Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
Publication Date: May 10, 2011
Publisher: Henry Holt
Keywords: time travel, historical fiction, family
Format read: library book
Summary: Sixteen-year-old Gwen lives with her extended — and rather eccentric — family in an exclusive London neighborhood. In spite of her ancestors’ peculiar history, she’s had a relatively normal life so far. The time-traveling gene that runs like a secret thread through the female half of the family is supposed to have skipped over Gwen, so she hasn’t been introduced to “the mysteries,” and can spend her time hanging out with her best friend, Lesley, watching movies, and talking about boys. It comes as an unwelcome surprise then when she starts taking sudden, uncontrolled leaps into the past. She’s totally unprepared for time travel, not to mention all that comes with it: fancy clothes, archaic manners, a mysterious secret society, and Gideon, her time-traveling counterpart. He’s obnoxious, a know-it-all, and possibly the best-looking guy she’s seen in any century…
I knew absolutely nothing about this book before I read it, I just remembered people all over the internet being in love with it. I certainly saw why. I finished this book in a little under 14 hours. I was obsessed. First, I want to give a shout-out to the author on an excellent book (and soon-to-be trilogy that I cannot wait for). Second, I want to give a shout-out to the translator. I went to get on the author’s website and found that she’s German! (I think). The english translation was so phenomenal, I had no clue it was even translated. That shows truly good writing, so I just wanted to mention that. Now, on to the fantasticness that was Ruby Red.
I loved all the characters I was supposed to, and I hated all the ones that we were supposed to hate. Gwen’s cousin Charlotte was pissed when she found out it was really Gwen that carried the gene (I’m not spoiling anything, this was in the first chapter — and SUPER obvious). I loved that I hated Charlotte so much. Gwen’s character was lovely as well, and she was one of those heroic female characters that doesn’t listen to the men and picks up a weapon and fights. I loved that about this novel. I also really liked how certain things were kept secretive. It wasn’t too much, but there are definitely some things that better be answered in the next two books, because I’m waiting (not so patiently) and wondering (a lot).
The whole time-traveling phenomenon was done so extraordinarily well. It wasn’t just magic and that was it. There was a scientific explanation behind it, and I understood every step of how the time-traveling gene worked and was passed all the way down the family line to Gwen. I was so enthralled by the style of the writing. Everything just flowed together seamlessly, and I loved every second of it.
I also loved the character Gideon. I don’t want to say too much for fear of giving away things, but I loved that it didn’t really work out perfectly the way most romance things do, and there are still several things that intrigue me about him. I definitely want some questions answered about him and his relationship with other people in the future novels.
If you haven’t gotten the idea, this has been, BY FAR, my favorite book of the summer. Hands down. So really, go pick up a copy — STAT.