Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Final Realm

"Power changes everything till it is difficult to say 
who are the heroes and who the villains... 
And magic itself is neither good nor bad;
it is intent that makes it either."
--Libba Bray, The Sweet Far Thing



Genre: YA Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Publisher: Delacourte Books for Young Readers, 819 pages
Publication Date: December 26th, 2007
Find on Goodreads

Whoo, it is with a small handkerchief that I ultimately finished the final book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy. And what a ride it was. Magic, chaos, war, things that go bump in the night, this book had it all. This novel focuses on not only the fate of the realms and the Order, but also the very real life choices Gemma and her friends must make in regards to their destiny outside of the realms. Their season of debut awaits so there are balls and honorings and teas and garden parties, it is all quite splendid...but Gemma can't help but feel like an outsider. She grows so tired of the petty gossip and needless one-upping of each other, she feels quite alien in regards to all these women and wonders if something is wrong with her. Of course, there isn't, it is what it is in regards to the times. But still, she spends the entire novel trying to forge her own way against it. And it isn't only her. Her friends Ann and Felicity are there as well wondering much the same things about their own fates and what they can do to change them. 

But of course we cannot forget mentioning the realms. The other world is beginning to crack and break slowly but surely. Pippa is still there we learn and with the band of factory workers in tow as her new subjects...excuse me, friends. Gemma is consistently and constantly torn with how to proceed with her new found ultimate power. Her friends are nagging her, the forest creatures are at unrest and the Winterlands' creatures are nowhere to be found...which is quite unsettling. The story ultimately brings us to the final battle that will finally decide the fate of the magic, the realms, and all the creatures that inhabit it. It is the final battle of good vs. evil...

...Or is it really good vs evil? As my chosen quote above reveals the idea of good and evil is a common theme in this book. Gemma and Co. believe they are on the side of good while the Winterlands are the corrupt evil ones. While I mostly agree with this statement I have to echo what Kartik says at one point in the book:
"People make mistakes, Gemma. 
We take the wrong action for the right reasons, 
and the right action for the wrong reasons.”
--Libba Bray, The Sweet Far Thing

He makes a very valid point with this statement. In his circumstance, looking at it objectively he did wrong by Gemma, but it is only with his explanation and foundation of truths leading up to his ultimate decision does that "evil" intention waver. Bray makes a very fine argument with both quotes I have mentioned. We all believe truly that our reasoning and choices are for the best and people act in curious ways constantly and it is only when we know the person and their intentions and endgame do we really start to perceive the reasoning behind their thoughts and actions. This is where that lovely gray area comes in and we can argue that the world is not made up of just black and white, right and wrong, good and evil, but rather shades of gray depending on the intention of the act. It is a very clever and perceptive idea Ms Bray, I truly enjoyed contemplating this theme. :)

My only negative opinion on the entire series really are the other girls...I could take 'em or leave 'em.  I had to take a step back over and over again because I would get so furious at Felicity, Ann and Pippa equally. Felicity at points I love and root for and want to fist pump in the air when she defends Polly but when it comes to the magic of the realms and her constant backlash at Gemma I couldn't stand her. Why is it that Gemma is the only one with a sound head on her shoulders? Could the other girls not see how the magic can corrupt and you can't make rash decisions in regards to the other inhabitants of the realms? It became rather annoying. And Ann, my goodness if I had to hear one more self-deprecating comment I was gonna lose it. I agree wholeheartedly with Felicity when she tells her she no longer feels pity for her if she will do nothing to change her fate. Sing it , sister!  Pippa...yikes, where do I begin with her. She is a crazy yatch. I had such a strong endearment towards her at the end of the first book...and it abruptly ended there I'm sorry to say. Ya know that saying 'you made your bed now lie in it?' Yeah that was her. You choose your choice girlfriend so I'm sorry if my sympathy does not align with you. I really thought her personality and maturity turned a corner in the first novel but then she just flipped right back to being self-centered and manipulative. Oh man was she manipulative, and yes I am quite aware it was the effect of the realms but still, made me mad. And the fact that Felicity and Ann would not see it or believe Gemma was so irritating. Any chance they had to knock Gemma down a peg they took. Not cool. While all is well in the end and they all make good choices there were points where I wanted to jump in the book and strangle these girls. K, I'm done with my vent but I had to get it out...really, the series is brilliant and these are the only negative things I have to say. 

And seriously...I love Gemma Doyle. Truly I do. I loved reading about her story and her journey. Her characterization and inner monologue and honest choices kept me going in this series. I always wanted to know what she would do next. I think she is a kick-ass female heroine ahead of her time. She fights against the constraints of society and wishes to make her own path and choices, truly commendable, I love characters like her! And Kartik...oh Kartik. Their relationship is one of my favorites. It was subtle and honest and angsty and oh so perfect. Forbidden love on so many levels and they were just so darn cute together! Love love love! 

I had a wonderful journey into the realms with Gemma and I am sad to see them go :( Overall, this book was a bit long but I loved all of it because Gemma is a true gem..haha, get it? Horrid, I know but I couldn't help myself. But seriously, these books are a great (but not terrible...get it?!) read so I hope if you're reading these thoughts on the final book you have already read them or I fear I have quite ruined some plot points for you from previous books. 

4/5 Stars and the entire series gets a 4/5 Stars as well :)

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