Book: Ruby Red
Author: Kerstin Gier
Genre: Teen/Sci Fi/Romance/Time Travel
Summary: Sixteen-year-old Gwen lives with her extended - and rather eccentric - family in an exclusive London neighborhood. In spite of her ancestors’ peculiar history, she’s had a relatively normal life so far. The time-traveling gene that runs like a secret thread through the female half of the family is supposed to have skipped over Gwen, so she hasn’t been introduced to “the mysteries,” and can spend her time hanging out with her best friend, Lesley. It comes as an unwelcome surprise when she starts taking sudden, uncontrolled leaps into the past. She’s totally unprepared for time travel, not to mention all that comes with it: fancy clothes, archaic manners, a mysterious secret society, and Gideon, her time-traveling counterpart. He’s obnoxious, a know-it-all, and possibly the best-looking guy she’s seen in any century…. -Square Fish, 2009.
This book is the introduction to the trilogy. There’s no official name for it that I know of, but most fans call it The Ruby Red Trilogy. The summary on the back of the book does a good job of explaining the basic premise of the story, so I won’t spoil any further than that. The ending part about Gideon does make me cringe though - it’s the typical summary of most teenage romance novels. Even though the ending of the summary is cringe-worthy and it’s tempting to put the book back, I recommend to give the book a try anyway.
Gwen is a very likable character and her family, save for her cousin, aunt, and grandmother, are likable as well. Gideon is the typical dark, brooding type of boy at first, but you warm up to him a little in the other books. Almost every character has a purpose, so while there are many characters to remember, Gier does a keep job of making them memorable.
The plot is quasi-Harry Potter-esque as Gwen is thrown into a “world” she’s never been a part of before. The world has set rules that are easy enough to understand and there are plot points that are confusing at first, but are explained later in the other two books. It’s a complicated plot, but easy to understand once the entire trilogy is read.
While it’s reasonable to assume that some might be displeased with the turn of events that effect Gwen, I found some of the characters’ behavior to be down-right abusive toward Gwen - belittling her and treating her extremely poorly. This is true particularly of Gwen’s cousin and aunt. Worst of all, Gwen accepts it without question. She doesn’t actively bring herself down all the time, but she seems to quietly accept all of the insults that are hurled at her and it bothers me a lot. Doesn’t she have a backbone? I get that you have to pick your battles, but just because one person gets special treatment her whole life doesn’t give her the right to treat Gwen the way she does. It’s extremely frustrating and just a tad unrealistic.
Overall, it’s a good introduction to the trilogy.
I give Ruby Red an A-.
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