Ruby Red by Kirsten Gier Review: 4 Stars

8835379Title: Ruby Red (Precious Stone/Ruby Red Series)

Author: Kerstin Gier

Publication date: January 6, 2009 (Original), May 10, 2011 (US/English Translation)

Genre: Young Adult Historical Fantasy/Science Fiction

Synopsis: Gwyneth’s cousin is destined to uphold the family legacy of traveling through time and fulfill a prophesy generations in the making, or at least that’s what everyone thought before Gwyneth’s unexpected trip through time.

Every generation one person from Gwyneth’s family is born with the ability to travel through time. Gwyneth finds herself completely unprepared for visiting other eras, and in the middle of family secrets and lies in both the present and the past.

Review: I started this book trying to get out of a reading slump after struggling to finish a high-fantasy book that I would have probably liked a lot more if I had read it while I was in the mood for it. I went into this book not knowing much of what it was about except that it had received generally high ratings and was about time travel.

The book turned out to be fast pace and engaging which was exactly what I was looking for when I started reading. The book is more fantasy than science fiction, but I haven’t read many young adult books that deal with time travel whether they are more science fiction or fantasy. I suspect this is because the main characters in young adult books are supposed to remain teens throughout the narrative, and traveling through time makes it extremely difficult to keep track of character ages. Despite this, I would love to read more young adult books involving time travel. If anyone has any to recommend I would appreciate them leaving a comment below.

This book made me want to write as well as read which is good since I read it in the middle of National Novel Writing Month, but at the same time not good at all because it made me want to write about time travel. The story I was writing has nothing to do with time travel.

My main complaint about this book is the characters. I didn’t hate them by any means, but I wish they had been more complex. The lead character, Gwen, seemed to act thirteen or fourteen instead of like the sixteen-year-old she was supposed to be.

I didn’t care for the romance either, but then I rarely do. Gideon sometimes annoyed me, but at least there wasn’t a love triangle.

Ruby Red is set in London and was originally written in German which made me think about how most of the books I read are set in the US and written by authors from the US. Those books I do read not written by authors from the US are usually those from English speaking countries (i.e. Austrailia, The United Kingdom, and Canada). I suppose this makes sense because so much is lost in translation, and there are so many English speaking countries, but it makes me think about how much language barriers affect what we read, and our perception of it.

A small detail that bothered me while reading was that Gwen only had one school uniform that fit her. The school I’m currently attending does not require uniforms, but I have gone to a few in the past that did. Throughout that time period I had around five different sets of uniforms that fit at any given time, but perhaps it has something to do with where I live.

It rarely drops below 50ºF (10ºC) around here, and almost never below freezing during the day (night is a different story). I went around two years without owning a single pair of jeans, and many people don’t own a jacket, but instead walk around outside wrapped in a blanket on cooler days. I know many people who have never seen snow. Do people in cooler climates require fewer pairs of clothes, or is this a plot hole?

What Readers Should Know: This book is fairly clean. To the point that I don’t think I remember any instances of cursing, or romance beyond a kiss. There was some sword/gun fighting, but it wasn’t graphic.

Rating: This book was enjoyable, and what I was looking for when I chose to read it. For that I give it a four out of five.

4 blue jays

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