by Kerstin Gier
Series: Precious Stone Trilogy #1
Published: 10 May 2011
Henry Holt, Hardcover, US Edition, 322 pages
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, Lesley, watching movies and talking about boys. It comes as an unwelcome surprise then 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 century…
Why is it that the past few books I’ve read are all really good with the exception of one major problem? Ruby Red was an utterly intriguing read with all the time travel stuff and a hilarious, witty protagonist, but the pacing was horrifying. I mean it. Tear-your-hair-out, yelling at the air horrifying.
The story was set over about 4 days with barely any occurrences. Truth be told, I can only recall two other somewhat major events, excluding the ending. Personally, this felt more like a filler prequel than the debut novel of the trilogy.
However, the characters were wholly fun. Gwen had a much younger and fresher personality as compared to the usual jaded sixteen-year-old protagonist. She was actually adorably normal, not boring normal. I also loved the Montrose family. They kind of remind me of a not so morbid, time traveling version of the Addams Family!
As for the other characters, I might sound paranoid, but I felt like most of them could not be trusted. At least those working at the Temple. Gideon, of course, was an exception. Although his relationship with Gwen seemed a little too fast and cliché, they do make a cute couple! It doesn’t hurt either that I’ve got a good impression of characters named Gideon after encountering Gideon Lightwood in The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare.
The book didn’t have much surprising twists but the ending… Wow. I never saw it coming. It was shocking enough to convince me that I should read the next installment, Sapphire Blue.
As Ruby Red felt so prequel novella-ish. There really isn’t much to comment on regarding the plot. However, I would continue the trilogy in (high) hopes that the story will pick up its pace in the next two books.