Publisher: Henry Holt
Series: Ruby Red #1
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Won from Fierce Reads (thank you!)
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.Ruby Red is about time travel, which can either get far too complicated with plot holes (Stephen Moffat's Doctor Who) or be beautifully intricate and awesome (Russell T. Davies' Doctor Who). So did Ruby Red fall into the Moffat or Davies camp? Well, I can't say.
I mean, there is time traveling, but it's very controlled. Most of the book is just a setup for the rest of the trilogy. That's what the whole book is; an introduction to the characters and an idea of what to expect in the next two books. It's Harry Potter getting his letter and going to Diagon Alley, before the reader gets to see the action at Hogwarts. So yeah, it's interesting, but it feels like there should be more.
Ruby Red's prologue is actually reminiscent of Harry Potter (in that two people are temporarily depositing a future hero during the hero's baby years), though it gives away the twist (that I assume will be revealed in one of the subsequent books) before the novel has even begun. Some bloggers like that they knew a bit more than the protagonist, but I like to be surprised.
On the upside, though, the main character's family is involved and actually knows more than Gwen about the time travel. And the family dynamic is complicated. The tension between Gwyneth and her cousin Charlotte is tangible and I hope Charlotte's character is explored more in upcoming books. Another fascinating character (though not a member of Gwen's family) is Count Saint-Germaine because his history has so much potential. He is creepy and manipulative, but the reader can't tell who isn't manipulative in this book. Gwyneth herself is a well-developed character; she has this great quirk where she can reference movies for nearly every situation. This trait also adds to her friendship because, yes, the best friend knows from the start about Gwyneth's magical family! Woohoo!
And one thing that's really awesome about Gwyneth? Gideon makes a comment about how he knows a lot of silly girls like Gwyneth and she tells him off for being prejudiced. It was a definite fist pump moment for me as I read it.
I'm hopeful that the second book will be a more thorough novel instead of a setup book. If it has some meat to it, Sapphire Blue could be a great read. As it were, Ruby Red is fun and light. I just wanted something more.
*3 stars*A Quote from the Book: "If we were in a film, the villain would turn out to be the least expected person. But as we aren't in a film, I'd go with the character who tried to strangle you."
Have you ever read a first book in a series that served mainly as groundwork the following books?