Michelle's Reviews > The Sweet Far Thing

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray
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's review
Mar 30, 12

Recommended for: historical fiction fans, fans of ya paranormal
Read from March 27 to 28, 2012 — I own a copy, read count: 2

** spoiler alert ** compared to the other two this one is not great. It has potential... so much potential and some parts are fantastic. But it drags on. There is too much in it, and a lot could have been cut out or condensed. Especially at the end... after the climax it took so long to end, as if Ms. Bray didn't want to say goodbye to her characters.

The path of character development Gemma was going down was suddenly aborted... it's like she changed overnight with no good reason.

Plus Gemma is absolutely an idiot in this one. She doesn't understand (or even make a guess at) a mysterious phrase everyone keeps mentioning until waaaayy too late.

In general, Gemma doesn't question things. Even when she's an indecision monster she doesn't really THINK about anything she just moans about how indecisive she is. She just rushes headlong into it, completely missing the most blatantly obvious warning signs. And maybe that's supposed to be part of her character, but a) I found it irritating; and b) I would have liked to see some development of her character in that regard... how many times does a character have to get misled in the same way before it becomes either a lack of development or just plain lazy writing/inability to think of something new? All three of these books have the same basic plot, and it gets a bit frustrating to see the character make the same mistakes over and over. Even a teeny bit of growth in that regard would have been enough.

ohhh plus I don't understand why the Kartik's finale happened at all, and what was the whole deal with Amar?? I found Amar far more interesting than all the other characters. Why was he evil when he started out good? How was he corrupted? How did he get all his power? Why did he appear to be perfectly normal sometimes (giving messages, etc) and then just oohooohhhh i'm soooo eviiilll other times? I would like to know. I would have liked to see this answered a lot more than I cared about Pippa, honestly.

I'm giving this a 3 only because I liked some scenes a lot and I liked the book concept a lot... if only it had been shorter.

I've decided, upon reflection, to edit this review to address Kartik's death, and why it happened. IMO there was no foreshadowing leading up to this, and the reader was never given a clear picture of WHY Kartik died, just that he did. I've been thinking about this for a couple days and I've decided now that *maybe* the reason why Kartik died was because it's easier this way. Think about it: the ending as it actually is sees Gemma with "a modest income" on her own in a university in New York. That is pretty radical.

If Kartik had lived, the only logical and satisfying way the ending could go (especially given the books themes of equality for all regardless of class or race) would be for Kartik and Gemma to be together. If they had been, it would have had to be out in the open (no longer a secret... to keep it secret would contradict the book's themes and development). If Gemma and Kartik had a non-secret relationship, she almost certainly would have been disowned, or at very least removed from the situation and strictly controlled by her Grandmother. I can see her father being uncomfortable with disowning her, but even IF she had support from her family (which would have been hard to believe), she would have been thrown out of society... It would have been very difficult for her.

So ultimately I think Kartik died because it was easier to write Gemma's ending without him in it than to imagine a world where he was still alive. I think this theory fits with the exoticism Ms. Bray employs in writing about Kartik. This book would have been much more satisfying if Gemma and Kartik had revealed their romance and dealt with the consequences of that together at the end, or at least looked forward to dealing with those consequences.

Based on this I'm downgrading my review... I still enjoyed the book but it makes me uncomfortable when authors kill characters off just to avoid having to deal with the consequences they present for other characters.

Also, I just remembered, there's an awful lot of deus ex machina in this book, where just by accident Gemma finds out something important... that drives me nuts.

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