Review: Ruby Red

Title: Ruby Red (The Ruby Red Trilogy #1) 8835379

Author: Kerstin Gier

Publisher: Henry Holt

Publication Date: May 10, 2011

Summary:

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.

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This book is one that I’m constantly hearing tons of hype about and I’ve been wanting to get my hands on it for a long time. The cover is gorgeous, the story line sounds intriguing, and to be honest, this book was a complete letdown.

Ruby Red started off really great, with an interesting concept of time travel and a seemingly likable heroine. I loved that the whole family knew what was going on and the time travel thing wasn’t actually a secret; I found that to be really refreshing. However, that all disappeared in a poof of broken dreams when Gwyneth started making stupid decision after stupid decision. She randomly jumps back in time a few times, both times scared and put in dangerous situations and just decides to not tell anyone because she’s scared they are going to think she wants attention. Uh, okay? You clearly aren’t the biggest idiot ever.

On top of Gwyneth making stupid decision after stupid decision, she was honestly just a rather unlikable heroine. She never made a single smart decision and was weirdly comfortable with just not telling anyone anything. She doesn’t tell people when she sees ghosts or anything, instead being perfectly content to just let them think she is crazy and wonder who she is talking to, instead of easily being able to prove to them that she isn’t crazy. I just didn’t understand any of her reasoning behind making those sorts of choices.

Another problem I had with this book is the writing that constantly feels awkward and choppy. I’m not sure if that’s because of the translation or intentionally the authors writing style, but either way, I really have a problem with it. I found it difficult to read and hard to get into with the occasional little things that just threw me off or made me pause for a second.

All of these things could have been bearable, if it wasn’t for the ridiculous romance. After literally knowing Gideon for a grand total of one day, suddenly he is “her type” and she is swooning over him, despite the fact that that one day was spent with him being a total jerk to her. This might be one of the worst cases of insta-love I’ve ever had the misfortune of encountering. We learn absolutely nothing about Gideon so apparently a brooding, insulting, controlling douche is exactly the sort of guy Gwyneth is looking for because she wastes no time falling madly in love with him. And he of course, is totally enchanted by her despite his feelings for another because she’s so different from every other girl. Excuse me while I go gag.

The thing that I did actually enjoy about this book was the whole time travel aspect. I thought it was a creative idea to have all of these people connected through time and blood, and I also liked the idea that they have a way to control when they travel too. I also liked the laws of time travel, how when you jump back though time, you are in the same exact spot you were in before so you need to be careful about where you are when you jump back and forth.

I wanted to love this book, I truly did. But to be honest, I’m just so confused as to why this book gets so much hype. I didn’t find the characters well written or likable, the plot was predictable and the romance beyond cliche and unrealistic. I tried so hard to get into it and see what everyone else was seeing, but I guess I missed it.

RATING: 

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Review: Dream a Little Dream

Title: Dream a Little Dream (Silver#1) 21469090

Author: Kerstin Gier

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Publication Date: April 14, 2015

Summary: Mysterious doors with lizard-head knobs. Talking stone statues. A crazy girl with a hatchet. Yes, Liv’s dreams have been pretty weird lately. Especially this one where she’s in a graveyard at night, watching four boys conduct dark magic rituals.

The strangest part is that Liv recognizes the boys in her dream. They’re classmates from her new school in London, the school where she’s starting over because her mom has moved them to a new country (again). But what’s really scaring Liv is that the dream boys seem to know things about her in real life, things they couldn’t possibly know—unless they actuallyare in her dreams? Luckily, Liv could never resist a good mystery, and all four of those boys are pretty cute…

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Dream a Little Dream starts of kind of slow, following sassy Liv and her little sister Mia as they move to London and start over with a new school. Not only a new school, but potentially a new family as her mother reveals that she is dating a professor with two kids. Though Liv is tired of moving, there are a few perks about their new life; mostly the intriguing new mystery that presents itself. Not to mention the professor’s hot son and his three equally hot friends. The only problem is that Liv starts having really weird dreams including the four hottest boys at her school, and it seems that her dreams are real.

The main thing that I enjoyed about this book were the fun dream aspects. I loved seeing all of the ways that different people dreamed and what it said about them. The idea in this book, of being able to walk through other’s dreams, is such a fun idea and I thought that the author did a really good job of making the dream scenes funny but insightful. The author also used the idea of doors to other people’s dreams actually being doors and with that, people can put locks and defenses on their doors to keep other’s out. I thought that was a fun way to say something about a person, by how their door looked and what sort of defenses they put up. I kind of wish that Liv had done more snooping through people’s dream, but I felt like we unfortunately didn’t get much dream time through the book, something that was my favorite part and I would have liked to see more of.

I also liked Liv as a main character, I thought she was fun and clever and I loved her constant desire to solve mystery. And I liked her relationship with her sister, the way that they were so familiar and played off of each other’s jokes and snark constantly made me laugh. Liv though, was constantly a weird blend of responsible and irresponsible, which drove me a little crazy. There were times when she would really think things through or make notes and charts, and I would be impressed with how levelheaded she was being about the situation. Then there were times where she would just act so stupid and jump into a situation without thinking. I wish her character would have been a little bit more consistent in her decision making.

My main complaint about this book was that it really felt awkward at times and the writing wasn’t my favorite. The pacing was off sometimes, randomly jumping around without warning and I had to go back sometimes to figure out what day or time we had jumped to because it was so abrupt. Then the writing just felt weird and choppy, which was really off putting. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about the writing just constantly struck me as strange. I’ve never read any of Kerstin Gier’s other books so I’m not sure if it’s just her writing style or this book in particular.

Unfortunately when it comes to this book, I can’t help but compare this group of boys to the boys from The Raven Boys and these boys pale in comparison. One of the things I absolutely love about the boys in The Raven Boys was the relationship they all have with each other and how they just felt so real. This book is definitely lacking those aspect, you never really feel like you get to know any of the boys on a personal level except for Henry, but that’s mostly because he’s the love interest so he gets more page time. Speaking of love, the romance in this book was another thing that felt pretty bland. Although I like Liv and Henry both as characters, I just was’t buying the romance between them. The banter between the two was great and I liked the similarities between them, but I still don’t believe that two people can fall in love so quick.

Overall, Dream a Little Dream has some really fun aspects, with the witty banter between characters and the interesting dream exploration. However, it was hard to actually get into the story with the awkward writing and not connecting with any of the secondary characters. Despite the slow start though, once the story get’s going, the mystery keeps you entertained and I found that I wanted to learn a lot more about the dreams and the demon that was in the middle of everything. The ending was definitely anti-climactic and felt a little random, but there were enough mysteries left unexplained to keep you intrigued and waiting for the next book.

RATING: