Teen Review: Rubinrot “Ruby Red” by Kerstin Gier
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.
I have had this book since it’s release in the United States last May. The synopsis was interesting and the cover quite attractive, but for whatever reason I kept putting off actually reading it. I would open the cover read a page or two, then decide I wasn’t in the mood to read this kind of a story. Then one morning I was desperate for a book to take to school to read for testing week and this was the only book left on my shelf unread. So, I was left with nothing else to do after finishing the tests but stare at the desk or read Ruby Red. Guess which one I chose?
This is one of those books that you really need to give some time to. The story slowly builds, and while the general concept is intriguing enough, I still felt a bit of a disconnect for the first couple of chapters, but once the plot and characters do finally grab your full attention, they hold on to it until the very last page.
Gwyneth’s family carries a special gene that passes on the ability to time travel, but only to heirs born at specific times and dates that have been prophesied to those in the “inner circle” of time travel. Gwyneth and her cousin, Charlotte, were born a day apart. Charlotte on the day foretold to bring a new time traveler, Gwyneth just hours after. As a result, Charlotte has been placed on a pedestal by certain members of their family and brought up training relentlessly and learning skills and etiquette that will help her when her time travel gene kicks in. Gwyneth on the other hand has been kept in the dark about the particular details and specific concerns associated with the gene. Sure, she knows it exists, but other than that…nothing. While Charlotte was having her entire life organized and being prepared for the future, Gwyneth was allowed to be a somewhat normal girl.
Why somewhat, you ask? Well, Gwen is not exactly normal. She can see and speak to ghosts, of course her family believes she is seeking attention since Charlotte is their main focus, but whether or not they think she is crazy, the fact remains, Gwen has conversations with the dead. In fact, there is one particular spirit on the grounds of her school that Gwyneth speaks to daily, but no-one other than her best friend (another non-traveler) believes her.
It is at school that everything changes one afternoon. While Charlotte is being watched like a hawk for any sign that she may travel like dizziness, tummy aches . . . Gwyneth is overlooked. Even when Gwen starts feeling strangely sick and questioning if her symptoms mean something she is dismissed as making things up. But, when Gwen is thrusted back in time unexpectedly she begins to realize that there are so many things that she has been kept in the dark about and the mysteries of her family, the gene, and time travel will forever alter her world!
There is so much more to this story including what appears to be the tell-tale signs of a budding romance. I really liked RUBY RED and immediately went searching for information on the next book in the series and discovered that , as I write this it is probably in post-production and what’s more – all three books are already out…in GERMAN.
Yes, somehow I missed the little detail that this book was translated into English. I had this “Aha! THAT EXPLAINS SO MUCH!” moment. If you recall, I mentioned feeling a slight disconnect and that it took a while for me to get into the story…well, I’m going to make a guess that the fact this book was translated from a different language might have something to do with it. Just think- if the translation was a good book, imagine how amazing the original is! In a way, I am glad that I was “forced” into reading this story. I am not sure that I would have continued passed chapter two if I hadn’t, and I am so glad I did! I kick myself for not reading it back in May when I first received RUBY RED. On the bright side, I have less time to wait for SAPPHIRE BLUE’s release which according to Amazon will be October 2012. Gah! Now I wish I had taken German instead of French!
I enthusiastically recommend reading RUBY RED to those that have a little patience and want to read something a bit different! 4 stars!