First of all: Look at that cover, isn’t it beautiful? I love the attention to detail with Victorian jewels, the baroque pattern, the small portrait and the clock! I was gawking at the cover before I started to reading. Anyway...on with the review:
This book is set in contemporary London and it is about sixteen-year-old Gwyneth Shepherd who comes from a Time Travelling family gene. Only 12 people in the family get the gene. Charlotte who is Gwen’s perfect cousin is supposedly meant to have the gene as she was born on 7th October, but it turns out Gwen has the gene! Charlotte has been training to be a time traveller her whole life. Gwen on the other hand is thrown into this new world, unprepared of what’s coming because she doesn’t know how to speak in different languages, know the history, inventions, how to fence and swordfight. Along the way, she meets Gideon De Villiers who is also a time traveller and together, they have an important mission to complete.
*This review may contain spoilers*
I like the characters. Gwen is your typical schoolgirl; she acts like sixteen-year-old, even though she seems slightly immature but she’s very relatable and charming. I really liked the friendship with Gwen and Lesley; I thought it was so sweet because they tell each other everything. She helps Gwen a lot out by Googling certain names on the internet and she is very supportive, especially telling her to tell her mum that she can time travel! Thank god for Lesley, if it weren’t for her, then maybe Gwen wouldn’t have told her mum. I like how Gwen’s mum plays a major role in the book because they don’t usually have major roles in books.
The characters I don’t like are Charlotte and Aunt Glenda because they seem arrogant and are holding a grudge against Gwen because she received the gene and blames her mum. I’m not a huge fan of Gideon because he is conceited and arrogant but I think he’ll grow on me by the time I finish the trilogy.
Gwen’s uncontrolled jumps into the past are really bizarre and mystifying. One of her jumps was when she comes face to face with a girl in the 1700s who looks exactly like her! I thought that is so weird. I wondered who she was. Maybe she could have been her ancestor? Who knows, that wasn’t explained.
We don’t get any Gwen and Gideon action until the very end of the book. That scene sounds like it would be awkward if it were reality because they’re both in the confessions part of the Church. Usually there is a small rectangle window in the confessions part where you only see the person’s eyes but no, in this book this window is big enough for Gideon to stroke Gwen’s hair and face! But anyway, it was a sweet scene. I knew something would happen between them!
I think the translation from German to English is good, but then again I can’t tell! This is only the second book I’ve read that is translated. The writing in this book is not bad. I mean its not the best piece of writing I’ve read but its very easy to read and since its first person POV, you get inside Gwen’s head and how she’s feeling. With the pacing, at the beginning it is slow to understand the time travelling concept. It takes time to get into, but the mythology is very interesting, especially this Chronograph! I loved hearing about all the historic costume Gwen gets to wear, it sounds very fancy!
In the prologue, I have no idea who is narrating it. I am led to think it may be Gwen and Gideon, but as I read on its clear that it isn’t them, then I thought it must be Gwen’s parents. Then as I reached the last quarter and the epilogue, it was very clear who it was. That was a bit of a twist.
One thing I noticed about this book was that it does mention a lot of celebrities! Kirsten Dunst and Kiera Knightly for instance. I’ve never read a YA book where it does that. I read somewhere that its not recommended to do that but if its just name-dropping then that's okay.
It’s very hard to rate this book but overall it is a solid 3 stars. I wouldn’t rate it any higher or any less. The reason being is because I felt that this book was cut short. I did enjoy it nonetheless. There was so much mystery revolving on why Gwen’s mum lied to her about her real birth date and why Lucy and Paul stole the Chronograph to stop the Inner Circle. Things only began to pick up in that last quarter! Lots of questions that need answering. I will be picking up at the next book, Sapphire Blue because I want to know what happens next! And of course to gawk at another gorgeous book cover. I only came across Ruby Red after seeing Christine Riccio’s Booktalk video!
I can’t wait to see the film! It’s in German but has English subtitles. I like the actors chosen for Gwen and Gideon! I was picturing that German actress for Gwen and as for Gideon, I was picturing Ben Barnes because of his chin length long hair.
Bottom line: I’d recommend this if you like YA fantasy, adventure, mystery and a bit of romance.
I was quite excited to make this Ruby Red set because of the beautiful cover. Aside from the Swinging 60s, I love the Victorian era, its one of my favourite eras because of the fashion! I love beautiful lace gowns and trimmings. Ironically I have used a picture of Will and Tessa from the Infernal Devices in this set because the settling and the costume of Ruby Red reminded me of them.
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