Book Review: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Posted June 13, 2013 by Debby in Reviews / 8 Comments

Book Review: Ruby Red by Kerstin GierRuby Red by Kerstin Gier
Series: Precious Stone Trilogy #1
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on May 10th, 2011
Genres: Science Fiction, Time Travel, Young Adult
Pages: 322
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

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.

4 Stars

I really enjoyed reading Ruby Red. It was entertaining, fun, rather unique… but ultimately? Too short. I wasn’t ready for the adventure to end. So maybe the biggest problem with Ruby Red is that I want to move on to the sequel right away. You know. If you can call that a problem.

I love this concept. Time travel is carried in genes and uncontrolled by nature. So Gwen just randomly gets sucked into the past for a half hour and then goes back. I love it so much. This is actually my first time travel novel, though, so perhaps I’m easily impressed. But I liked how this was tied to a prophecy and a mysterious secret society, bound by strict time travel rules… it’s just so interesting, I kept reading until I was done. I couldn’t stop myself. So compulsively readable? Check.

Gwen as a main character rather impressed me. She’s not really the strong female character, but she’s so realistic, and I loved that. I mean, she’s been kept in the dark about the ins and outs of time travel and the prophecy all her life and then out of nowhere gets sucked into the past. Her shock, fears, and disbelief are really understandable and make her quite the endearing character. She also shows she can be brave when it’s necessary, and I’m excited about the small ways in which her character already grew in this novel and will likely keep doing so in the rest of the series. I loved her sass as well.

I have a new book boyfriend and his name is Gideon. I just love him. He totally pulls the cocky, arrogant attitude off at the beginning, but as he travels with Gwen, he sees that he needs to be more supportive of her. And he totally pulls that off as well. He can be so freaking sweet.

I’m a bit on the fence about the romance to be honest. I absolutely loved it at the beginning, because it was clearly a love-hate relationship. I giggled like a mad woman every time Gwen thought about what a dick Gideon was. However, it was overly obvious that she felt more for him, just by how she got jealous when he was talking to other girls and checked to see if she had impressed him at times. I wish it had transitioned a little more slowly. That would have made it ultimately more endearing. So while I was a bit frustrated with the ending, I kind of loved it as well. The preview for the next book in any case does indicate it’s not going to be all super mushy lovey dovey stuff, so that’s good. If it is… well, we’ll see that when it happens.

But as I stated up front, this book is too short. Maybe it only feels that way because I blazed through it at such a high speed. However, I really feel like very little concrete happened. I mean, we’re teased with all these mysteries and prophecies, and in this book, almost nothing is revealed about that. It takes almost half the novel (I believe) before Gwen actually admits to her family that she’s the one who has time traveled. It’s odd. I wouldn’t say it was slow in the beginning, but I guess that could have been condensed a bit. So while I loved reading about the time traveling, about this world and their families, I felt teased. It almost felt like this was a prequel, and the next book would be the true beginning. I dunno. I’m weird. This might just be me.

There is one other small negative thing to mention. I know that this is a translation from the original German book, but it really could have used another editing round. I couldn’t help but get distracted by some of the mistakes. Some of it read as really clunky, and not just because they tried to emulate British English.

Summing Up:

This book makes me really excited about not only the series as a whole, but also about the time travel genre. I’ve been staying away from it for far too long, that much is obvious. I loved the characters and the concept, and my biggest problem is just that I want more. So I may just continue on to Sapphire Blue right away. (Anyone else always think of Pokémon when writing these titles, btw?) In any case, I’m going to go watch the movie now!

GIF it to me straight!


The Doctor dances because time travel makes him happy.

Recommended To:

Fans of time travel and swoon-worthy boys.

Bonus Round!

I need your help, loyal followers. Because this series confuses me. …With its gorgeous covers. You see, I was first totally enthralled with the girl-in-a-dress cover, because, though cliché, it is just stunning. But now I think I’m more fond of the original hardback covers. I can’t decide, so… COVER BATTLE TIME! (Click to enlarge the images!)

vs.


I feel like I have to pick between the two but it’s impossible. Can we just say that both designs are absolutely stunning??? Anyway, which would you rather have on your shelf?

Let me know in the comments!

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8 responses to “Book Review: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

  1. Genetic time travel? Intriguing. That sounds a bit like the premise The Time Traveler's Wife which I thought was excellent.

    I vote for the original hardback covers. Girls in pretty dresses are lovely, but I have too many of those on my shelf already. Plus the original designs have a sort of 'vintage-ish look to them that I really like.

  2. Yeah, it did really remind me of The Time Traveler's Wife (though I've only seen the movie, haven't read the book yet). I think it's still a really great concept, so intriguing, and it works well 🙂

    True, I love the vintage almost fairy tale-like cover design aspect as well… but I think these dress covers are pretty much the most beautiful dress covers I've ever seen. Ugh, I can't choose!

  3. Sometimes, I'm not looking for a kick-ass, incredibly strong heroine. As long as they are realistic and not portrayed as weak and spineless, I like them a bit more vulnerable. Those characters are closer to me and even more easily to connect with. Arrogant and cocky, ha, sometimes you got to love those male characters :D! I might need to check this series soon! Time travel is great if it's well-written.
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  4. Amanda

    This was a fantastic review, Debby! I have heard some great things about this book, so it obviously keeps getting bumped up on my "buy this book next" list, haha. I was actually expecting some editing issues since it's a translation, so at least I now know for sure. I can be prepared when I read it!

    I think I'm a bigger fan of the original hardback covers. They give off a classier vibe, as opposed to the cheesy vibe I get from the girl-in-a-dress covers, haha.
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  5. Yeah, I found what Gwen was struggling with to be very understandable, and she more than makes up for her weaker sides with her sassy attitude. 🙂 Haha, I can hate arrogant and cocky guys but Gideon totally pulls it off. I hope you do check it out! I love it 🙂

  6. Aww, yay! I hope you check it out soon, because it's really turning out to be one of my favorite series, haha. The editing issues were far fewer in the sequel, Sapphire Blue, so all in all, it's not too bad.

    I think I am also leaning toward the originals, yeah. Much classier, and more unique.

  7. Of course I was already planning to read this one, but even if I weren't, I was already convinced at your second paragraph. I LOVE time travel and yet I've never read a book about it. It also sounds good that Gwen is more of a realistic character than your average badass female protagonist (though I looove those too!) And I can't wait to meet Gideon ^^ Even though the book was a bit too short and the translation wasn't flawless, I'm REALLY looking forward to this. I just have two more things to say.

    1. YES I always think of Pokémon. I can't help it.
    2. I loooooove the first covers. The paperbacks are cute, but I think they're a bit forgettable. I also really love the original German/Dutch cover btw. Very cute.

    Great review!!!

  8. HEEEE I'm so glad I could convince you. OMG I can't wait to hear what you think. And then you must watch the movie and we can gush about ALL THE FEELS. 😀 😀 😀

    YAY POKÉMON. First I thought it was weird but now it kind of makes me love it twice as much hahahaha.

    I'm just going to go hug my hardcovers *hugs them* love it so much. the original German covers make it look a bit too childish in my mind. I'm settled now, I like the English hardcovers best. 🙂

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