Ruby Red (The Ruby Red Trilogy #1)Hot
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 eighteenth century and in contemporary London, they can trust.
Ruby Red is a really fast-paced, light, humorous read and I was flipping pages like a mad woman to find out what would happen next.
Generally, time travel stories make me crazy, because they end up being super complex or just off the wall impossible with contradictions. With Ruby Red, though, Gier handles everything in a way I deem acceptable. The time travel stuff is really fun and not intensely scientific. This definitely falls more on the fantasy end of the spectrum than science fiction.
Like several people in her lineage, Gwyneth discovers that she has the time traveling gene, much to the disappointment of her aunt and cousin, who were convinced Charlotte had it. Poor Charlotte! Gwyneth reads a bit young and naive, but it worked. She feels like a real teenager, youthful and a bit snarky. I love the way she’s always making fun of the people bossing around in her head. I look forward to watching her grow as the series progresses.
The prologue and epilogue are really interesting, because they’re an unnamed couple that can time travel. The guy is unnamed and he calls the girl Princess. Is it Gwyneth and Gabriel grown up? Another set of time travelers? My curiosity runs rampant. Usually I find such framing devices annoying and pointless, but this one is a delight.
Then there’s this romance that promises to be super flaily down the road, since it starts with Gwyneth witnessing another version of herself kissing Gideon. Later, though, they meet and he’s all “she’s not handsome enough to tempt me.” Okay, fine, he didn’t say THAT, but the spirit’s the same. Obviously, these two crazy kids are meant to be, but I didn’t quite get the swoony feelings yet, but I am definitely keeping an eye open for when they dress in those costumes from that first kissy scene.
What Left Me Wanting More/The Final Verdict:
Ruby Red was seriously a lot of fun and I don’t have any real complaints, but I don’t feel like I’ve gotten enough yet. I need more world building, more feelings, more intensity and more character development. For now, this is a super cute, page-turningly fun read, but I’m hoping for a bit more depth in the next two books.
The main character is Gwyneth Shepard. She's a pretty cool chick. Gwen is a normal girl, except for the fact that she suddenly starts uncontrollably jumping back in time. One nice thing is that, while Gwen doesn't know the full extent of her world (and honestly, who does?), she knows about time travel and has had gifts her entire. On a side note, her gifts are never fully explained nor accepted, I demand an explanation Kerstin Gier! Anyway, Gwen thought that her cousin was the one with the time-travel gene and it turned out to be her instead. And the revelations don't stop there. Chapter after chapter, new information is piled on top of Gwen. The only problem, most of it is useless. People keep very important secrets from her. One of them, I won't say which due to spoilers, I figured out in the first book, possibly with the help of my mother, but Gwen didn't find out until Emerald Green. Dang you foreshadowing!
The other main character is Gideon. Honestly, I had some issues with him. He goes back and forth between acting ignorant, selfish, like a pig, and totally in love. It's enough to turn any girl off. He's nice looking, according to Gwen anyway, but that's one of his few appealing factors. He turns himself around and even has some really sweet moments, but dang, it takes a while to get there. My one large complaint with him though is his and Gwen's "insta-love". Along with love at first sight, which I actually only care for so-so, the two of them manage to be head-over-heals for each-other in a matter of days to a couple weeks. Christine over at PolandBananasBooks actually first pointed that aspect out here. It's a nice love story, but not particularly believable.
Ms. Gier definitely has the confusing aspect down. Time travel, like many subjects in science, makes very little sense. We don't know much about it, and so the questions are limitless. Multiple times, I've tried to think about the logistics of Gwen and Gideon's time traveling adventures, and all I get out of it is a massive headache. Seriously, time travel hurts, whether you actually travel or not. Though the time travel itself, while having it's own twist, matched facts as well. I found the story accurate and fun. It's like a cross between Doctor Who and the Hourglass trilogy and fans of either would enjoy it. So pick up the books today and I'd love to here what you think!
I think the thing that impressed me most about Ruby Red was how well the time travel was explained. I love time travel stories, so it can be quite frustrating when one doesn’t really bother to explain how time travel works in that particular world and just waves it all away. Not so in Ruby Red. There’s a quite complicated timeline, extra special powers as well as time travel, and well-kept record books that really help build the time traveling world. The rules of time travel in Ruby Red have clear rules: you can’t travel without your own lifetime, you can’t go to the future, etc, and they’re all explained reasonably well.
I really enjoyed Gwen as the central character. She’s fun, humorous, and adventurous, though understandably nervous when her time traveling starts . She’s a time traveler because of genetics, and she has to deal with the hand that’s been given to her. And then we learn all about these extra abilities on top of time travel that certain people have–telekinesis, seeing ghost, etc. AND throw in a secret society? I’m sold.
That being said, as fun and adventurous as Ruby Red was, it wasn’t without flaws. Now, Ruby Red was originally written in German and later translated into English, so I have no idea if my complaints are with Gier’s writing or with the translator, but either way, it did distract from the story. First, I thought the story read much younger than the character’s ages. At times it seemed a bit juvenile, more on the verge of upper middle grade than young adult, though I think that part got better as the book went along. Also, some of the writing was just awkward, which I’m assuming was the result of the translation.
However, my biggest complaint is I didn’t really feel this book had a story arc of it’s own. I really did feel it was just setting the stage for the adventure to come later. And as much as I’m looking forward to that adventure, as a reader, I really could have used more in this book. For the first half, all that happens in Gwen goes to school and realizes she’s the time traveler in the family. The second half picked up with some adventures, but it didn’t really feel like a complete story to me.
Final Impression: I enjoyed Ruby Red as a fun time-travel adventure story. I thought the way time travel was explained in this book was well done and I really loved the characters. Some of the sentences were awkward, whether from the original writing or from the translation, but it was still enjoyable. However, my biggest complaint is that this book really only feels like the beginning of the story, and doesn’t feel like a book in it’s own right. However, I’m excited to read the next book in this trilogy.
I like Gwyneth, I thought she was a nice thought and written character. She did had her up and downs qualities, but that is what I like about her. Gwen is "dory" throughout the story, which we don't get to see much in YA lit. Characters usually change for the development of the story, for it was different from other series (well at least that's what I think). I like that Gwen is who is she. Reading from her point of view was interesting.
It's a fast read, so it your looking for a quick novel, then I recommend Ruby Red.
I really enjoyed Ruby Red, first in the trilogy by German author Kerstin Gier. Time travel is one of my favorite plot devices as both an author and a reader, so the sometimes hilarious and always dramatic zig zags between 2011 Britain and the 18th century—where minuets can be dangerous—were engaging.
The narrator is a young schoolgirl who discovers that it is she who carries the time travel gene, not her uppity cousin, Charlotte. This throws the entire family off kilter as our heroine struggles to adapt to an unexpected life of controlled time travel and uncontrolled love with Gideon, the dashing and confounding aristocrat who may or may not be in falling for her. Intriguing plot shifts and some really wry humor—look out for the "rococo groper"—make this a really fun YA read. Can hardly wait to finish SAPPHIRE BLUE.
Being a huge fan of history I was delighted to find the characters travelling to different points in the past such as the Rococo period and England in 1912. I can appreciate the fact that not only did the author research the time periods and correctly portray them but also the characters were dressed in the fashion trends of the day and who doesn't love the idea of wearing formal gowns?
The characters were for the most part likeable. Gwyneth got on my nerves in the beginning but she quickly grew on me. Where I thought she was a whiny brat she actually ended up being a pretty tough character. There were times when she had to show her bravery even though she was petrified. Gideon was a jerk. Simple as that. He really said some nasty things about Gwyneth, even though it wasn't her fault she was unprepared for time travel. Then he just does a complete 180 and ends up becoming extremely close to her, it seemed pretty unrealistic to me. Lesley and James were by far my favorite characters and they weren't in the book that much. Lesley was Gwyneth's best friend and she helped her gather information and she was all around funny and kind. James was a ghost that haunted their school and he was extremely kind even though he didn't realize he was dead yet.
All in all, this was an interesting story that had a great plot. The time travelling aspect of the story had a lot of thought and detail put into it and actually worked for the story. The history aspects were by far the best part of this novel and I am looking for ward to seeing where and when Gwyneth and Gideon go next.