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The Sweet Far Thing

Cover of The Sweet Far Thing

The Sweet Far Thing

The Gemma Doyle Trilogy, Book 3
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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.
From the Hardcover edition.
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.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Levels-
  • ATOS:
    4.8
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Reading Level:
    7 - 12

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  • From the book

    CHAPTER ONE
    March 1896
    SPENCE ACADEMY FOR YOUNG LADIES


    There is a particular circle of hell not mentioned in Dante's famous book. It is called comportment, and it exists in schools for young ladies across the empire. I do not know how it feels to be thrown into a lake of fire. I am sure it isn't pleasant. But I can say with all certainty that walking the length of a ballroom with a book upon one's head and a backboard strapped to one's back while imprisoned in a tight corset, layers of petticoats, and shoes that pinch is a form of torture even Mr. Alighieri would find too hideous to document in his Inferno.

    "Let us keep our eyes trained toward heaven, girls," our headmistress, Mrs. Nightwing, pleads as we attempt our slow march across the floor, heads held high, arms out like ballerinas.

    The loops of the backboard chafe the sides of my arms. The block of wood is unyielding, and I am forced to stand as stiff as the guards at Buckingham Palace. My neck aches with the effort. Come May, I shall make my debut a full year early, for it has been decided by all parties involved that at nearly seventeen I am ready and that it would do me good to have my season now. I shall wear beautiful gowns, attend lavish parties, and dance with handsome gentlemen--if I survive my training. At present, that outcome is very much in doubt.

    Mrs. Nightwing paces the length of the ballroom. Her stiff skirts whisk-whisk across the floor as if to rebuke it for lying there. All the while she barks orders like Admiral Nelson himself. "Heads held high!
    Do not smile, Miss Hawthorne! Serene, somber expressions! Empty your minds!"

    I strain to keep my face a blank canvas. My spine aches. My left arm, held out to the side for what seems hours, trembles with the effort.

    "And curtsy . . ."

    Like falling souffles, we drop low, trying desperately not to lose our balance. Mrs. Nightwing does not give the order to rise. My legs shake with exhaustion. I cannot manage it. I stumble forward. The book tumbles from my head and lands on the floor with a resounding thud. We have done this four times, and four times I have failed in some fashion. Mrs. Nightwing's boots stop inches from my disgraced form.

    "Miss Doyle, may I remind you that this is the court, and you are curtsying to your sovereign, not performing in the Folies Bergere?"

    "Yes, Mrs. Nightwing," I say sheepishly.

    It is hopeless. I shall never curtsy without falling. I shall lie sprawled upon the gleaming floors of Buckingham Palace like a disgraceful stain of a girl, my nose resting upon the boot of the Queen. I shall be the talk of the season, whispered about behind open fans. No doubt every man will avoid me like typhus.

    "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.

    "Now, let us--" Mrs. Nightwing is interrupted by loud banging. She closes her eyes tightly against the noise.

    "Mrs. Nightwing," Elizabeth whines. "How can we possibly concentrate on our form with such a terrible racket coming from the East Wing?"

    Mrs. Nightwing is in no humor for our complaining. She takes a deep breath and clasps her hands at her waist, her head held high.

    "We shall carry on, like England herself. If she could withstand Cromwell, the Wars of the Roses, and the French, surely you may overlook a bit of hammering. Think how...

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine The concluding chapter of Bray's trilogy (A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY, 2004, and REBEL ANGELS, 2005) is again given voice by Josephine Bailey, who creates the many characters of this rich Victorian world. As Gemma Doyle and her friends at Spence Academy deal with the strictures of their society--worrying about making their debuts and escaping from under the tight control of their fathers and brothers--they must, at the same time, sort out the lethal mystery that surrounds the Realms, a complex alter-universe peopled by mythical creatures and the undead. Bailey's narration establishes the necessary continuity with the previous books, allowing listeners of the first two volumes to resume their connection to the Realms and Victorian England. S.G. (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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The Sweet Far Thing
The Sweet Far Thing
The Gemma Doyle Trilogy, Book 3
Libba Bray
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