Monday, May 23, 2011

Review: Ruby Red

Title: Ruby Red
Author: Kerstin Gier
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Category: Young Adult
Page Count: 324 
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Series: Edelstein-Trilogie #1
Source: ARC from publisher
Challenge: 2011 DAC 
Quick Rating: 5/5

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Sixteen-year-old Gwen lives with her extended - and 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 it comes as a surprise when she starts taking sudden leaps into the past.

She’s totally unprepared for time travel, not to mention all that comes with it: the fancy clothes, a mysterious secret society, and Gideon, who’s obnoxious, a know-it-all, and possibly the best-looking guy she’s seen in any century…

Secret societies, amazingly beautiful clothes, and a very swoon-worthy boy: what more could a girl want from a book?

From the very beginning, Ruby Red dishes out the mystique and intrigue, and has you dying to read more. I had serious problems putting this book down to either sleep or go to work. I am definitely a sucker for time-travel novels, and I really love the unique premise Kerstin Gier created. Time-traveling is limited to only a very few people - women from one ancestry, men from another. They are all connected to a complicated riddle about precious gems and special magical abilities. There is a special chronograph used to control the time and place of time-travel, and it requires the blood of all twelve travelers throughout history to be “complete”. What happens when it is complete is still a mystery, though I think I’m siding with Gwen that it seems a little sinister.

Gwen herself is a delightful main character. She is very much so a normal girl. Her and her best friend are amazingly close, and they do what most girlfriends do. They watch movies and drool over hot guys. I also appreciated the fact that Gwen was not a secretly brilliant student, bubbling over with a wealth of knowledge. In fact, she doesn’t pay attention in history, and she easily forgets important dates. Not the best trait for time-traveling safety. You feel almost as overwhelmed as Gwen in those first moments of uncontrolled travel. Not knowing where you are, totally unprepared to be thrust back into time? Pretty scary. Gwen also has the ability to see and talk to ghosts - she’s particular friends with a young gentleman who used to live at her school. And along with ghosts, she can also see gargoyles. Gargoyles weren’t necessarily explained very well in this one, but I hope we see some sort of development in this area. Having your own cute gargoyles following you around seems absolutely wonderful! (Not to mention she apparently has Hello Kitty pj’s, which totally makes her awesome in my book.)

And the love interest? Serious swoonage! Gideon is cocky and condescending, and is totally used to everyone doing exactly what he says. Gwen totally throws him for a loop when she blatantly disregards his orders, and won’t take his snarky comments standing down. But of course, as irritating as Gwen finds him to be, she can’t help but notice his stunning good looks, and the glimmers of a really sweet, caring nature hidden under the know-it-all, oh-so-serious façade. He definitely has a touch of adventure in his blood, and I think he’ll easily develop into a rebel right along with Gwen.

The secondary cast of characters isn’t too shabby either. Grace, Gwen’s mother, definitely knows something she isn’t telling anyone. Great-aunt Maddy is a hoot, and her visions are oddly creepy. Lesley, the best friend, is probably one of the best girlfriends to ever have, since she believes all the outlandish things Gwen tells her without skipping a beat. There’s something strange about Mr. Whitman, the English teacher. He’s part of the secret society dealing with all the time-traveling, but it hasn’t been revealed in what capacity. Falk de Villiers and Dr. Jacob White of the society definitely give me the creeps, and little Mr. George is just adorable! Count Saint-Germain probably takes the cake as creepster of the novel, with Rakoczy taking a firm second. I also loved seeing some of Gwen’s ancestors, particularly Paul and Lucy. I really believe not everything has been revealed about Gwen’s parentage. There’s a sneaking suspicion she may not be who she thinks she is.

There really were no true flaws with this book, other than the fact that the language took a little while to get used to. However, since this book is originally German, I’m chalking it up to the fact that some things may not translate to English perfectly. However, the characters really feel British, and you end up getting so absorbed in the story, you don’t even notice! Besides that, there was an almost overwhelming amount of characters and names to keep track of, though there is a handy little index in the back of the book.

Truly, I was very, very impressed with Ruby Red. While the ending was a total cliffhanger (and might I add a little frustrating!), nothing was really thoroughly wrapped up. There are still a lot of loose threads, and plenty of mysteries to be solved in the next installments. While I would have liked one or two things figured out for certain at the end, it definitely makes me eager for Sapphire Blue to hurry up and get here!

The Final Word: A wonderful, fast-paced novel that will leave you on the edge of your seat. It has time-travel, secret societies, cute boys, ghosts, and mysteries galore. While nothing is wrapped up or solved at the end, there are still two more books to come, and Ruby Red will definitely make you want them!


Cover Thoughts: I love this cover! The silver foil filigree is stunning, especially with all the little “rubies” all over it. The red and silver just looks so elegant together - I love it!

Tea: Since Gwen is the “ruby” of the chronograph, I chose a lovely Ruby Chai from Numi Organic Teas.


Win an ARC of Ruby Red!

So I happen to have gotten my hands on another ARC edition of Ruby Red, and since I loved it so much, I absolutely have to give it away! 

  • U. S. entries only please! I'd love to do international, but I can't afford the shipping right now.
  • You must be 13 years of age or older to enter.
  • No emails or addresses will be sold or given away to third parties. I will always respect your privacy.
  • Winners will be chosen using
  • The giveaway will run from May 23rd, 2011, to midnight (EST) May 30th, 2011.
  • Following is not required for this giveaway, but it will earn you one extra entry.
  • Reblogging or tweeting is not required, but it will earn you one extra entry as well.
  • I am also not responsible for any packages lost in the mail - anything that does not arrive, or goes missing, I am under no obligation to replace.

Click here to enter!


  1. I think I'm definitely buying a copy of this book. NOW. Haha. I'm so excited to read this one! And the book itself is gorgeous.

  2. I'm a total sucker for time travel too! I've seen lots of good reviews for this one, so definitely need to read ASAP. Thanks for the giveaway!