Ruby Red (ARC) by Kerstin Gier and Anthea Bell (Translator)
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pub. Date: May 10th, 2011
Series: 1st in Trilogy
Age Level: 13+
Source: For review from publisher.
Synopsis via Goodreads
Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era! Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon, the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.
Ruby Red was positively magnetic in how it pulled me in with it's colorful characters, fun and enticing plot, and lovable writing style. I'm so delighted that this was translated into English or I'd have seriously been missing out.
The first thing that really stood out to me about Gwen was that she sounded younger than some one who is, as she puts it, sixteen-and-a-half years old. While this did bother me some at first, it didn't take long for me to get used to it and I started noticing some of her other qualities. For example, she has a great personality with an appealing sense of humor and wit. Her feelings were relatable and Gwen became a character that I had grown to form a solid connection with. Then we have Lesley, Gwen's ever loyal, understanding, and humorous best friend. She was so supportive of Gwen and never failed to believe her, two traits that made me love her. Then we have Gwen's cousin, Charlotte, and while I did feel sorry for her, I did not like her attitude. Surprisingly enough though, this did work well for her character. Then Glenda, Gwen's aunt and Charlotte's mom, was a real piece of work but she definitely added to the story. As for Grace, Gwen's mom, I too questioned her the same way The Order did. However, I'm leaning more towards trusting her versus the others. The last character I want to discuss specifically is Gideon. Like Gwen, I initially found him to be a bit of an arrogant jerk, though even then he was still funny. As the book progressed, I got to see more of his personality, charm, and slightly sweeter side reveal itself. There were quite a few other supporting and minor characters that all contributed but to try and name them all would take a while.
With a well concocted blend of self-discovery, history, time-traveling, and even a little mystery, Ruby Red has provided me with an entertaining and compelling read painted against one of my favorite settings. England. Seriously, I have a weak spot for stories that take place in England. The whole concept behind Ruby Red is original and keenly crafted by Gier. In this first installment of her trilogy, I was introduced to a wide variety of characters as well as taught the background and history of our little time-traveling society and families. That being said, I was never bored or confused, finding myself intrigued by every ounce of the story. There was a lot of set up in Ruby Red and I am so excited to see how the family dynamics and potential romance will develop, as well as what secrets and truths will be revealed, in the next book. I already have an idea about one thing that might happen and there was some predictability in this particular book but I can tell that this is a trilogy I'm going to absolutely devour.
Gier's writing style is quickly paced, consistent, and descriptive all throughout. The dialogue and context were both particularly well done and while the writing was never what I'd call amazing, there was something about it that just really grabbed hold of my attention and kept me eagerly flipping through the pages.
So I both kind of loved and hated the ending. I loved it because I really thought it ended in a lovely way. I was thoroughly teased and left guessing at what will happen in the next novel. I also loved how it ended kind of the same way it started. (You'd just have to read it to know what I mean.) However, I'm now dying for the next book and I don't even have a clue when it is slated to release. *sigh*
All in all, Ruby Red is a refreshing and highly enjoyable read that will appeal to many. Seriously, if it even sounds the least bit interesting to you, then you should give it a go. And if it really sounds like your kind of book, it is definitely worth buying. I'm so glad this trilogy has been made available to the US and I can't wait for Sapphire Blue to be released; I get the feeling it will be even better. :D
1st in Trilogy: B+
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