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Review: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

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Publication Date: May 10, 2011

Source: borrowed/Public Library
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kindle
Upcoming: Sapphire Blue (Spring 2012)

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.
This Scene- "Yeah, sure!" The words were just spilling out of me. "If you've been trained for your life as a time traveler only half as thoroughly as Charlotte, then you've had no time to make any friends at all, and your opinion of what you call average girls comes from observations you made when you were standing about the school yard alone. Or are you telling me that the other kids at your school thought your hobbies, like Latin, dancing the gavotte, and driving horse-drawn carriages, were really cool?"
Instead of being insulted, Gideon looked amused. "You left out playing the violin." He leaned back and crossed his arms.
"The violin? Really?" My anger had gone away again as fast as it had come over me. Playing the violin! Honestly!
I don't know if I was supposed to love this book as I much as I do, but there it is. Ruby Red and I fell madly in love and are currently planning our honeymoon to 1890 (my favorite time period ever). With this book I've discovered my love of time travel. Sure, I liked the concept, I enjoyed it immensely in books like Timeless and Warped, but now I truly love it. And Ruby Red really makes you think about all that goes into it, makes you see how much thought and care go into the whole thing. It's not as easy as just flying back in time with nothing but the clothes on your back. Oh, no. If you intend to make a visit into the past, you have to be conscientious of clothing, speak, skills, etc.

And Gier couldn't have picked a better place to set her ideas loose--London, England! I find this so cool because I go crazy over how English people say things, like Mum instead of Mom, for example. (After reading this book, I proceeded to drive my mom crazy for a few minutes of her life by calling her Mum over and over and ov... Well, you get the idea.) The world-building and history that went into this whole story dazzled me. I hungered to know more about these families of time-travelers, their secret societies, prophecies, and so on. I couldn't get enough!

And instead of dampening this bedazzled setting and extraordinary plot to go with, the characters helped build up my awe of this book. I loved Gwen! The seemingly ordinary, sort of wide-eyed, bona fide teenage heroine. There was a point in the novel where it was necessary for her to learn a special password, and throughout the entire second half of the book she could not remember it for the life of her, mixing up the words repeatedly. Oh, no. What was that stupid password? Qua thingummy thingsitis. (197) (Other variations: Quark edit bisquitis, Qua nesquick mosquitoes. Actual words: Qua redit nescitis.) I thought it was cool how she didn't want to accept her... special talents and wanted to revert to normalcy, yet she also found herself plagued by curiosity. The pull of wanting to stay away versus the allure of learning the ever-guarded mystery. A realistic struggle.

Her relationship with other characters endeared her to me further. She depends on and loves her best friend, doesn't refrain from telling her the big Daunting Secrets. (Notice how tons of heroines do that--leave out the Daunting Secrets with their best friends.) She isn't afraid to ask questions. And she somehow manages to break through others' resolves against her, and charm them. All by being authentically her. Even better, that doesn't exclude the audacious and judgmental Gideon (love that name!) de Villiers, who she's constantly engaging in a battle of wits and sarcasm. These two, from the moment they meet, have it out for each other. And I can't tell you what I love more than watching these two types of characters take the Big Fall. Though, I can guarantee it'll be awhile before they'll admit it (to my chagrin). Still, their slow progression in the falling in love aspect of their relationship is, simultaneously, another tasty element in this book.

Amazing adventure, winning characters, and beguiling secrets that pique the curiosity until stopping becomes impossible, Ruby Red is the kind of book I won't ever get tired of and will find myself wanting to re-read. It's been AWHILE since I've had the good fortune to find That Special Book I('ll) Repeatedly Go Back To. I want to be there when the bad guy gets taken down, when the secrets behind Gwenyth's birth are unveiled, and when Gwen and Gideon finally admit the depth of their feelings for each other. This book has a good grip on me and I'm holding on tight, more than willing to ride out the rest of the series and read the end of this fantastic quest for answers into the past to save the present and future! I can see why this is an international best-seller! Count me in for Sapphire Blue!

If you like time travel books, you might want to read: 


Miss Bookiverse said...

I'm so happy you liked it! It's from a German author and I'm from Germany so I already read the whole trilogy and it kicks ass! Seriously, the 2 sequels are as awesome as Ruby Red. It sucks you have to wait for the translation though ;)

A. Knight said...

Oh, you are BEYOND lucky. I'm so envious! I actually just purchased it today, because I love it so freaking much. But, I want more! I want to know what's going to happen next. Quick, run away, before I ply you with many, many questions!

Miss Bookiverse said...

Oh I don't mind your questions, don't worry, I'm just sure you won't want to hear the answers and get totally spoiled ;D
Have you seen the German editions of the book? I love them a lot, I think for once they're even nice looking than the English ones :)

A. Knight said...

No. I.... must... resist. I can't, CANNOT learn spoilers.

I like the German editions, but, suprisingly--as I tend to like international versions more--I'm in love with the US edition.

Miss Bookiverse said...


I guess it's different when you can actually see and touch the edition. I've seen inside-pictures of the US-one, it's really pretty. The German one has red font (ruby red of course ;) for the chapter headings and stuff though :)

A. Knight said...

Omigod, and I just bought my copy, right, and the cover looks way better than it did in the library's plastic casing. I'm fangirling like crazy! But, like I said, the German ones are nice, too!