Thursday, July 7, 2011

Review: Ruby Red - Kerstin Gier

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Gwen lives with her extended - and rather eccentric - family in an exclusive London neighborhood. In spite of her ancestors' peculiar history, she'd had a relatively normal life so far. The time traveling gene that runs like a secret thread through the female half of the family is supposed to have skipped over Gwen, so she hasn't been introduced to "the mysteries," and can spend her time hanging out with her best friend, Lesley, watching movies and talking about boys. It comes as an unwelcome surprise then when she starts taking sudden, uncontrolled leaps into the past. She's completely unprepared for time travel, not to mention all that comes with it: fancy clothes, archaic manners, a mysterious secret society, and Gideon, her time-traveling counterpart. He's obnoxious, a know-it-all, and possibly the best-looking guy she's seen in any century . . .
Review: When I read that last part of the synopsis, my hopes for Ruby Red completely crumbled. It'll be one of those books, I thought, as I placed it back on the shelf, automatically deciding that it wouldn't go on my To Read list. However, I ended up checking it out from the library later because it was a new book, and while I was certain I knew what sort it would be, I decided that it would at least give me some laughs and groans.

Well, it certainly made me laugh, but not because it was a bad book. Quite the opposite, in fact - I was very pleasantly surprised when I finished it today. The entire time I was reading it, I kept thinking, Just wait until Gideon is introduced, but my dread was never realized. Contrary to the book's synopsis and the exert that's included on the back, Ruby Red isn't one of those terribly annoying, I'm-going-to-act-like-I-hate-you-because-I-really-like-you teen stories. It's quite an intriguing - and yes, weird - time-travel book, and the characters, for the most part, are likable. Especially the ghost James, who I took an immediate liking to.

Gideon isn't properly described in the synopsis. He is rather a know-it-all and according to Gwyneth (who narrates the story), quite attractive, but he's not obnoxious in the usual sense of adolescent males - actually, I didn't find him obnoxious at all, - and his know-it-allism isn't as snotty and arrogantly presented as one might think. At first, Gideon is a bit of a jerk, but given the circumstances, one can understand his frustration - and he also happens to be more or less correct about Gwyneth. But Gideon quickly improves his attitude, and is really quite nice, and not the horrendously aggravating flirt that I was expecting.

Gwyneth makes for an amusing narrator, she handles her panic well, and really does try her best when thrust into these unforeseen circumstances, completely unprepared. At times I thought she overreacted to Gideon's teasing, but I excused her on the grounds that she was in shock and some of the time Gideon really was a little mean. She doesn't fawn over Gideon's good looks too much, but instead laments the fact that such an attractive young man is so uppity, and leaves it at that. Her friend Lesley wasn't as bad as I anticipated, either. Her "modern" personality was aggravating at times, but I would not have changed it, because it really made her character.

The writing itself was nothing glamorous, nor was it bad. It was pleasing, the only real complaint being that some of the dialogue - especially during stand-offs - was rather cliched and sounded as if it belonged in a movie, rather than a real historical setting. Nothing truly atrocious stood out, and I would say that the Author's writing is good for the sort of genre she's writing.

While certainly strange, the plotline is interesting and manages to be fairly original from all of the other time-travel books. I really do look forward to reading the next two installments.

Overall Rating: 

Others in This Trilogy:
1)Ruby Red
2)Sapphire Blue


  1. The love interest in this story didn't really grab me as much as I wanted it to. As much as I enjoyed watching the two work together and time travel, I really didn't feel the love. I like that they flirted, and spent time together, but I felt that they sparked that they need just wasn't there. At least not for me.

    Ruby Red is a great book that I loved. It had a great history on it that made you dive deeper into the story becoming a time traveler. You saw the world, through a whole another set of eyes and the reader is in awe.
    If you love time travelers stories with a twist, read this book. I can assure you that you will travel to places that you never been before!

  2. I liked that the Author didn't spend a great deal of time focusing on the romance. Had she done that, it would gotten annoying.


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