Sunday, December 01, 2013

Book Review: Ruby Red

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Lori had read through this series and then said I'd like, going so far as to check them all out from the library for me. I was told that it involved time travel, so, yes, I was interested.

It was a quick read. Gwyneth is teenager who lives in a large house with her cousin and a lot of family. The family line contains a recessive gene that allows the bearer to time travel. The gene only presents itself on rare occasions that were calculated/predicted long ago. Gwyneth's cousin was born on the predicted date and therefore has had her young life devoted to learning languages, history, fencing and other skills and knowledge that would be necessary to fit in better in other times. Of course, since the story's about Gwyneth and not her cousin Charlotte, we learn pretty quickly that Gwyneth's parents lied about her birthdate and that she, not her cousin, has the gene. The predictions are that there are twelve time travelers in all, Gwyneth being the last.

Time travel is real travel - you periodically disappear from your own time and reappear in the same place in a different time. Both timelines continue on, so if you're somewhen else for a two hours, you're absent from your own timeline for two hours. It can be unpredictable and dangerous, so a device was invented that helps to control it and people with the gene are sent to another time regularly. Over the centuries a group has protected the device in a centuries old building in London. It was one of two devices, the other having been stolen. Oh, and the devices are powered by the time travel's blood - a small pinprick of the finger. Supposedly something else will occur if one device has the blood of all twelve time travelers but no one's entirely sure what - and it was for that reason (or lack thereof) the that other was stolen. Are the thieves trying to get theirs topped off first, or prevent either device from ever being used all of the travelers?

There are all sorts of rules, one of which she breaks by taking her mobile with her back in time and showing people pictures and also taking a photo of them. (Finally! How many stories in books and TV would be different if the characters had cell phones?) She also has a friend who researches stuff on the internet for her and a teacher at school who seems to have a ring matching the rings of the order that protects the time machine.

Oh, and Gwyneth can see, hear and talk to ghosts and demons. This has been more of a distraction for her and not yet central to the plot.

I am enjoying the characters and the story moves at a fast-pace. Interestingly for these sorts of trilogies, I didn't feel like first book was self-contained - fortunately for me I had book two on the nightstand so I finished the book, set it down, picked up the second and started reading, but it didn't feel like there was a clear ending to the first book - you can't read it stand-alone.

Looking forward to seeing where the next books go. Also very interesting to learn that these were actually written in German and translated. I'd have never guessed.

Ruby Red (
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