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  • ARC Review: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
  • ARC Review: The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
  • Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • Review: Karmic Hearts by Jhing Bautista
  • Review: The Conspiration of the Universe by Kenneth Olanday

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Retro (ARC) Review: Ruby Red (Edelstein Trilogie #1) by Kerstin Gier, Anthea Bell

Welcome to a new feature I am introducing on my blog called "Retro Reviews". It's a blog meme where I review books from the back of my shelves, or books whose release date has passed for a couple of months.

The first book on the meme is: Kerstin Gier's Ruby Red.

Traveling back in time can be an interesting and dangerous thing, and Ruby Red did capture my interest. A little bit.

Title: Ruby Red (Edelstein Trilogie #1) by Kerstin Gier, Anthea Bell
Pages: 324
Release Date: May 10th 2011
Published by: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Source: Publisher
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository


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's concept about time traveling is what made me so interested in this book. What if there is a family who possesses the gene that enables a person to travel back in time? All eyes were on Gwyneth's cousin, Charlotte, expecting her to travel  back in time now that she's of age. But the unexpected happened, and because of her mother's deception, it turns out that the unprepared, untrained Gwyneth had the gene. But there's a hidden world waiting for Gwyneth, one filled with secrets going as far back as her ancestor, Count Saint Germain.

Gwyneth has this quirky, easygoing personality that I liked from the start. She's an awkward teenager who sees ghosts, without even an ounce of femininity in her. She only had one best friend and a ghost companion at school. It takes a while for Gwen to get used to her abilities, but her awkwardness and determination to learn how to do time jumps made her a likable character for me, contrary to her cousin Charlotte's overbearing personality. There were hints of romance between Gideon and Gwyneth, but like most of the things concerning our female protagonist, things seem awkward and a little bit forced. Gideon is very charming, but it felt like his character had no choice but be attracted to Gwyneth. The banter between him and Gwyneth were cute at times, but there wasn't enough to convince the readers of a possibility of a full blown romance for the both of them.

However, I have to say I am a bit impressed with the way the framework of the story has been constructed, the history of time travelers and the people that plays a great part in it. Kerstin Gier took great care in discussing the roles the society and its founder will play in Gwyneth's life. The author also left little clues in forms of diary entries and poems in each chapter. Readers had to figure out how these passages relate to the story, and it adds more intrigue to the plot and makes it all the more interesting, a very occupying guessing game.  

What frustrated me the most in this novel was how much the story was built up, yet there was not a clear resolution at the end. What does Gideon and the Guardians want to achieve? Do they want to close the circle? Recover the stolen chronograph? Track down Lucy and Paul and separate them? The mystery surrounding the deception about Gwyneth's real birth date and the significance of her hidden talent as the Ruby Red, was overshadowed by the Guardians' attempt to track down Lucy and Paul, and the mission to complete the circle never succeeded. It felt like a lot of things were left hanging, like Ruby Red was a long prequel to the real story. It felt like just when the conflict and the action are approaching its peak, the story was cut off.

At times entertaining, Ruby Red had its issues but it was a nice read overall. To be able to slip in and out of a certain time and feel how it was like during those times is what gives this book a certain magical appeal. I hope we get more answers in Sapphire Blue when it comes out. This story has so much potential, it just felt like the author was holding back too much for it to be a lot more enjoyable.

My rating

Content (plot, story flow, character):
More answers to questions, please! And a little bit more bonding between Gwyneth & Gideon, more tension to make their budding feelings more convincing!

Okay: Liked, but The Goddess demands more!

Book Cover:
One of the prettiest ARC covers ever, much better than the final cover!


  1. RETRO REVIEWS. THAT'S SO COOL. Unfortuante that you had a few issues with this, but I'm happy that it was still a good read. I totally get what you mean about the story building up and yet.. it wasn't resolved as well as you'd expect =\ I am fascinated by the worldbuilding and the whole time traveler aspect, because.... TIME TRAVEL. I LOVE TIME TRAVEL!

    Interested to see what your thoughts will be on the sequel. Fantastic review, Kai! <3

    1. Want to adopt my meme? :D Yeah, I was so excited when I first dived into the book, but it just came up short. I was eternally frustrated with Gideon (he's hot, but seriously exasperating!) and not really a lot happened to this book, just a lot of time jumping, which is still cool.

  2. I've been seeing this a lot around lately, or the sequel, and I'm getting curious. I'm sorry you have some problems with this, but glad you still liked it. I'll have to pick it up soon. =)

    Great review!

    1. I think the sequel, Sapphire Blue, comes out soon, that's why there are reviews for Ruby Red popping out. I'll give the sequel a chance though, since I'm really curious to know what happens next.


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