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The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, Book 3) Paperback – April 28, 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 275 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the Gemma Doyle Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

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.

About the Author

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 her at libbabray.com.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 0640 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 848 pages
  • Publisher: Ember; Reprint edition (April 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440237777
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440237778
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (275 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Well, I spent the first 3/4 of this book racked by horror movie syndrome: you know, when you're watching the girl go down the long, dark hall and reach for the doorknob, having split off from the rest of the group, and you're yelling, "Don't do it!" at the screen? Only in this case, I was yelling at Gemma not to trust all the wrong people and misuse the magic she holds. She does both, repeatedly, for hundreds of pages.

Yet Bray's point seems to be that it's hard to know what to do when you're a 17-year-old girl, let alone when you carry far too great a responsibility and everyone around you is clamoring for you to hand it over to them. So while Gemma naturally distrusts the authoritarian Order and the Rakshana, she is more conflicted about her supposed allies in the realms, particularly two--make that three--individuals who are not nearly as dead as they should be.

At the same time, Gemma and her friends are trying to figure out what to do about their oh-so-scripted futures, not to mention troubles with family members. And Gemma worries over her feelings for Kartik, who pulls away, then doesn't, then does, even as she tries to make sense of events in the Realms and the warnings she is receiving in visions.

It kind of reminds me of how Harry Potter and his friends spend the middle of the last book glumly hiding out and quarreling because they lack all kinds of important information--and simply because they're teenagers and really don't know what to do next.

The Sweet Far Thing is a long read, but it is incredibly well written and moves at a surprisingly fast clip. (Watch for some lovely metaphors tucked here and there in Bray's prose.
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Format: Paperback
Thankfully, this is over. I thought I would never get through this last installment of Gemma Doyle trilogy. Why, oh why does this book have to be so long? Take out 300-400 pages of unnecessary secondary characters and going nowhere plot lines, its 5 epilogues, and "The Sweet Far Thing" would be a reasonably decent book (I suppose). But alas, Bray chooses to ruin her own rather original series with this endless and bizarre last installment.

I've read quite a few reviews and know how many people are disappointed with the ending. I don't really mind where all the characters end up in this story, but I rather mind how and why they get there.

Gemma's books have never been about romance for me. The underlying idea of these books is women's independence, I get it. So I probably wouldn't have minded Kartik's sacrifice if it made any sense. For me, he dies because of Gemma's stupidity. Should she have done what she promised to do in the end of book 2 (divide the magic among the inhabitants of the realms), none of the events in the books would have happened. Thus his death is pointless in my opinion. In fact, the more I think of the details of Kartik's death, the less I understand what and why exactly happened to him. Basically, Gemma stabs the Tree releasing Winterlands' magic, Kartik sucks in this magic, then pours the magic into Gemma and then becomes a part of the Tree. WTH just happened? Why does he even have to do it? If the Tree doesn't have any more magic, how can it have this power to accept his sacrifice and why is it needed? If the Tree still holds on its evil power, how does Kartik's sacrifice change anything? Doesn't it mean that the Tree will continue its evil business in the Winterlands and will eventually corrupt Kartik the same way it did Eugenia?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Read the reviews for all three of the Gemma Doyle books. There is a remarkable degree of agreement. Book One, ("A Great and Terrible Beauty"), is marvelously conceived and well-written; Book Two, ("Rebel Angels"), is a worthy continuation, still well-written but beginning to wander; Book Three, ("The Sweet Far Thing"), is overlong, confused, and ultimately disappointing. Somewhere along the line the plot becomes confused and aimless, the characters lose all sense of weight or direction, and the writing becomes bloated and diffuse.

All of that said, don't be discouraged. Book One is so good that you should still embark on the journey. You will become engaged enough with the characters to still enjoy Book Two. As for Book Three, about half of the reviewers started skimming just to see how it all ends, and that isn't a bad strategy.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After 300 pages, I couldn't take it anymore. To give you some idea of the problem with the writing, here is an account of a person walking down the street, as it would be written by Libba Bray:

"I moved my left foot. Then my right foot. Then my left foot. Then my right foot. Then my left foot. Then my right foot. Then suddenly I realized that my left foot was no longer to be trusted. Then my right foot made lewd comments at me. Then I realized that my left foot was actually my right foot, because if you unscramble the letters in `left foot,' you come up with `ha ha I'm really your right foot!' I just didn't know who to trust anymore. Oh, wait, suddenly my left foot is my best friend and had my back all along, even though it threatened me once and killed my mother. Then my left foot started making out with my right foot for no apparent reason. Then I caved in to peer pressure from my so-called friends even though I'd made that mistake 4,000 times in two previous books as well as this one, so I used my magic in a way I wasn't supposed to, and of course, it turned out to be a big mistake just like it did 4,000 times before in two previous books as well as this one. Then I had a vision that made no sense. When I woke up, both my feet had amputated themselves in a desperate attempt to get the hell away from me. But I had to keep walking down the street. It was my last promise to my dying mother, who turned out to be evil, because when you unscramble the word `mother,' you get `two all-beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame-seed bun.' So I moved my left stump. Then my right stump. Then my left stump. Then my right stump ... " (repeat for 300 more pages)
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