Sunday, January 13, 2008

Not everything has a happy ending

My epic quest to find The Sweet Far Thing finally ended when I was able to find one at B&N. How kind of them to finally stock it!

This is the last book in the Gemma Doyle series. The first book was A Great and Terrible Beauty followed by Rebel Angels.

The book begins with Gemma and her friends Ann and Felicity are back in Ms. Bray's final installment of the Gemma Doyle trilogy. Gemma and Fee are waiting to enter society as women and Ann is preparing to become a nanny. The girls have much to discover, such as their desires, destines and who are their true friends and enemies.

The book is a long 800+ pages, and to be frank sometimes it felt like it. The book starts out with a lot of talk about balls and the Victorian Era. For people who want to read about the Realms and Kartik the first 200/300 pages maybe a bit tiresome. Also I felt the book could have moved a little more quickly.

Around page 600 or so I found myself flipping through the pages in order to get to the good stuff. The writing is good. The plot dragged a tad, and after much thought I agree Gemma's character didn't progress as I hoped it would. The ending is bittersweet for Gemma and many readers are having a difficult time with this. I can understand that because when I read Little Women I was upset when Jo refused to marry Laurie. Still, the readers' passion impresses me because these are teens that care deeply for characters in a YA book series. And who says teens don't read!

Gemma's decision at the end was a bit of a shocker. I kept scratching my head thinking "where did that come from?" It made no sense and was never hinted at in the previous two books. It just seemed to happen out of the blue, which was a bit difficult to swallow.

Overall, I did enjoy the novel, but I think that Ms. Bray's characters were able to get away with far too much. Each one got what they wanted in the end, which was rather disappointing. As a person who has studied, and taught history, I thought the girls were far too modern in their beliefs. It would have been nice if one of the girls had been trapped by their station in life and had been forced to mold to society's views.

As a series I enjoyed it very much and I hope that Ms. Bray continues to write.

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