November 6th, 2014

Review: Ruby Red (Ruby Red #1) by Kerstin Gier

Ruby Red
by Kerstin Gier

First book in the Ruby Red trilogy

All her life, sixteen-year-old Gwen has believed that her cousin Charlotte is destined for greatness, while she is fated to live an ordinary life. That’s how their family raised them. As the inheritor of the time travel gene, Charlotte has been trained since birth so that she can pass undetected through the past. But when a dizzy spell sends Gwen jumping through time, a secret society for time travelers scrambles to prepare her for her role as the Ruby. Her reluctant assistant is the mysterious Gideon, a young man who spent his entire childhood preparing alongside Charlotte. The more Gwen learns about her abilities and her fellow time travelers, the more questions she has about the secret society and the decisions made in the past.

Ruby Red is a German young adult series, translated by Anthea Bell into English. It’s a fun adventure romp that neatly manages many YA tropes: an ordinary girl who discovers she’s actually super-special, a brooding hero whose initial dislike of the heroine turns to love by the end of the first volume, fancy dresses, and a gal pal to giggle and gossip with. The time travel and the secret society are explained very thoroughly and help to distinguish the story from other YA novels.

Gwen is a fun narrator because she’s such a believable teenager. She is a bit flighty and not terribly bright, and she’s quick to fall into a new crush. Her ordinariness contrasts sharply with the destiny assigned her, and her attempts to adapt to her new life are entertaining because she is often so giggling and cavalier about it. She’s a bit silly, but the story needs that humor because everyone else tends to be so serious.

Although the fact that she can see ghosts and has underdeveloped psychic powers…well, I’m curious to see where that’s going.

One of the things I don’t like about the book is that it really doesn’t stand on its own. Most of the book seems devoted to setting the stage for a big, grand adventure, but that never comes. Gwen has a couple of exploratory trips into the past, but certain scenes from the beginning of the book hint at something huge that never comes. When the book ends on a cliffhanger, it’s a little frustrating because nothing much has happened yet. But irritated as I am by this fact, I also want to hurry up and find the next volume of the series so I find out what happens next, so perhaps Gier picked a winning strategy by cutting things off before the going got good.

3.5 out of 5 stars

To read more about Ruby Red, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.

Peeking into the in:
2013: Limit Vol. 5 by Keiko Suenobu
2012: Quiz: Are you as well-read as a 10th grader?
2011: The Survivors Club by Ben Sherwood
2010: The Singer's Gun by Emily St. John Mandel
2009: Giveaway #12 WINNERS
2008: Ugh...can't review tonight!