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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

GENRE: FANTASY

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray is the conclusion of Gemma Doyle's story. Greed, politics and guilt-trips... no, it's not congress. It's what happens when you bind the magic of the realms to yourself and everyone wants a piece. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Gemma has the best of intentions. The magic had originally been controlled by the Order which was made up of witches like Gemma and her mother. Now Gemma plans to make an alliance with the other inhabitants of the realms and share the magic with them. But first, she wants to use her new power to help her friends secure their futures. The longer she delays, the more agitated her future allies get and things start to unravel. To add to the strain, some unexpected enemies have arrived on the scene.

As excited as I was to read the conclusion of this story, I was also sad when it was over. It has its highs and lows, but this fantasy series for girls is the best I've ever read. It touches on all the best themes: friendship, feminism, and the internal battle between the need to fit in and the desire to be special. Ah, the Victorian Age... how far we've come, but we still have a long way to go. This may be fiction, but there is no escaping reality. Not every character that you want to have a happy ending will get one. If that isn't an important life lesson, I don't know what is.

BEST FEATURE: Formula? What formula? A lot of literature follows an established pattern. Mystery novel? The bad guy gets caught. Romance? The star-crossed lovers get a happy ending. This author took the road less traveled and gave us an incredible story. Watch your back J.K. Rowling!

WORST FEATURE: The length. It's 819 pages long. Someone should take a hedge clipper to this thing. Cut 300 pages and the book would still be sublime and I wouldn't have thrown my back out picking it up to read.

PARENTAL WARNING: violence and minor sexual content; appropriate for teens

MY RATING: 4.5 for the book itself, 5 for the series over-all. The book was just too long.

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