Monday, September 5, 2011
Ruby Red - Kerstin Gier
Title: Ruby Red (Book 1 in the Edelstein Trilogy)
Author: Kerstin Gier (translated from the German by Anthea Bell)
Publisher: Henry Holt, 2011 (Hardcover)
Length: 322 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Fantasy, Science Fiction
Started: August 31, 2011
Finished: September 4, 2011
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.
Yet another time travel book, which I'm always happy to see. Ruby Red started off pretty slow, but picked up about 100 pages in once the plot actually delved into something beyond Gwen and Charlotte.
Gwyneth's family inherited a special gene that allows certain members every few generations the ability to travel back in time (with certain restrictions). Along with a few more similar groups, the individuals who throughout the years could travel through time make up a group of 12 that all have codenames based on gemstones. When it's discovered that Gwyneth is the final person in this group of 12 (and not her cousin Charlotte as previously thought), the circle is now complete, and when that event occurs and certain conditions are fulfilled, that group will unleash a power that is yet unknown, and some people don't want that to happen and try to sabotage the time travelers. Ruby Red is essentially Gwyneth trying to uncover her past and the mystery surrounding her family, and working with Gideon to try to meet the certain conditions for the circle to be completed and running into issues along the way.
The book did start off really slow, to the point where I wasn't sure that I wanted to read on, but at about the 100 page mark, things picked up and I was much more pleased with the book after that point. A lot of other reviewers point out that Gwyneth comes off as much younger than nearly 17-years-old, which I did notice, but I chalked that up to character personality and cultural differences; this book is written by an international author, and teenagers in Europe do act differently than those in North America. The thing that kind of irked me is that, at least in this book, the time traveling is more of a plot device to account for the whole "blood in the chronograph" part of the plot and there's nothing really substantial that comes from Gwyneth and Gideon time traveling other than dressing up in pretty costumes and going to a certain time for a set number of hours purely to avoid random, spastic time traveling. I do love the gemstone theme woven throughout the series, and it includes something else I love: family trees and diagrams! The series shows a lot of promise by the end of Ruby Red, so I'll definitely be picking up Sapphire Blue when it comes out next year.
Starts off slow, but picks up eventually and results in a nice start to what is hopefully a great trilogy, I will definitely be keeping my eye out on this one.
Thoughts on the cover:
Love it. The curlycues with the ruby gemstones and Gwyneth's picture at the top make this whole cover a wonderful piece of eye candy, and the shade of red is quite nice too. Hopefully we'll get some continuity in the covers for Sapphire Blue (book 2) and Emerald Green (book 3).