Title: Ruby Red (The Ruby Red Trilogy #1)
Author: Kerstin Gier
Publisher: Henry Holt
Publication Date: May 10, 2011
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.
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.