Thursday, January 7, 2016
Review: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
Author: Kerstin Gier
Series: The Ruby Red Trilogy, Book One
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication Date: 22 May 2012 (originally published 6 Jan 2009)
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository | Dymocks Australia
Although I had never seen him before, I recognized him immediately. I'd have known his voice anywhere. This was the guy I'd seen on my last journey back in time.
Or more precisely, the one who'd kissed my doppelganger while I was hiding behind the curtain in disbelief.
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, Lesly. 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 centrury . . . (summary from Goodreads)
The wonder of Ruby Red unfortunately falls flat.
Ruby Red started out pretty great for me. I was immediately intrigued by the prologue and as the story began I liked the world Gier had created. Time traveling families, prophesies, ghosts, secret pasts - what's not to like, right? But I'm sorry to say all that seemed like it could be amazing just didn't hold up. A lot of it has to do with Gwen. I simply couldn't connect with her. Honestly, she annoyed me, as did Gideon. The mystery and adventure of Ruby Red is weighed down by the forced romance between Gwen and Gideon. I wasn't feeling them and the focus of the book became too much Gwen's feelings for Gideon rather than this epic world of time travel, danger and power. Their relationship lacked any real development beyond insta-love and the fact that so much of the story was riding on how these two felt about each other became tedious, fast. Added to this is the predictability of the narrative. The prophesy, the truth about Paul and Lucy, and thus Gwen and Grace, became too obvious too quickly. The mystery of Ruby Red floundered. I'm not sure if I want to continue this series. Certainly the first book doesn't inspire confidence. But I am still interested by the Count and his dark agenda, and by the ghost of James and his story. Oh, and the gargoyle! I'm just not sure I have the patience for more Gwen and Gideon. I do own the last two books in the trilogy, see, so it'd be a waste to leave them unread, even if they were half price! I guess we'll see.
Ruby Red was a disappointing read for me. When I think of what it could have been, if it had have just shifted focus a little! But oh, well.