The Sweet Far Thing

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The Sweet Far Thing
Sweet Far Thing.jpg
The American hardcover for The Sweet Far Thing.
Author Libba Bray
Country United States of America
Language English
Series Gemma Doyle Trilogy
Genre Fantasy novel
Publisher Random House
Publication date
December 26, 2007
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 819
Preceded by Rebel Angels

The Sweet Far Thing is a novel by Libba Bray that was released on December 26, 2007. It is the sequel to the best-selling A Great and Terrible Beauty and Rebel Angels.

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.


The prologue begins with two men who are searching a river in London (three years before the events of the book) for dead bodies to fence any jewelry or money left upon them. They come across the body of a girl wearing the same crescent moon amulet as Gemma’s.

At Spence academy Gemma struggles to open the realms. Pressure builds on her as her friends plot to use her magic to alter the courses of their lives, such as Ann trying to counteract her plainess with the magic in hopes of seducing Tom or joining the theatre. But after much struggling Gemma finds a backdoor-like entry into the realms. By touching a mysterious stone unearthed during the reconstruction of the east wing of Spence Gemma can enter the realms. There Gemma, Felicity, and Ann find Pippa among a group of girls she claims to have saved from entering the Winterlands. Pippa leads the group of girls and attempts to teach them manners in a similar fashion that she was taught at Spence, even though Pippa obviously didn't pick many of these up herself.

Pippa asks Gemma to help her cross the river in the realms into the afterlife, but finds that she cannot because she has become a creature of the realms. Pippa asks Gemma to give her some magic and feeling guilty, she does.

After a three-month absence, Kartik finds Gemma at Spence Academy to tell her that their destinies should not cross again. Gemma angrily stomps off, trying to appear aloof. A later meeting at a boat dock in London crushes Gemma's hope that they could be together. Kartik enlists as a sailor for the HMS Orlando to escape from Gemma and the Rakshana. He refuses to reveal to Gemma the details of his business with the Rakshana or what he will do beyond being a sailor. Despite his coldness, Gemma continues to long for his touch. While waiting for his boat to come in, Kartik lives with the gypsies and helps Gemma arrange a meeting with the Rakshana. The topic of the meeting was her brother Tom, whom the Rakshana was trying to enlist in the club. The meeting was cut short by Mr. Fowlson, a loyal Rakshana member, who unsuccessfully tried to capture Kartik and Gemma. The cost for their safe escape was Mr. Fowlson's discovery that Gemma did indeed have the magic, unlike what she had said to him previously. This incidents ends with Kartik and Gemma leaving the docks after a kiss.

At the peak of her tolerance, Gemma finally gave in to her visions and tried to follow the clues left by a mysterious girl in a lavender dress. This leads her to an illusionist who informs Gemma that this girl lived at Spence during her mother's time there. On a whim, Gemma and her troupe of girls venture into the Winterlands to find The Tree of All Souls. When they find it, they all place their hands upon its bark and see different 'visions'- their dreams coming true before their eyes. Gemma alone had a talk with Eugenia Spence who informed her more of the girl in the lavender dress. She also learns that the girl had in possession a dagger which posed a threat to the Winterland creatures.

With their affection for each other growing, Kartik finally asks Gemma if she can take him into the realms to see his brother. Once there, they go to into the Cave of Sighs where they make love in each other's dreams. Gemma then offers Kartik a bit of her magic and he uses it simply to kiss her. Afterwards, Kartik finds his brother and is upset by what has become of him, he leaves the realms without the peace he'd hoped to find.

Felicity and Ann grow angry with Gemma when she refuses to bring them into the Realms, but since Gemma has broken the seal between the two worlds they soon discover they no longer need her and they cross over by themselves. Gemma panics for her friends are unaware of the war that is breaking out amongst the creatures and, fearing for their safety, follows them into the Realms. She finds them visiting Pippa, whose power has grown but whose sanity is very quickly waning. Pippa attempts to kill Gemma when she refuses to believe that she is 'the chosen one'. Felicity attempts to stop her but Pippa pushes her away in her rage, Felicity is taken aback. When Pippa sees what she's done to her friend she apologizes and asks Felicity to stay with her forever, offering her berries that would doom Felicity into a half-life in the realms. The true relationship between the two is revealed when they share a kiss, but Felicity ultimately refuses the berries and leaves in tears.

Time begins to run out for Gemma as creatures of the Realms' patience wears thin. With the seal broken between the two worlds, the creatures run loose, crossing back and forth between the Realms and reality. They attempt to capture Gemma while she is at Spence in order to sacrifice her to the Tree of All Souls. Gemma and her troop (Kartik, Fowlson, Ms. McCleethy, Ann, and Felicity) quickly cross over into the Realms while the war is raging between the creatures. They are waylaid by Pippa, who sacrifices Ms. McCleethy in Pippa's castle in the Borderlands. Soon after, the castle collapses with Pippa inside. The group of girls following Pippa join Gemma's group to fight the Winterlands. They make their way to the tree where Gemma is stabbed by Amar. Kartik quickly offers himself to the Tree of All Souls in order to save Gemma and they share one last kiss before he is absorbed into the Tree. Gemma then gives her magic back to the land, recreating the barrier between the two worlds, and returns home, heartbroken. After her debut, Gemma moves to America to live independently and attend University. In her dreams, she still sees Kartik where he waits for her in the realms on the other side of the river.