Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
From 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.
Rating: 5 Stars
Ruby Red is the first book in the Ruby Red Trilogy, also known as The Precious Stones Trilogy. The series was originally released in Germany in 2009. In 2011 the book was translated in English by Anthea Bell. I would like to start this review by addressing the beauty of this cover. Both the paperback and hardcovers have an amazing design that is sure to capture attention. While I think both versions are very well done, I must say that I absolutely adore the hardcover design for this book. The colors are very vibrant and deep, and the intricate design around the front cover is very elegant. The red marks in the design are raised and they are made to look and feel like rubies.
But this book is far from just beautiful on the outside. The story is very gripping and it will leave reader begging for more. I think that the author took a lot of time to do research. The story is set in modern day London, but with the main theme being time travel, we are thrown into the 18th century London as well. Gier did a great job of making the readers feel like they stepped out of their own world and into different time periods in London.
The protagonist of this series is Gwyneth (goes by Gwen), a 16 year old girl who never expected for her life to be turned upside down. She lives her grandmother’s home with her mother, sister, brother, aunt, and cousin Charlotte. They are not a typical family, every few generations a new female time traveler is born in the family. Because of careful calculations it was determined that Charlotte was the one that would inherit the time traveling gene. Practically from birth she was prepared for her time traveling abilities that were supposed to manifest at the age of 16. She trained with different weapons, she learned the arts of proper attire and etiquette for different time periods, and most importantly the history of all time periods she was supposed to travel to while on the mission. But the family was shaken when, instead of Charlotte, Gwen found herself jumping back in time with no notice or preparation. Once it was determined that in fact it was Gwen who inherited the time traveling gene, she had to take Charlotte’s place in the mission. There is only one problem, Gwen is clueless when it comes to history, etiquette, weapons, and everything else that she is expected to master in order to successfully complete the mission. There is another thing that is different about Gwen, although nobody, except her best friend Lesley, has ever taken her seriously: she can see and talk to ghosts. She actually has a ghost friend in her school, James who doesn’t know he is a ghost. Lesley and James add a humorous element to the book.
Gideon is the male time traveler and he comes from the family that carries the male time traveling gene. He has trained with Charlotte for many years and is not very happy in the change of plans for the mission. He can be quite mean and rude to Gwen at times, but his attitude improves as the story goes as he begins to understand that they need to work together in order to complete the mission that he has trained for his entire life.
As always, things aren’t as easy as they seem, and after a few events (that I will not spoil), Gwen and Gideon are thrown into a situation that leaves them doubting everything they thought they knew. The book is extremely rich in mystery and leaves reader with many questions in the end which hopefully will be answered in the second book.
I found the story very easy to follow. There are many riddles that will leave you guessing and second guessing every situation. One piece of advice I have is to make sure, as you read along, to bookmark the family trees, because they are complex and you will want to refer back to them as additional clues are revealed. I would definitely recommend this book to time travel fans; however, I think that non-time-travel fans of reading would enjoy this as well.
Words cannot express how much I loved this book. I was captivated from the prologue and my excitement and intrigue built with each chapter. I am looking forward to reading Sapphire Blue, book two of the trilogy!