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.
5 Smokin' Kisses
"Rose of all Roses, Rose of all the World!
You, too, have come where the dim tides are hurled
Upon the wharves of sorrow, and heard ring
The bell that calls us on; the sweet far thing.
Beauty grown sad with its eternity"
I cannot tell you how amazing The Sweet Far Thing is. As I neared the ending, I got sick with antecipation and I literly couldn't hold in my frustration. It was quite unfortunate that I had guests over when I threw my little fit.... ehm, Mother wasn't too pleased.
The perfect Victorian Novel with a touch of Magic, Romance, Trust, Betrayel, Friendships & Enemies. Every word was gold. I couldn't hold in my excitement while reading.
This novel begins near the end of the school year, where Gemma & Felicity will be make their debuts, and Ann will leave to her cousins to become a governess. everything in the realms is chaotic, as Gemma has sealed all the magic within herself, and it is now up to her to uphold all of her promises to share the magic with the people of the realms. However, the girls are growing greedy & the people of the realms are growing impatient... and the powers of the winterlands are growing.
Gemma discovers that ones you trusted may very well betray you, and those you thought your enemies, can very well be your saviors in your time of need.
“I'm like everyone else in this stupid, bloody, amazing world. I'm flawed. Impossibly so. But hopeful. I'm still me.”
Gemma fights her feelings of lonliness & betrayel, as she feels that she is only being used for her magic. The three girls' friendship is put to the ultimate test, as they must trust in eachother to fight the powers that threaten them.
“Power changes everything till it is difficult to say who are the heroes and who the villians.”
Bray builds each one of her characters to perfection, until we know every single desire & every single dark corner.
Gemma fights the strong powers within her, and her sense of belonging with her friends, the people of the realms, kartik, circe, ms McCleethy, the rakshana and everyone else that wants a piece of her magic- and not to forget her duty as a young english girl. There are many times when she feels betrayel and I pity her, because she feels as if her magic is the only thing keeping her closest friends Felicity & Ann tied to her. When she gets betrayed by them, although it's mostly Felicity who will not believe her because she is so blinded by Pip, and Ann merely follows, I feel her pain & it's something that most young females her age can relate to. Although the girls play with magic and enjoy it, most of the time it felt as if they weight of the world was on Gemma's shoulders. Even though the girls would help her everytime she had a theory, she was usually the one falling to her powers, going insane & having to carry the burden with her- while the girls would get mad if she wouldn't take them to the realms to have fun. By the end of the novel Gemma undergoes a Huge change in her personality. It first begins when she starts to feel alone and talk to Circe. She begins to feel more sure of herself. Afterwards she unfolds her life and realizes the worth of the world she lives in, and the people around her - and it makes her a new girl. I adored the person she became at the end, her personality was strong and sure. It wasn't full of doubt as it previously was ever since AGATB.
“I am a jumble of passions, misgivings, and wants. It seems that I am always in a state of wishing and rarely in a state of contentment.”
Tons of things are discovered about Felicity. She would still have to be my favorite character in the book. even though she becomes quite snobby at times, and betrays Gemma for the magic & Pip, she would come around when Gemma needed her the most... eventually. She left Gemma for her own magic & Pip many times throughout, claiming that Gemma was Jealous that Pip had magic, despite what Gemma told her about Pips evil side & ventures into the Winterlands. That was one of her least favorite characteristics, but one that we all fall to today:
We believe what we want to believe, no matter what others say or show us. Although her personality is strong & determined, which is the thing I love about her, we also see her greatest fears & her greatest secrets. We find out that the relationship between her & Pip is more than a friendship, & the reason she wouldn't leave her as Gemma suggested tons of times, her rashness resulting in trouble & deaths near the end, Is that Felicity was truly in love with Pip, and she wanted a way for them to be together. She is one of the toughest characters in this novel, and a true rolemodel for females. I absoloutly adored her relationship with Pip ! I'm not a Gemma x Kartik fan, I'm not too sure why though... i've never been a fan of the couple. But I love love love love Pip x Fee . I think they're just so cute... plus Fee is my fave character! Felicity's strength is something that I wish that I could have. She's strong not only in the physical sense, but also mentally, as near the end she let's go of the person she loves the most & does the right thing. She is loyal and proud, mean yet affectionate. Her personality is amazing, 99% of the quotes/ scenes I love from the novel are her's. The way she can make people do whatever she wants, be cruel, yet care and crumble at the same time. The way her weakness showed to be equal to her strength at the end... ugh I just absoloutly adore her, that is all I can say.
I'm not into girls, but I'll make an exception... Fee, Just come marry me. I think we'd make a lovely couple.
“It’s one lump of sugar in your tea whether you like it or not and you’d best smile even if you’re dying deep inside. We’re like pretty horses, and just as on horses, they mean to put blinders on us so we can’t look left or right but only straight ahead where they would lead. Please, please, please, Gemma, let’s not die inside before we have to.”
"Pippa opens her hand. Felicity’s face shows her torment—her affection and her pride locked in fierce battle. She stares at the berries for a long moment, neither accepting nor declining them, and I come to realize that the silence is her answer. She will not trade one trap for another.”
"I lie down beside her. She takes my fingers in her moist palm. She holds and I do not break away, and that is something after all. We lie there, tethered to each other by the fragile promise of our fingers while the night grows bolder"
I disliked Ann most of the times, as I have for most of the series, however I felt pity for her tons of times. She's still the pushover that she was in AGATB & RA, even though she has seen magic & evil like none of the other girls at spence. I greatly dislike her personality, as she has a habit of taking whatever the other girls throw at her & swallowing it, not fighting back or defending herself. She doesn't believe in herself or her abilities, and it costs her dearly at times. She also had a habit of being a follower & never coming up with her own conclusions. everytime the girls would have an aargument, she would easily side with Felicity & hardly speak, leaving Gemma in the all alone.
“I shan't ever understand your willingness to lie down and die," Felicity barks. "If you won't at least try to fight, I have no sympathy for you.”
Although Ann makes stupid and cowerdly discisions, she redeems herself in the end and follows her path, no longer bending to the whim of others.
“War." Gorgon spits the word. "That is what they call it to give the illusion of honor and law. It is chaos. Madness and blood and the hunger to win. It has always been thus and shall always be so.”
I loved Gorgon, something about her stuck with me. Her fiercness & kindness. I was so proud of her when she came through for Gemma at the end. Kartik was a sweet heart as usual. Although Gemma was disappointed in him for his disicions, he made mistakes, but it was always to protect her, although she wasn't to fond of it. The relationship between Gemma & Kartik Grew imensly near the ending, and it was probably one of the BEST Novel relationships out there, as it took Time, Chemistry, Danger & Understanding for their love to fully blossem. Ther romance was written perfectly & any reader is able to see how & why their love flourished, an art every other YA author should take up.
I began disliking Pip in this, although I knew how betrayed she felt & how one stupid desicison ruined her life. But the way she controlled Felicity, which in turn controlled Ann, thus dragging them apart from Gemma, made me hate her all the more. She became power hungry which lead to her ultimate demise, although I pittied her & Felicity at the end.
The novel has a STRONG Feminist voice by the end, which I abosloutly loved. I could kiss bray. Everything she said was perfect, and made me love Gemma x10000000 more.
"Why should we girls not had the same privileges as men? Why do we police ourselves so stringently- whittling each other down with cutting remarks or holding ourselves back from greatness with a harness woven of fear and shame and longing? If we do not deem ourselves worthy first, how shall we ever ask for more?
I have seen what a handful of girls can do, Mrs.Nightwing. They can hold back an army if necessary, so please dont tell me it isn't possible."
The plot was amazing, I couldn't get over it! yes, the book could have been shorter & many many chapters in the beggening were unnecessary, however they were not boring & added to the feel of the novel. It gave us a chance to see into each character: To see the way Gemma feels about Kartik & her family, the way Ann deals with the struggles of her life of a governess & her desire to sing on stage, the way Felicity deals with her love for Pip & the struggles of being sponsered & presented to the queen, in order to be free and Inherit her funds. it all plays a part in building their character, and although not utterly important, the length to the novel adds an atmosphere that allows the reader to slowly inch into the action, rather than jump in and be overwhelmed. I felt as if I was truly witnissing what happened to the girls, not just reading it. Bray is able to use her amazing writting skills to keep you intranced by whatever she writes. Her writting style is seriously a gift. she could be writting about drying paint and it would be interesting.
Overall, the plot is phenomenal. The characters face various struggles & each character is broken down until we know them fully & it's as if we are truly with them & participating in the events taking place. This story will be one I will not soon forget. Definitly one of my favorites. Cannot wait to read more books by Libba Bray !
“Reminds us that greatness lies even in the smallest of moments, in the humblest of hearts, and we shall, each of us, be called to greatness. Whether we shall rise to meet it or let it slip away is the challenge put before us all.”