Published: December 2012 by Delacorte Books For Young Readers
How I Got It: Purchased for my Nook
Genre: YA: Historical-Fiction/Fantasy
Goodreads.com Summary: IT HAS BEEN A YEAR OF CHANGE since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy. Her mother murdered, her father a laudanum 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.
I loved The Sweet Far Thing. I think it’s my favorite book in the series, and Bray did a great job with wrapping up the series. I really liked seeing Gemma struggle with having the magic bound to her, and struggling with making alliances. While the series is somewhat dark, The Sweet Far Thing is the darkest of the three.
I love what Bray did with all the characters, especially Pippa. I loved how she took a few factory girls under her wing because she wasn’t able to make her debut to society, and how she wanted more magic and loved having girls under her wing.
Gemma, by far, is my favorite character. She had so many decisions to make, and it’s nice to see her want to include all of the creatures in the Realms. What’s so interesting about Gemma in this novel is that you really see her unhappiness with the constraints placed on women during that time. In particular, Gemma and Felicity don’t want the life that is expected of them. In the end, they make their own way, which I thought was interesting. It’s much more prominent in this novel, and you really do see that there was a time when women had to make their debut to society and find a good husband…and that it only started to really change in the last 100 years or so. Women’s rights fit really well with the the magical parts of the book, and I didn’t really mind it that much…but there were times when it was a little too much.
The novel did start off slow, but once things started happening, it was a hard book to put down. I was so surprised by a lot of things that happened in the book. I wasn’t expecting Pippa and Felicity to be more than friends, especially given that the series takes place in Victorian England. But thinking back to the other books, and even this one to a certain extent, there are definitely hints. I wasn’t expecting Eugenia Spence to be behind everything, nor was I expecting Mrs. Nightwing to know of the Order.
There were times when it felt like things came out of nowhere, but I like that things I wasn’t expecting to happen, did happen. I love the world Bray created with the realms, and how well it worked with the real world. There wasn’t as much closure as I expected, but I did like that the book ended with their lives full of possibilities.
Final thoughts: A great ending to the series. I loved the parallels between the Realms and the real world, and how everything fit together. It gets a 5 out of 5.