Saturday, April 19, 2014

Review: "Ruby Red" by Kerstin Gier

Title: Ruby Red
Series: Ruby Red Trilogy #1
Author: Kerstin Gier
Publisher: Square Fish
Year: 2012

"Although I had never seen him before, I recognized him immediately. I'd have known his voice anywhere. This was the guy I'd seen on my last journey back in time.

Or more precisely, the one who'd kissed my doppelganger while I was hiding behind the curtain in disbelief.

Sixteen-year-old Gwen lives with her extended - and rather 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 she hasn't been introduced to "the mysteries," and can spend her time hanging out with her best friend, Lesly. It comes as an unwelcome surprise when she starts taking sudden, uncontrolled leaps into the past.

She's totally unprepared for time travel, not to mention all that comes with it: fancy clothes, archaic manners, a mysterious secret society, and Gideon, her time-traveling counterpart. He's obnoxious, a know-it-all, and possibly the best-looking guy she's seen in any century . . ."

To hell with this! It is things like this that are wrong with the publishing process today.
Separate novels are extremely rare because it is more profitable to pump out series with way too many installments. Sure, it is great to have more reading goodness but too often it is quantity rather than quality. 

This book takes this to new heights. Move over Mt Everest, we have a new kid in town. 

Okay, let me explain what has made me rage like this. 

The story of “Ruby Red” was an interesting concept that I really liked. Time travel, some romance, pretty Victorian dresses. My cup of tea. The writing style was quite nice, whimsical and really easy to read. And the events that occurred were quite interesting, if a little heavy on the prophesy cliché.
The first trouble I had, was the fact that the prologue gave away something that I am guessing is going to be a huge revelation later on. It could not have been more obvious if it held a neon sign over its head and did the watch-me dance. 

Other than that, I had a day and a half worth of a fun read. I never noticed how fast the pages were flying. I enjoyed the build-up to the idea that she was the time-traveler instead of her cousin. Quirky and funny. The first times she traveled through time were interesting as well. More than half the way through the book there was the first action scene. A few pages later was the next one. And theeeeeen. BAM! The book is over. What the fluffy fuck? It is like finishing the first Harry Potter book, after the troll gets in on Halloween. 

This book was very much not worth the full price. It was barely half a book! This is not giving you a little taste and leaving you wanting more. This putting a hand in your pocket and taking money out of it without having the courtesy of even being slightly subtle about it. I would like to know what happens in this book (I refuse to call it a series), but I will not buy the next book. This is giving a middle finger to your readers and I for once will not go with it. It feels like buying a video game, only finding out that in order to complete the game you have to buy 10 extra downloadable contents, 20 bucks each. 

As you can see, Hulk mad. 

*angry breathing*

Okay. Oh yeah, I forgot one thing. One thing that I thought was going to be well done in this book. The romance part. I liked that they were taking it slow at first. If you play on the “first hate then love” angle, then you cannot run into it the first chance you get. And it didn’t, it was very nicely done until the ending. He thought she was a silly piece of work the whole book and suddenly “she was always going to be special to him, magic or not”. Blow me. Really. I haven’t seen a gloss-over this bad since forever. 

Now that I have finished ranting about the story, let me give you something about the characters, which were a tad better.

Our lead is Gwen. I liked her well enough. She did not take everything in a stride, but gave her best. She was fairly funny, if a little bland. I did think that it was a little odd how she just let grown-ups like her mother and the people in the secret society just cart her around without having an opinion. Huh, on second thought, she might not have been as fun as she sounded.
Lesley was Gwen’s best friend. She was research gal. Sounded like a real and true friend. She believed Gwen in places others would have suggested the psychiatric ward and managed to never seem jealous of her friends fortune.
There was one character I would have liked to hear so much more about. Charlotte. The girl who should have been the time-traveler but wasn’t. She spent her whole life training for this but she ended up not being the special prophecy girl. Now this is the angle that would have been an interesting read. Maybe we will get a novella. Something else to buy.
All of my opinions about Gideon were summarized in his sudden change of heart in the second last page of the book. Enough said. 

All in all: Nice writing style. Alright(ish) characters. Good enough of an idea. A really nice cover. All of it ruined by greed. Make a font a little smaller and the borders a little wider and please, gives us an actual story not a 300-page prologue to the story. If you have money to spare and you are willing to buy all three at once, then sure, go ahead and buy them. But there are better things and books to spend your money on.
 This review (rant) has been brought to you by your Book Mistress for the day.

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