Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Review: Ruby Red

Ruby Red
Kerstin Gier; translated by Anthea Bell
2011; Henry Holt; ISBN 978-0-8050-9252-3 (hardcover)

Summary:  For the most part, Gwen doesn't mind being ordinary.  Her cousin Charlotte is the one in the family who inherited the gene for time travel.  This means that Gwen can attend regular school classes and spend time with her best friend Lesley.  Gwen isn't all that ordinary, though--she can see and talk to ghosts.  That turns out to be just the tip of the iceberg, though, when Gwen begins to travel to the past.  Now, Gwen has to navigate through the dangerous past and the equally tense present.  It doesn't help that Gideon, the time traveler helping her adjust, is obnoxious, arrogant and gorgeous.  Gwen feels surrounded by questions, and finding the answers could be the difference between life and death.

The first book in a trilogy originally published in Germany, Ruby Red is an intriguing combination of mystery and science fiction.  Gwen quickly feels overwhelmed by her new ability, especially since she knows so many compare her to the perfect Charlotte and find Gwen wanting.  Yet with a lot of moxie, Gwen does her best to take up her new role.  Gwen is engaging and realistic, a modern Everygirl in very unusual circumstances.  Whether she's complaining about her history teacher or describing the strangeness of the past, Gwen's voice rings true, assisted by precise prose.  Characters like Gideon, Lesley, and Gwen's mom feel true to life, while other character's motives remain mysterious for the time being.  Ending on a romantic cliffhanger, readers will await impatiently for Ruby Red's followup, called Sapphire Blue.

Other Reviews
Book Addict Katie:  http://bookaddictkatie.com/2011/05/11/review-ruby-red-by-kerstin-gier/
Book Yurt:  http://bookyurt.com/scouting/book-reviews/ruby-red-by-kerstin-gier-review/
The Norwegian Book Girl:  http://norwegianbookgirl.blogspot.com/2010/11/review-ruby-red-by-kerstin-gier.html

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