Book Review: The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

The Sweet Far ThingTitle: The Sweet Far Thing
Author: Libba Bray
Series: Gemma Doyle
Published: April 28, 2009
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 819
From: Barnes and Noble
Rating: 10/10

American author Libba Bray’s novel The Sweet Far Thing, the third installment to her Gemma Doyle trilogy, came to me at the perfect time.

I had read the trilogy in college, when I purchased them instead of saving money for food or alcohol like most college students. But, that’s not what I mean by perfect.

I read the trilogy again this year, forgetting how out of place Gemma feels the entirety of the books, how foreign she feels when placed against the perfection that is her friend Felicity, and the normality that is her friend Ann. Gemma feels a beat apart from everyone, and never quite knows why.

This novel, even though I feel it never fully explains why Gemma is different except that she doesn’t like the fake nice thing, delves into how Gemma grows and figures out what it is she really wants, and that is why it came to me at the perfect time.

Throughout the novel, I noticed small aspects of life in late-1800’s England, with women’s suffrage being a common one. There were other small things Gemma would say to herself: why can’t she do as she likes, she wishes Felicity to gain her inheritance and not marry, the women who burned in a factory fire deserve safer working conditions. All these things combined support how women should be viewed, as equals, and it is a great thing to teach young girls (and boys) who will read this in the future.

I’m 25 years old writing this review, and even though the main character is 16 or 17, we have so much in common. That is what makes a good book, being able to relate to the characters and see that their actions are exactly what they would do in that specific situation.

Bray brought in relateable characters, ones with flaws they want to hide, others who can’t have dreams because of their status in society, and still others who just don’t know where they fit in. She covers the entirety of female society, and even male society in her male characters, who sometimes seem to be two-dimensional but also have those three-dimensional characteristics.

In essence, the third novel of Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy, The Sweet Far Thing, was the best. The pinnacle feat of her magical, mysterious, fantastic writing project is something I hope to hear about more in the future, whether it be a movie or TV show deal, or more young boys and girls reading it because they want to explore a world created by someone new.

Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy is only a part of her writing career. To see other novels she’s written, such as Going Bovine, check online and in stores at and Barnes and Noble, as well as other stores that carry books. Bray’s novels have not been turned into films.

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