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I don't read a whole lot of Fantasy, but participated in a reading challenge this last month in which I had to read as many fantasy genred pages as possible. This trilogy has whole lot of pages in it, and was recommended as something that fans of Harry Potter might like, so I gave it a whirl and have now read the whole trilogy (A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels and The Sweet Far Thing).
A lot of other people in the challenge read it also, and for the most part the feedback was very positive. Some even liked it better than the HP series.
Personally, I liked it, but didn't fall in love with the books. I liked the Victorian setting, Gemma herself (for the most part), Gemma's family, Kartig - and my favorite part of the books was the Gorgon (mostly because you always knew that what she said was the truth).
But I also had some problems with the story. Primarily, I didn't think that the Fantasy world within the story (the Realms) was very well defined - especially in the first book. Basically, it was just an in-between place where wishes came true IF you had access to the magic in the realms. I like my fantasy worlds well defined (with maps, if possible) - like in the HP books, the LOTR trilogy, etc.
I also started to get annoyed with Gemma and her friends - especially in the third book. I understand that this is a YA book and they are only teenagers, but I really started to get tired of Gemma's slightly wishy-washy, I'll-do-whatever-you-want-if-you'll-only-be-my-friend-or-help-me-make-a-decision attitude. I wanted to yell at her to grow a backbone already (which she did by the end of the book).
And the ending of Book 3 - and thus the entire trilogy: Well it was OK, but what happened to Kartik was rather abrupt. I did like how Ann's and Felicity's stories wrapped up, though.
Has anyone else read the entire series? What did you think?
I just recently read these books. I think our thoughts were very similar. I wanted Gemma to just stand up to her friends FOR ONCE! To tell Felicity she could go pout all she wanted, but it wouldn't change anything. I do think that was the worst part of the books, for me.
I actually really enjoyed the realms, and that they weren't clearly defined. It left some things to the imagination, which was kind of nice. Overall, I quite enjoyed the series, but they weren't any that I'd re-read.