Ruby Red, Precious Stone Trilogy #1
Translated from the German by Anthea Bell
Henry Holt and Company, 2011
Sixteen-year old Gwen is hanging out, enjoying being a 16-year old and thinking her cousin Charlotte is weird because of some time-traveling nonsense that goes on in her family. Then one day, what her whole family expected to happen to Charlotte (after all, they had prepared her from practically her birth), actually happened to Gwen. She traveled back in time. And she freaks out (I would too!). Then before she even tells her mom, it happens two more times. She tells her mom and from that point on her life takes a dramatic turn (actually it happened on her first trip back in time!).
Gwen gets swept up into the secretive doings of the Guardians, the Closing of the Circle, chronographs, trips to the past (‘elasping’) and the beginnings of a romance with Gideon. Oh, and by the way, Gwen can see ghosts.
- Gwyneth (Gwen) Shepherd, time-traveling 16-year old
- Lesley Hay, Gwen’s best friend, she doesn’t time-travel but offers a whole lot of common sense support for Gwen
- Gideon de Villers, distant cousin to Gwen, a time-traveling 19-year old, a bit of a stuffed-shirt and a bit condescending toward Gwen
- Charlotte Montrose, cousin of Gwen, The Guardians thought she would be the one to time-travel…they were wrong!
- Count Saint-Germain, time-traveler and founder of the Guardians and a thoroughly creepy dude (he lives in the past but think he’s going to be trouble regardless of the time period!)
- The Guardians, a secret group of men who either have the gene for time-travel or keep the secrets of those who do (they don’t allow women to be Guardians, stuffy old men!)
This book came as a recommendation from my mom’s sister, who is a librarian. In fact, we got this one at the library (which is quite extraordinary for us as we usually buy all the books we read).
Ruby Red is a quick read, and enjoyable to boot! It is told from Gwen’s viewpoint but it doesn’t have that wishy-washy-overwhelmed-with-estrogen-emotional-upheaval that teen female protagonists have in a lot of books. Which is good, because as I have mentioned before, that kind of writing really bugs me and I may finish the book but I won’t read any follow-up ones. Maybe the reason the character is not some simpering girl-woman is that the author is German – you know, they have a bit of a stoic nature I think. But I’ve digressed from the book, sorry….
Ruby Red is basically a foundation book for what comes in the rest of the series. There is a lot of time spent in developing the wide cast of characters, explaining about the Guardians and their chronograph while just hinting at the big secrets that I’m sure will be in the other books. It is well written, researched and paced, without being boringly historical.
The only thing I didn’t like about it was the romantic cliffhanger. Gwen and Gideon kissing in the confessional booth? Really? I would have like a more exciting ending like Gideon goes back to the present while Gwen stays behind in the past or a villain shoots Gideon (or Gwen) just as they start to dematerialize in the past and you have to wonder whether they will survive to make it to the present (a la’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when Dobby transports everyone out of the Malfoy mansion and Bellatrix throws her dagger – did it hit Dobby or miss him? That would have been a cliffhanger!!).
Rating: 3 paws for entertaining story lines and beautifully described costumes
Many covers, one book:
The pink one with the silhouettes is my favorite cover, but it is German so I wouldn’t be able to read that one!
German movie poster
English dubbed German movie trailer here