Monday, June 13, 2011

Review: Ruby Red

RUBY RED (Ruby Red Trilogy #1)
Kerstin Gier
Paranormal Young Adult
322 Pages
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

Gwen's been having dizzy spells for days. If she didn't know better, she might assume they were a symptom of her family's time travel gene, but that gene is prophesied to fall to her cousin Charlotte who is due to make her first leap in time any day now.

Because everyone in her family is fussing over Charlotte's impending journey into history, no one notices when Gwen suddenly finds herself making multiple spontaneous trips to the past. When she finally works up the nerve to tell them she causes quite a stir, and no one is happy about the new revelation. Perhaps least enthused is Gideon, a young man also in possession of the time travel gene who has been working with Charlotte for months on an important mission.

Now stuck with arrogant, infuriating Gideon as a time travel partner, Gwen finds herself a member of an elite group–one of only twelve people throughout history with such an ability–and part of a mystery that's bigger than any one person or time period. The more Gwen and Gideon learn about the past and the importance of Gwen completing the circle of twelve, the more complex things become until Gwen doesn't know who to trust, what to believe, or where she will end up next.

Ruby Red is a story that instantly captivates us and sparks our imaginations to roaring life as we read on in wonder at the possibilities a time travel gene presents, thinking of all the extraordinary sights and events such a biological improbability would place at our fingertips. While the plausibility of organized time travel sends our minds spinning, we are also given a heavy dose of reality with this extraordinary notion, a complicated century-spanning mystery rising to the forefront to illuminate the dangers of such an activity when any one person's minute actions could greatly affect the outcome of events both past and future. Such an ability also raises some intriguing questions for us as readers–can we trust what we're seeing and experiencing in the present with Gwen, or are things unfolding according the the plans of others who have defied the time barrier before her, orchestrating and manipulating things to see their desired outcome achieved? We find ourselves willingly drawn into the splendid chaos with Gwen, breaching the fictional plane to lock minds with her as we attempt to shed the bonds of normalcy to which we are so accustomed and embrace the impossible.

Gwen is a strong young heroine, left almost entirely in the dark about matters concerning her family's unique gift, but we are eternally grateful for her bewilderment when she's suddenly propelled into the inner circle of those who are already familiar with time travel, taking comfort in the fact that we will learn the ropes with her as we go. She has the amusing ability to shock a laugh out of us, seeming fairly quiet and reserved as she digests the scope of her new ability, only to suddenly think or speak a thought aloud that catches us off-guard with its humor and wit. We find ourselves enchanted by a girl who can create levity and inspire laughter amidst the strangeness of her circumstance, and we can't help but hang on every word just waiting to see what she'll let slip next.

Gideon, dark, arrogant and oh-so irritatingly attractive, keeps us on our toes emotionally, his initial coolness toward Gwen raising our hackles since we are already fully connected to her by the time he decides to grace us with his presence. While his frosty demeanor begins to melt under the formidable weight of Gwen's understated charm, the thaw does not fully extend to us and we remain wary of his motives, becoming increasingly curious as to how much he knows about what will happen when the circle of twelve is finally closed. Is his slowly developing interest in Gwen genuine, or has he, having years of experience with time travel behind him, been instructed to play a certain part? The uncertainty with regard to his intentions, as well as those of everyone else involved both in the past and present, keeps us hypervigilant while reading, constantly hypothesizing and questioning motives and actions while hoping Gideon is as he appears to be–a pawn like Gwen in a larger game we can't wait to understand better.

Because this is part one in a trilogy, we are left with quite a few questions we know will constantly needle us until the release of books two and three. There is so much about the world of time travel Gwen, and therefore we, don't know even at the conclusion of this tale, and we can only hope we will find the answers moving forward. Ms. Gier certainly has piqued my curiosity and I am now anxiously awaiting the release of Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green.

Rating: 4/5


  1. This sounds very interesting. Especially Gideon. It's funny how I fall for the dark, arrogant, attractive types in books - not real life, that's for sure. I hate it when books leave you with lots of questions. An ideal start to a trilogy leaves you feeling like you know what's going on but want to delve further.

  2. Time travel gene?? This sounds ridiculously awesome, and it's going on my "To Be Read" list right now.
    It sounds slightly steam-punkish, is it? I will have to read it and find out.

    Your description of her being left out of some family things reminds me just slightly of White Cat by Holly Black.

  3. Looking forward to reading this one! I just love reading about the reactions of characters that travel back into the past, how they deal with things. Love your description of Gwen as having an ability to "shock a laugh out of us." Methinks I'm going to enjoy this one.

  4. I am loving time travel books at the moment. I will definitely have to keep my eye out for this. Great review Jenny.

  5. It sounds good, I would just like to know a bit more what is happening in it...still cool!

  6. huh, didn't know this was a series. According to Goodreads if you can read German these books are already available....but that wouldn't be me. sorry! Looks like I'll definitely get to reading this series but closer to the releases of the other books.

  7. I really enjoyed this book and loved Gwen. I also loved the time travel aspect finding it unique and easy to digest. Great review, Jenny!

  8. I've been hearing a lot of good things about this one. I wasn't sure if it was my kind of book, but now I'm kind of intrigued, and I might just check it out. I'm loving time travel stuff at the moment. :)

  9. This one sounds pretty good; plus, I love time travel, so I am going to have to check this one out. I didn't know it was a series! Thanks for the great review.

  10. WOW! Glad to hear this book is good! I want to read it!!

  11. Alison - I always fall for that type in books too! I can't help it, I find sarcasm and a cocky attitude charming in fiction:) There are a lot of questions, but they didn't frustrate me with this one, not sure why though!

    Madigan - I really liked it! It was fun an different and there is a lot to explain in books 2 and 3 so I can't wait:)

    Aylee - She just comes out with the most random things sometimes, it's hilarious:)

    Nic - Please do! If you're on a time travel streak, this would be perfect:)

    Blodeuedd - I always want more information, that happens with pretty much every book. This one that feeling is a little stronger, but it was a fun read.

    Celesta - Yeah, they are already available in German, but that doesn't really help me either. Can't speak or read a lick of it:)

    Jan - I loved Gwen too, she was just so cute:)

    Leanna - It's a quick read. Once the time travel starts you just want to find out where they're going to go next and why:)

    Christina - I love time travel too, I hope you give it a try! And yes it's a trilogy though I have no idea when the next 2 are releasing.

    Savy - DO IT! It's good:)

  12. This one sounds soo good! I have never really been interested just from seeing the synopsis, but your review makes me want to go out and get it NOW. =D

  13. I love time travel books, and Ruby Red sounds like an excellent example! I especially like what you said about Gwen--it's so fun when people who are typically reserved can make you laugh! :)

  14. ohhhhhh now Im super excited to read this!! Thanks for the awesome review...:)

  15. ps... I love time travel novels, I think the cover got me for this one at first but the plot sounds amazing. Did you read the Time Travelers Wife, oh my goodness thats one of my favorite books ever.

    And to answer your question from forever ago....I read the Immortals (Ever and Damon) and I liked Books 1 and 5..2,3 and 4 really ticked me off, but it was one of those series where you have to find out what happens!!

  16. Bailey - Go get it! I don't think you'll be disappointed:)

    Lauren - I do too, and I thought this one was very well done:) And Gwen just made me giggle.

    Tina - You're welcome! I haven't read the Time Traveler's Wife, but I've heard its good. And thanks for the Immortals info:)

  17. I have been hearing about this book a lot lately, and after reading your review I think I need to bite the bullet and read it as well! I love the element of time travel and I don't know if I have ever read a book centered aroudn that theme...time to give it a shot :)

  18. Great review! It sounds so good and no wonder its an "international bestseller".

  19. There's been such hype of this one with all the giveaways, and I have to admit it definitely piqued my interest. I'm glad to see that it's an enjoyable read! Too bad we can't read German or else we probably would have enjoyed the whole trilogy already... darnit! =b

  20. Tara - I hope you do, I really liked it:) I'm on a time travel kick lately.

    Jenny - Thanks! It's a fun book:)

    Ashley - Why don't I speak German? Then I would have all my answers already. Blogger fail:)

  21. Gideon sounds yummy! Can't wait to read this one!

  22. Well, I often feel like a fool, but now more so. I've seen the cover for RR a couple of times, but it never really appealed to me so I didn't bother to read what it was about. Now that I know it is about time travel, which fascinates me, and an irritatingly attractive guy, which also fascinates me, I could just kick myself!

    Thanks for correctly my errors, Jenny!

  23. Fabulous review, Jenny!

    I have been eyeing this one in the store for a while. I've always been a big fan of time travel novels, so I will definitely be grabbing myself a copy of this one!

    On The Blog: Retrospective Reads: The Forbidden Game

  24. Part 1? Oh noez... I'll need to win the other 2! ;) I can't wait for my copy to read it, this sounds so good! I need to meet Gideon! :)

  25. You're questions piqued my interest and now I can't wait to read the book! I'm really starting to dig the time travel theme this year. Great review, Jenny!

  26. Ohhh. Hello, Gideon! Now I really can't wait to read this one. Loving the time travel bit, especially if it's done well. Woot! Can't wait to receive my copy to review. :D

  27. I am seriously considering reading this one! It seems like it would be a fun read but it is going to have to wait until the winter *sigh*

    Too many books, not enough time (or endless supply of money LOL)

  28. Such a fantastic review-- your writing and summarizing is always just superb, and you could make me want to read anything! I'm super-excited for Ruby Red, and luckily just got it in the mail today. Very jealous of those German and European readers who already have had the chance to read the whole series. :)

  29. Alyssa - He is, I just want to know more about him and make sure he's on the up and up:)

    Missie - I'm a sucker for the irritatingly attractive guys, they get me every time:) Gideon's a mystery and I like that about him - makes him interesting.

    Carissa - Thanks! I think you'll like it:)

    Melissa - Yep, part 1. But if you read German you could already get parts 2 and 3, so that's something;)

    Rummanah - Me too, I become more and more intrigued by it with each book I read!

    Ash - Can't wait to compare notes with you!

    Felicia - It's a cute story. I really liked Gwen and there's something about Gideon that's very intriguing. He's both typical and not, and that makes for a fun-to-dissect character I think.

    Kat - Thanks so much! Yay for getting it in the mail today, I can't wait to read your thoughts!

  30. Hum. I've seen this one around the blogosphere and, after reading your review, I think I'm going to have to read it. Plus, a time travel gene sounds rockin'. There are so many times I'd love to visit...
    Happy Reading!
    Mary @ Book Swarm

  31. I hadn't really considered reading this one until now, mainly because of the cover. I know, I'm shallow. I love the sound of Gwen though, and when we have an awesome female protag, that's enough to set a book apart for me. Awesome review, as usual, Jenny :)

  32. YAY!!! I seriously can't wait to read this dude...

    "dark, arrogant and oh-so irritatingly attractive," <--- Aren't they all???

  33. This is actually the first review I've read on it (I've been out of the loop), but I love the time traveling premise! Anyone else read Time Windows back in the day? Loved that one! Great review, Jenny - I'll try and pick this one up based on your review.

  34. Yay, I'm glad you liked this one because I just bought it and am waiting for it to arrive. I love books with time travel because it's so much fun to think about the possibilities of what you could do if you had that ability. Knowing me though, I'd probably accidentally say/do something and wreck either the past or the future, thereby affecting the present.

  35. Definitely into time travel! I like the different paranormal angle with this one! The characters and world sounds fabulous. Adding this one to my Wishlist! I don't like being left with questions, but it will probably make me want to read the next that's good.

  36. What an excellent premise! It sounds like a fantastic read. I had no idea it is part of a series. I think I will wait till all the parts are released before reading Ruby Red.

  37. Ah, it's that kind of time travel book! The "if Marty's mom falls in love with him instead of his father will he cease to exist in the present" kind of timeline meddling. I loooove that! Even though it usually leaves me dizzy with the possibilities. :P

  38. Oh I LOVe Time Travel books!!!!! I saw this cover floating around quite often the last days but yours is the first review I read. And... you giving it a 4 star review means for me that I have to read it!!

    Oh and I want to meet Gideon... you say he's dark and arrogant? Well, you got me intrigued now!!! ..

  39. Time travel book can either be really good or way to detailed and lose the reader. I have high hopes for this one - nice and twisty but with humor.

    "Gideon, dark, arrogant and oh-so irritatingly attractive, keeps us on our toes emotionally, his initial coolness toward Gwen raising our hackles since we are already fully connected to her by the time he decides to grace us with his presence."

    This was a great sentence and I now have a very particular image/idea of Gideon in my head. :)

  40. Really great review! So glad someone saw Gideon the way I saw him. He had me so angry with his dismissal of Gwen and then his attention so that you could only question his motives.

    I loved this novel! So different than any time travel novel I've ever read. I can't wait for the next two books. So many puzzles, so many ways the story could go!


  41. While I'm not thrilled about it being another trilogy, this looks very interesting!