the adventure captivates you, and thrills you until the end. Gemma is a brave girl who makes this series so unique. I loved Kartik in these books, the best parts are when he and Gemma are together. The ending of this book made me pretty sad and upset, but I guess happy endings aren't always meant to be. I loved this series so much, and it's sad to see it come to an end.
Date published: 2009-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Beautiful trilogy!! I loved it! The Sweet Far Thing is book #3 from the Gemma Doyle trilogy. It started with A Great and Terrible Beauty, and was followed by Rebel Angels. I LOVED IT !! It’s a beautiful adventure. The Sweet Far Thing continues the adventures of Gemma Doyle and her friends. The book is fill with magic (of course), mysteries to be solved, questions to be answer, the search for one self, happiness, fears, life and death, love and friendship. The book picks up some time after Rebel Angels, when Gemma bounded the magic of the Realms to herself. Now that Gemma has the magic, she must decide what is the best option, concerning this magic. Unfortunately, ever since she bounded the magic to herself, she hasn’t been able to enter the realms again. It takes her and her friends, Felicity and Ann, some time to figure out another way to enter. Once they find the other way, the mysteries, the adventures and the problems begin. There are a couple of parts in the story where you might get a little annoyed with Gemma, and what she does, or the way she uses the magic, but you have to remember she's only 17, just a teenager!!! So you must be patient! Lol. Something I loved about the story is that you don’t always know what to expect. You never know who’s good or evil: Circe, Kartik, Miss Wilhelmina Wyatt, Mr. Fowlson, Ms. Nightwing… They’re all important characters and you can’t tell right away who’s good and who’s not. Which gives the story quite a mysterious twist. I do recommend you read the two first books first, of course. You well really enjoy Gemma Doyle’s journey from the beginning until the very end. I must admit I was a little bit disappointed with the ending though. Just a little. I still love the whole trilogy. I guess I was just expecting it to finish differently. Please feel free to read my reviews on the two first books: A Great and Terrible Beauty: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/A-Great-and-Terrible-Beauty-Libba-Bray/978038573231-519592-Review.html Rebel Angels: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Rebel-Angels-Libba-Bray/978038573341-519593-Review.html
Date published: 2009-07-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Finale! The final book in the Gemma Doyle series was amazing. Libba Bray definitly did not miss the mark! I loved it! It made me laugh, and it made me cry, a great combination. Unfortunatly I was a little dissapionted. However there were times when Gemma was a little annoying, and there were so many times I wish I could just punch out one of her friends. Otherwise, great read.
Date published: 2009-06-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Power of Imagination in Written Word Great way to end the series. I'm not going to give away any endings. A really good series and a real fun, fast-paced read.
Date published: 2009-06-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from TWILIGHT FANS MUST READ! Firstly of alll the age rating on this book is horribly inaccutare. It should be for 14 - 18 because the main character herslef is 16 you can't have a ten year old reading about her. Secondly this book on the romance scale is right up there with twilight. The man she falls in love with is her mortal enemy. A long time ago their two organizations were partners even soul mates. But overtime jealousy overcame love. In this book Gemma and Katrik are the ones ot break that cycle. They each betray their organizations for eachother, for thier love. It's the most beautiful love story of the century!
Date published: 2009-06-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not Impressed... **Mild Spoilers** I had some real issues with this book, especially as the final installment in a trilogy. I liked the first two books enough to read this one - but what a disappointment. Aside from Gemma and Kartik (who I liked), I found the characters to be annoying, with few redeeming qualities - I wanted to care what happened to them, but I just couldn't. What I found to be most irritating was the end - I get that some authors don't want things to be all sunshine and roses, but I thought the story could have ended in a much better way - still allowing for challenges, without being so depressing.
Date published: 2009-04-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Did not like the ending! I loved the idea behind this series. I thought there was so much you could do with it but it seemed like every story line in all 3 books ended in a dead end or ended sadly. This book dragged on and the ending took for ever.
Date published: 2009-04-25

Extra Content

Read from the Book

CHAPTER ONEMarch 1896SPENCE ACADEMY FOR YOUNG LADIESThere is a particular circle of hell not mentioned in Dante's famous book. It is called comportment, and it exists in schools for young ladies across the empire. I do not know how it feels to be thrown into a lake of fire. I am sure it isn't pleasant. But I can say with all certainty that walking the length of a ballroom with a book upon one's head and a backboard strapped to one's back while imprisoned in a tight corset, layers of petticoats, and shoes that pinch is a form of torture even Mr. Alighieri would find too hideous to document in his Inferno."Let us keep our eyes trained toward heaven, girls," our headmistress, Mrs. Nightwing, pleads as we attempt our slow march across the floor, heads held high, arms out like ballerinas.The loops of the backboard chafe the sides of my arms. The block of wood is unyielding, and I am forced to stand as stiff as the guards at Buckingham Palace. My neck aches with the effort. Come May, I shall make my debut a full year early, for it has been decided by all parties involved that at nearly seventeen I am ready and that it would do me good to have my season now. I shall wear beautiful gowns, attend lavish parties, and dance with handsome gentlemen--if I survive my training. At present, that outcome is very much in doubt.Mrs. Nightwing paces the length of the ballroom. Her stiff skirts whisk-whisk across the floor as if to rebuke it for lying there. All the while she barks orders like Admiral Nelson himself. "Heads held high! Do not smile, Miss Hawthorne! Serene, somber expressions! Empty your minds!"I strain to keep my face a blank canvas. My spine aches. My left arm, held out to the side for what seems hours, trembles with the effort."And curtsy . . ."Like falling souffles, we drop low, trying desperately not to lose our balance. Mrs. Nightwing does not give the order to rise. My legs shake with exhaustion. I cannot manage it. I stumble forward. The book tumbles from my head and lands on the floor with a resounding thud. We have done this four times, and four times I have failed in some fashion. Mrs. Nightwing's boots stop inches from my disgraced form."Miss Doyle, may I remind you that this is the court, and you are curtsying to your sovereign, not performing in the Folies Bergere?""Yes, Mrs. Nightwing," I say sheepishly.It is hopeless. I shall never curtsy without falling. I shall lie sprawled upon the gleaming floors of Buckingham Palace like a disgraceful stain of a girl, my nose resting upon the boot of the Queen. I shall be the talk of the season, whispered about behind open fans. No doubt every man will avoid me like typhus."Miss Temple, perhaps you will demonstrate the proper curtsy for us?"Without ado, Cecily Temple, She Who Can Do No Wrong, settles to the floor in a long, slow, graceful arc that seems to defy gravity. It is a thing of beauty. I am hideously jealous."Thank you, Miss Temple."Yes, thank you, you little demon beast. May you marry a man who eats garlic with every meal."Now, let us--" Mrs. Nightwing is interrupted by loud banging. She closes her eyes tightly against the noise."Mrs. Nightwing," Elizabeth whines. "How can we possibly concentrate on our form with such a terrible racket coming from the East Wing?"Mrs. Nightwing is in no humor for our complaining. She takes a deep breath and clasps her hands at her waist, her head held high."We shall carry on, like England herself. If she could withstand Cromwell, the Wars of the Roses, and the French, surely you may overlook a bit of hammering. Think how lovely the East Wing shall be when it is completed. We shall try again--steady! All eyes are upon you! It won't do to scurry to Her Majesty like a timid church mouse."I often imagine what sort of position Nightwing might seek out were she not currently torturing us as headmistress of Spence Academy for Young Ladies. Dear Sirs, her letter might begin. I am writing to inquire about your advert for the position of Balloon Popper. I have a hatpin that will do the trick neatly and bring about the wails of small children everywhere. My former charges will attest to the fact that I rarely smile, never laugh, and can steal the joy from any room simply by entering and bestowing upon it my unique sense of utter gloom and despair. My references in this matter are impeccable. If you have not fallen into a state of deep melancholia simply by reading my letter, please respond to Mrs. Nightwing (I have a Christian name but no one ever has leave to use it) in care of Spence Academy for Young Ladies. If you cannot be troubled to find the address on your own, you are not trying your very best. Sincerely, Mrs. Nightwing."Miss Doyle! What is that insipid smile you're wearing? Have I said something that amuses you?" Mrs. Nightwing's admonishment brings a flush to my cheeks. The other girls giggle.We glide across the floor, trying our best to ignore the hammering and the shouts. The noise isn't what distracts us. It is the knowledge that there are men here, one floor above us, that keeps us jittery and light."Perhaps we could see the progress they've made, Mrs. Nightwing? How extraordinary it must be," Felicity Worthington suggests with a sweetness bordering on pure syrup. Only Felicity would be so bold as to suggest this. She is too daring by half. She is also one of my only allies here at Spence."The workmen do not need girls underfoot, as they are already behind schedule," Mrs. Nightwing says. "Heads up, if you please! And--"A loud bang sounds from above. The sudden noise makes us jump. Even Mrs. Nightwing lets out a "Merciful heavens!" Elizabeth, who is nothing more than a nervous condition disguised as a debutante, yelps and grabs hold of Cecily."Oh, Mrs. Nightwing!" Elizabeth cries.We look to our headmistress hopefully.Mrs. Nightwing exhales through disapproving lips. "Very well. We shall adjourn for the present. Let us take the air to restore the roses to our cheeks.""Might we bring our paper and sketch the progress on the East Wing?" I suggest. "It would make a fine record."Mrs. Nightwing favors me with a rare smile. "A most excellent suggestion, Miss Doyle. Very well, then. Gather your paper and pencils. I shall send Brigid with you. Don your coats. And walk, if you please."We abandon our backboards along with our decorum, racing for the stairs and the promise of freedom, however temporary it may be."Walk!" Mrs. Nightwing shouts. When we cannot seem to heed her advice, she bellows after us that we are savages not fit for marriage. She adds that we shall be the shame of the school and something else besides, but we are down the first flight of stairs, and her words cannot touch us.From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, October 29, 2007:
“A huge work of massive ambition.”

Review, People, December 24, 2007:
"This is a rare treat that offers a bit of everything--romance, magic, history, Gothic intrigue--and delivers on all of it in 819 beautifully crafted pages."


From the Hardcover edition.