Author: Libba Bray
Narration by Josephine Bailey
Historic Paranormal YA
Published December 26th 2007 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
IT HAS BEEN A YEAR OF CHANGE since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy. Her mother murdered, her father a laudanum 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, but 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.
While listening to the audiobook of The Sweet Far Thing, I laughed. I swooned. My heart pounded with fear. And I wept. Libba Bray broke me.
As with the other books in the series, Gemma has so much to deal with. There’s her various family issues, the Realms, the Order, the Rakshana, her friends, society. It seems that everyone expects something of her and she can’t work out what she should expect of herself.
All of it can get a bit overwhelming, but c’est la vie, non?
I am never sure that I like most of the friendships in this series. Though they have their moments where I sympathize with them and even feel proud of them sometimes, largely speaking, I dislike Felicity, Ann, and Pippa and fail to understand why Gemma holds onto the bonds of friendship with them. But since she has, I understand the responsibility she seems to feel to help them. Though I’d say Gemma has the greatest burden to bear under the title of the “Chosen One,” the others’ problems are no small matter.
My favorite scenes? No question. The ones with Kartik. He made me feel all warm inside.
And my least favorite? If you’ve read or listened to it, it’s not too hard to guess. It’s the scene in which, as I said earlier, Libba Bray broke me.
Josephine Bailey’s narration in this audiobook is flawless. Each character that she voices, she does so with such distinction that one is never at a loss for wondering who it might be. As scenes grow more weighted, her narration perfectly reflects it. I know that when I read the books again myself one day, I will hear Gemma’s voice echoing in my head as Bailey voiced her.
A long book and by extension a long audiobook at 20 hours and 29 minutes, but if you’ve got the time, you won’t regret it.
Overall rating: 4.5/5. Hands down my favorite book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy, even if it broke my heart.