Teens’ Top Ten Nominee for 2008: The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

What would you do if you had all the power? What mistakes would you fix? What rights would you wrong? More importantly, who would you trust?

Libba Bray’s third and final book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy attacks these questions with enough thrills, twists and turns to keep the reader satisfied until the very end. If you’ve followed the previous two books, you know that Gemma Doyle has defeated Circe, the woman responsible for murdering Gemma’s mother. After binding the magic to herself, Gemma now holds the power to the Realms, a magical world full of creatures and enchantments both dangerous and friendly. In the waking world, powerful forces volley for Gemma’s magic. The Order, a group of women priestesses that once ruled the Realms, and their counterpart, The Rakshana, men once sworn to protect them, both use their influence in Gemma’s life to take the power for themselves. Gemma isn’t sure who to trust and who is safe to cross.

Preparing for their London debut, an event that announces them as women in English society, Gemma and her friends Felicity and Ann attempt to use the magic to manipulate their fates. Ann is destined for a life as a maltreated governess while Felicity must overcome the reputations of herself and her mother to achieve a successful debut, necessary if she plans to claim her inheritance. Gemma is still dealing with the ramifications of her father’s drug addiction and her strong emotional connection with Kartik, the Indian boy, now man, once sworn to protect her. All three girls must deal with the limitations put on them as women in Victorian England and the expectations of their families.

On top of the normal stresses of becoming a woman, there is also trouble brewing in the Winterlands, a dark element of the Realms, where those who have died wander, lost. Gemma has begun to have visions again, this time of Wilhelmina Wyatt, a former classmate of Gemma’s mother. What is the mute woman in the lavender dress trying to tell Gemma? What further evil is awakening in the Winterlands? Has Circe really been defeated? And what does this mean for Gemma and her friends? The Sweet Far Thing is an epic ending to an exciting story about magic, trust and the bonds of friendship and love. Despite its fantasy context, The Sweet Far Thing serves as a snapshot of life as a young woman and all the entanglements that go with it.

The Sweet Far Thing is a nominee for the 2008 Teens’ Top Ten. To read more about the Teens’ Top Ten program, click here. To request this book from the library, click here. And don’t forget to place your vote during Teen Read Week, October 12-18, 2008.

Review by Danielle @ Cameron Village Library

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