The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, #3) by Libba Bray

Title: The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, #3)
Author: Libba Bray
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 819, Hardcover
Release Date: 12/26/07

Summary from Goodreads:
IT HAS BEEN A YEAR OF CHANGE since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy. Her mother murdered, her father alaudanum 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, bus 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.

This whole series has been a classic case of "It's not you, it's me." I could not for the life of me get into the magical part of this story with much enthusiasm but boy did I love the setting!! Based in Great Britain during the Victorian Era, these young ladies sure know how to pack a punch into their pretty little words. The witty dialogue is really what kept me turning pages. Here is an example:

"I often imagine what sort of position Nightwing might seek out where she not currently torturing us as headmistress of Spence Academy for Young Ladies. Dead Sirs, her letter might begin. I am writing to inquire about your advert for the position of Balloon Popper. I have a hatpin that will do the trick, neatly and bring about the wails of small children everywhere. My former charges will attest to the fact that I rarely smile, never laugh, and can steal the joy from any room simply by entering and bestowing upon it my unique sense of utter gloom and despair. My references in this matter are impeccable. If you have not fallen into a state of deep melancholia simply by reading my letter, please respond to Mrs. Nightwing (I have a Christian name but no one ever has leave  to use it) in care of Spence Academy for Young Ladies. If you cannot be troubled to find the address on your own, you are not trying your very best. Sincerely, Mrs. Nightwing."

Read this with a British Accent and insta-love! But sadly, as I mentioned, I couldn't muster up an interest in the magic of this story, which is unfortunately, the premise of the book. This book being 800+ pages long did not help the cause. Negative feelings or not, I think it can be agreed upon that this book was drawn out. I don't want to discourage anyone from reading this series because I think most will find it more enjoyable than I did but if I speak honestly, I was disappointed in both the characters, the progression of the story, and the ending. Libba Bray is pretty good at weaving the mystery through the storyline but in this case, the puzzle pieces just came together too slowly.

But to end on a positive note, I will highlight some of the dialogue in this book, which might be cause enough to read the series...

"We take such pains to be polite. We never say what we mean. For all it matters, we could greet each other and speak only of cheese - "How was your Limburger, miss?" "Salty as a ripe Stinking Bishop, thank you." "Ah, very cheddar, miss. I'll have your Stilton brought to your Camembert, then." - and no one would likely notice. "I'll see myself into the Muenster." "As you wish, miss." And there we are, though it is a pity my wickedness has been wasted with no one to appreciate it but me."

""Miss Temple, perhaps you will demonstrate the proper curtsy for us?" Without ado, Cecily Temple, She Who Can Do No Wrong, settles to the floor in a long, slow, graceful arc that seems to defy gravity. It is a thing of beauty. I am hideously jealous. "Thank you, Miss Temple." Yes, thank you, you little demon beast. May you marry a man who eats garlic with every meal."

Rating 2.5/5 stars
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