Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Sweet Far Thing- Libba Bray

The Sweet Far Thing
Libba Bray
Delacorte, Dec 26 2007, $17.99
ISBN: 9780385730303

A year has passed since Gemma Doyle was packed off to attend Spence Academy with plenty of other changes in her life. Some of what has occurred is personal starting with her mom’s death and her father’s addiction; others are paranormal starting with her ability to travel to the Realms and return with magic.

However, as the Victorian world is bombarded with change especially from across the Channel, Gemma remains an outsider in London. Apparently that which makes her the High Priestess in the Realms also makes her inappropriate for Polite Society. She rejects the constraints on females over the discipline from the martinet headmistress of Spence Mrs. Nightwing as she has had a taste of freedom and leadership in the other Realms. Yet she even considers corseting herself if she could land the hunk Kartik. Life as a teen in London is confusing; life as a High priestess in the realms is deadly.

Though somewhat overwhelming in its size and scope (so were the other tales), the final tale in the coming of age Gemma Doyle trilogy THE SWEET FAR THING is a terrific entry that ties up a zillion dangling subplots from the previous two stories (see REBEL ANGELS and A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY). Thus it behooves the young adult audience to read those books first to gain the full flavor of this paranormal historical saga. Gemma has come a long way baby in both worlds, but feels societal restraints in turn of the century Victorian England and the weight of responsibility in the Realms. With interesting historical tidbits to anchor the era, Libba Bray provides a strong finish to an interesting saga.

Harriet Klausner

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