Libba Bray’s The Sweet Far Thing (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy #3)

Jorie’s Store – The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, Book 3)

Title and Author(s):  The Sweet Far Things (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy #3)
Release Date:
 Dec 26, 2007
Delacorte Press
ISBN: 9780375890604
Pages: 819
Source: Harris County Public Library’s Digital Media Collection | Overdrive

Reasons for Reading: Hey, I wanted to find out how it all ended for Gemma Doyle and her friends!

Spoiler Alert: Readers must read A Great and Terrible Beauty and Rebel Angels before reading this review.

Summary: As sixteen-year old Gemma Doyle prepares for her London debut in 1896, she also copes with harsh realities: her mother’s murder the previous summer, her father’s addiction to laudanum, and her magical powers in the Realms being solely hers. Many both worlds will do anything for Gemma’s magic. Compounding the issue is the absence of  her reluctant friend, former Rakshana brotherhood member Kartik. In this otherworldly coming of age saga, Gemma must figure out who she is and her place in it all before all Hell breaks loose.

One Thing I Learned from reading Libba Bray’s The Sweet Far ThingI didn’t think that “nice girls” became actresses at the time. I thought this attitude was quite progressive for Victorian London.

What I Liked: They’re kids and they’re trying to figure out who they are. They are also trying to find their place in the world.

What I Disliked: Did this book really need to be 819 pages? Couldn’t this been expanded to a quartet? After page 700, this became work for me to read. That’s not good.

Song: The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army 

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In the Grips of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro | LibraryThing

* 1001 Books Book (2006)

Ishiguro, K. (2005). Never let me go. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 9781400043392

Going in reverse chronological order, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go is Number 1 on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. Finding it on the shelf at the library where I work, I pulled the book, started reading, and found myself in Chapter 2 by the end of lunch. Ishiguro, born in Japan, moved to England with his family at the age of five. I read somewhere Kazuo Ishiguro was the only one in his family who spoke English. I felt his isolation in Never Let Me Go. The author has written numerous novels, including The Remains of the Day.

Never Let Me Go begins with the introduction of the narrator, thirty-one year old Kathy H. She has been a carer for eleven years. Carers watch over donors and Kathy takes pride easing the burdens of her charges. Kathy H. lives in her native England sometime in the late 1990s. She grew up at the prestigious Hailsham boarding school. Hailsham almost seems idyllic in it’s nurturing the learning and creativity of its students. Hailsham also placed an emphasis on poetry and art.

Two of Kathy’s closest friends from Hailsham were Tommy and Ruth. Eventually, Tommy and Ruth become donors and Kathy becomes the carer for both. Together, they ponder what Hailsham is all about and their place in the equation. However, when they uncover the answers, they do not solve the problem.

The title, Never Let Me Go, comes from a song by fictitious American singer Judy Bridgewater. In the song, Bridgewater expresses how she does not want to be separated from the one she loves. Kathy also does not want to be “let go.”

This novel is what one of my professors would have called a Platonic novel. Like “Allegory of the Cave,” the characters and the reader learn things that alter them and things they cannot unlearn. It took me sometime to shake how the book made me feel. If nothing else, this book is provocative. While numerous book reviews and Wikipedia tell you what happens, I will let you find out for yourself. However, I will say it made me very sad.

At first, I wondered why kids like Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy didn’t ever hear from their families. In addition, I questioned the definitions of “carer” and “donor.” I had all sorts of theories from museum employees to school endowment workers. Ultimately, Ishiguro pulled the rug out from under all of us when we found the true nature of the students’ “uniqueness.”

Yet, when the reader discovers why Hailsham exists, there is no fight or flight attempted by Kathy, Ruth, or Tommy. I would have liked to have seen Kathy attempt at least one of these things. Since she did not, I was very disappointed. By the end of the book, I did not feel she had or would gain any peace, either.

Based purely on the questions this book raises, I give it three and a half out of five pearls. On the end of the book, I give it one and a half pearls.

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