Thursday Review: The Ruby Red Trilogy by Kerstin Gier

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The Blurb:

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.

The Review:

I loved Ruby Red. I thought the concept was interesting, the way they time traveled was very neat, the twist at the end had me itching for the next book, and Gwyneth was awesome. The only thing I didn’t like was her confusion about the love interest. Literally the first time she sees him, she’s watching future her kiss him. So when he flirts with her and makes out with her, the “does he like me or doesn’t he” argument just seems a bit silly. Her confusion makes more sense after something that happened midway through book two, but until then, it just made her seem dense. But other then that, loved the first book. Get the first book, read it, it’s great.

The rest of the series kind of fell flat for me. Gwynneth started book one as such a feisty, strong character. I really don’t get why she would stand for the way she was treated in the rest of the series. People were outright rude to her and they kept needing her to do stuff for them. Say no. Make demands. Don’t just stare at the ground and grit your teeth.

Side characters I was really hoping would become more developed stayed very flat and one dimensional. I do have to say I loved her grandfather and the gargoyle, but Charlotte could have been a fascinating character. Ditto for Lucy and Paul. Gwynneth did things that made no sense with an alarming frequency (after your first experience, why would you continue to drink enough at parties in the past that you have been hit over the head with the importance and danger of? Why?). The time travel concept that was set up so well in book one was never really explained much more in depth. The rules got fuzzy, and a revelation at the (very) end made me really curious how that would impact future bloodlines. I didn’t know where all the prophecies and such *came* and they literally met the man who started it all. The thing with James at the end drove me nuts. Time is complicated. Time travelers of all people need to get that.

I think the books are worth a read because the parts that are good are SO good, but I actually think it would have been better if it wasn’t a trilogy, and instead was a longer stand alone book. The story wasn’t about the sapphire or the emerald, it was about the ruby. Her arc from start to finish and I think it may have been streamlined in a more compelling way in one arc instead of broken up because in three books there was some repetition, characters that didn’t need to exist, scenes that could have been cut. I think the story is strong and would have packed a much more powerful punch as a stand alone. I know several of you guys have read the series, what do you think?

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