Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Publisher: Henry Holt
Series: Ruby Red #1
Age Group: Young Adult
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.
Reading Ruby Red was an interesting book, seeing that it was one of my very first novels that were about time travel and had been translated to English. Personally, I think Anthea Bell did a pretty great job of translating but I couldn't help but get annoyed just a little at how childish the narration sounded. Gwyneth was a seventeen year old and believe me I can assure that she didn't act like how the book described her.
Ruby Red is a novel about time travel and Gwyneth, the main character who is the "Ruby"- the twelfth and last female of the time travel line of the Montrose family. She is unaware that she is a time traveller until one day unexpectedly travels back in time. This sprouts confusion amongst the Montrose family as Charlotte was supposed to be the one and had trained from a young age to do so-all because of a birthday mixup. Gwyneth is then thrown into the mystery and is left to figure out most for herself.
Gier's concept was original and she had written the novel well. She captured everything exceptionally, especially her character transition from a normal teen to a time traveller and her relationship with Gideon. I liked how she didn't drown us with insta-lovey content because I feel that happens a lot in novels like these. There was just the right amount of romance and it didn't feel out of place or disjointed. Gier knew how exactly how to provoke hate and love, especially through the characters like Count St Germain and Gideon. At first, Gideon had really rubbed me in the wrong way, but slowly throughout the book, he made up and was considerably more bearable. However, there were many parts that I thought had dragged on unecessarily and I was sitting there flipping pages ahead saying "comeoncomeoncomeon" and scenes where I felt was too short. Ruby Red had peaked in the very last pages and I couldn't help but get slightly annoyed. It left me with the impression that the book was unfinished and that the was about 10 chapters left that I had to read. I would say that the number of pages was a good number for this book, but it had climaxed far too towards the end. The book felt too much like of a prologue of what was going to happen in the next two books in the trilogy.
I also enjoyed how Gier had captured the family tension so well. The rivalry between Charlotte and Glenda, and Gwyneth and her mum seemed realistic and was close to relationships in families that we have today in the real-life world (yes that's us haha). I really liked Gwyneth; she was a strong female protagonist and didn't hit me as weak at all. She was put down a lot by family and the members of the time travel society but proved towards the end that she wasn't who she thought she was. She thought outside the box, especially when Gideon was so close to dying and definitely had some cheek, which I loved. She was funny, witty and annoying at the same time, and I didn't expect to find that combination in a character so good (actually it sorted reminded me of myself except I THINK I'm funny and I'm probably a hundred times more annoying).
So in short, I enjoyed reading this novel a lot; it was interesting, witty and clever and the concept was original. Yes some parts dragged on and it peaked towards the end where it shouldn't have but, I so much fun following Gwyneth throughout the book.
I give this book a rating of 4/5 stars.
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