20 March 2012

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

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.

A Book Worth Reading

This being a book recommended to me by my librarian, I was a wee bit skeptical--the way I always am when someone recommends a book to me.  I was pleasantly surprised!  I was immediately drawn in by the feisty main character, the simple writing style and the enticing world set in modern-day London.  Though the end of the book was chockfull of loose ends, it only makes me hungrier for the sequel, Sapphire Blue.

A Girl Worth Fighting For
(Yes, I'm impressed by my Disney references, too.)

The main character, Gwyneth, was awesome.  A real keeper.  Her light and easy sarcasm made me like her instantly.  She has her moments of girliness, as she should.  She doesn't fall head over heels in love with the first good looking dude she sees.  She fills her best friend in on everything strange and sinister that happens to her.  Her best friend, Lesley, is a keeper, too. She keeps a cool head and does research on time traveling devices when Gwyn is in the 1910's having tea with her great great grandmother.

A Romance That Doesn't Overpower
Thank God.  Finally, a romance that is natural and lightly enchanting, almost sweet with its subtlety.  Gideon was a complete prat at times, but he's a good sport when Gwyn doesn't take it lying down. Their easy banter was a thrill.

Time Travel
I'm usually turned off by time travel books just because they can get so confusing and I feel as if all the plots have already been done.  Ruby Red wasn't bursting with originality, but I did like how time travelling was a gene to be passed down.  There's also some type of deal going on around a Circle of Twelve, which of course must be interesting further along the road.  The mystery that always surrounds time travel wasn't particularly thick in this book, and I loved how an interesting piece of information is subtly revealed at the end.

PG Writing
The writing style had the nuances of a middle grade story.  There wasn't a lot of depth to Gwyn's emotional struggle and the sub characters were very 2D, put there for the purpose of having people for Gwyn to interact with, but it wasn't like we had any background on them.  Personal tastes and aspirations, etc.  

Also, the plot bothered me.  It's as if the plot would work if all three were read in one sitting: the first book was like the foundation of the story--the introduction and rising action, but a long way from the climax.  While I'm now bouncing to read the sequel, I'm afraid that I'll have already forgotten what happened by the time it gets around to the US because Ruby Red didn't have a plot of its own.

Quotes
Of course, what did I expect? Of all the rooms up here, they had to choose the one where I was hiding. (p. 90)
It was odd, watching yourself kiss someone.  I thought I did it pretty well. (p. 93)
I wondered what there could be to check about a baby.  Whether it was real or not?  (p. 114)
Book Info:

  • pages - hardcover, 324
  • published - May 2011
  • publisher - Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • genre - fantasy
  • received via - school library :)
  • rating - 5/5
  • series - Ruby Red trilogy
    • Ruby Red
    • Sapphire Blue (coming Fall 2012)
    • Emerald Green