Reviews for Sweet Far Thing

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2008 #4
While preparing for her London debut, sixteen-year-old Gemma Doyle (A Great and Terrible Beauty; Rebel Angels) struggles to balance the constraints of Victorian propriety with the unhindered power she commands in the "realms," an enchanted world. Against a social backdrop of Impressionism, labor strikes, and women's suffrage, Gemma explores her own need for independence while testing her tenuous alliances within the realms. British narrator Bailey fully commands her large cast, eloquently delineating each character's accent and pitch. Despite some slow-moving exposition, Bailey manages to keep listeners engaged as events become increasingly suspenseful and brutal. This hefty audiotome (clocking in at over twenty hours) recaptures the peril and romance of the previous books, but the tone is considerably darker. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews 2008 July

Gr 9 Up--Set in Victorian England, Libba Bray's novel (Delacorte, 2007) is a complex, multilayered finale to her Gemma Doyle Trilogy. Daughter of an aristocrat, Gemma struggles to fend off those who want the extraordinary magical powers she inherited from her late mother. She's also trying to understand the denizens of the Realms, a mystical nether world beneath the Earth. At the same time, Gemma is uncertain about her relationship with her love interest, the gypsy Kartik. All this happens amid the debutante season that's the focus of her Spence School classmates. This novel is packed with realistic characters and otherworldly nymphs, centaurs, and a gorgon. Gemma copes with her grieving, laudanum-addicted father, the societal constraints imposed by her pretentious grandmother, and her brother's connection to a secret power-hungry club. After a dangerous confrontation with the dark forces, Gemma takes her life in a bold new direction. Combining passionate emotion and eerie mystery, narrator Josephine Bailey creates distinctive voices for the diverse cast of human and mythological beings. Both heterosexuality and homosexuality are discreetly presented in the context of this mystery-fantasy with its romantic, historical fiction setting. This unique combination of genres and a strong female protagonist are sure to attract adolescent girls. Libraries that already own the first two volumes will definitely want to complete this intriguing saga.--Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT

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