Plot Summary: 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!
Author: Kerstin Gier
Publishers: Arena Verlag (German), Henry Holt and Co. (English)
Genre: Romance, Supernatural
Review: by Lee
I was browsing Barnes & Noble's website for books to put on my Christmas list when I stumbled upon this series. The idea of teenagers travelling through time was interesting, of course, but the mystery of the secret society and the easy-going nature of the writing (I read the preview) were what made my decision for me.
What I Liked:
The story told in The Ruby Red Trilogy was just plain interesting. I liked that Kerstin Gier maintained the suspense that surrounded the chronograph, the instrument that enabled the time travellers to control the time period to which they travelled and the amount of time they elapsed there, and what would happen when the circle of the travellers’ blood was completed. She used little snippets of poems, records from the annals of the secret society, and even some prophetic dreams of crazy old Aunt Maddy to reveal glimpses of what was really going on. While some of them were really simple to decipher, others were cryptic enough to keep me from figuring it out in its entirety.
The characters were really likable as well. The main character, Gwyneth, was frustratingly ditzy but still endearing and determined, and her love interest, Gideon, was hilariously inept at communicating with her. As any teenage romance should be, theirs was full of miscommunication and misunderstandings that kept them apart until the exact last moment. Gwyneth’s friend Lesley, the plot device that she was, managed to be funny and represent how normal people would react to those kinds of events.
The writing was simple and straight-forward, which I always appreciate. Sometimes authors try to be clever and ruin the book in the process. Kerstin Gier, thankfully, did not do that; however, I am not saying that her writing wasn’t creative or clever. I am saying that she didn’t try too hard.
What I Didn’t Like:
The time travelling held together really well until the end of the series. It had been operating under the idea that even future time travel impacts on the past were evidenced in the present. For example, Gideon was knocked out in the past by Gwyneth and her companion even though they hadn’t done it yet. However, the matter of Gwyneth’s ghost friend James was a paradox. She would never have saved him if she hadn’t met him, and saving his life would have meant never meeting him.
The last few events of the book series were really complicated and went unexplained. I had been wondering for the longest time how they were going to accomplish thwarting the Count, but then it all happened so fast; and, then the book just ended.
I would have liked more of an epilogue; although, the one that it had was very interesting and answered a recurring mystery from the beginning of the series. I wanted to know what happened with Gwyneth and Gideon, but she may have been leaving it open for a sequel of sorts.
Finally, the characters, while likable, were a bit corny at times. They were constantly joking in the same way that was extremely off-putting in the Vampire Academy movie. Xemerius, in particular, was really unnecessarily irritating at times. Also, there were a lot of pop culture references that seemed useless and strange.
Kerstin Gier started writing women’s novels in 1995 when she found herself with a fresh teaching diploma in hand but without steady work. She is best known in the United States for her Ruby Red Trilogy, and her first book, Männer und andere Katastrophen (Men and Other Disasters), was recently made into a movie starring actress and singer Heike Makatsch. Her subsequent books have enjoyed great popularity in Germany as well. Her novel Das unmoralische Sonderangebot (The Immoral Deal) won the 2005 Best German-Language Romance Novel Prize from the Association of German-Language Romance Writers (DeLiA).
Kerstin Gier, born in 1966, now works full-time as a freelance writer in a village near Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, where she lives with her husband, son, two cats, and three chickens.