The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray 5 of 5 stars.
It has been a year of change since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy. Her mother murdered, her father alaudanum addict, Gemma has relied on an unsuspected strength to turn catty schoolgirls into loyal friends, 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 on herself and forged unlikely alliances with headstrong Felicity and timid Ann; with Kartik, an exotic young Indian man whose companionship is forbidden; and with the fearsome creatures of the realms. Now, as Gemma approaches her London debut, the time has come to test these bonds.
Rule-breaking Felicity must do as she's told or risk losing her inheritance, and Ann's dream of a life onstage slips away. The Order, the mysterious group Gemma's mother was once part of, is grappling for conrol of the realms, as are the Rakshana. It is there that the girls meet their adored fried Pippa, who is not the same... or is she? The power to change everything--both in and out of the realms-- rests in Gemma's hands.
The Sweet Far Thing leaves me a bit speechless. It continues the story of Gemma Doyle as started with A Great and Terrible Beauty and Rebel Angels with the same wonderful prose of Libba Bray. It shows the struggle we face when given any bit of power. A struggle between who we are and who the power is making us become. The story is surprising and even though it is a fantasy it does not follow the rules of a fairy tale. It does not leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling that the world is right and pure. That things are fair in the least. Though it be incredibly dark, it is a wonderful book, a wonderful trilogy, and I would suggest it to anyone.
For fans of: Libba Bray