It was a year and a half ago and I was trolling through the Nook bookstore on my device. I’d finished reading a YA book that I can’t even remember the title of now. I stumbled across a book called “Ruby Red.” I read the synopsis, which indicated two things which intrigued me.
First, the book was translated from German.
Second, the book was about time travel. (Just a side note here. I’m obsessed with anything related to time travel. If it has someone moving backwards or forwards in time, I’m game.)
Sold. I bought the book, which was only $8.99 and figured I’d give it a whirl.
Within the first two chapters I was hooked by the mythology and world created in Gier’s book. Even though the original book was written in German, the setting for her story is London in the year 2011.
Quick synopsis: Gwyneth Shepherd ‘s family is special. Certain females in the family can travel in time. Due to her birth order and date, the family has been preparing Gwen’s cousin Charlotte to be the final traveler—the Ruby—in a long line of travelers. Then one day, Gwen travels backwards instead. Not only is the family thrown into chaos, because perfect well-trained Charlotte is not going to be the Ruby, but so is the venerable secret society that has been protecting the secret of time travel and the travelers for centuries.
What follows is Gwen’s journey in understanding what traveling will mean for her and some secret destiny she’s to fulfill, what is really behind the secret society started by the shadowy Count Saint-Germain and some of her own family’s secrets.
Along the way she is forced to work with her male time travel counterpart, Gideon de Villiers, who comes from the male line. He is good looking, well-educated, and well-trained in the customs of many eras. He and Gwen also have a tough time learning to work with each other, let alone trust one another.
When I finished “Ruby Red” I went straight back to the Nook store and looked for the second book “Sapphire Blue” only to find it hadn’t been translated to English yet. I didn’t relish the thought of reading with a German-English dictionary next to me, so I had to wait. And wait.
It was finally released in the US. I read it quickly, as it continues from the second the first book ended. Then I waited for the third, and final, book to publish, “Emerald Green.”
In the end, the three books only span about two weeks and take you on a fun ride across time. Now, there are moments when you have to stop and think through the way time works in Gier’s world. There are also times, as with any time travel story, where you have to just go with it.
Along with the fun ride and great mythology about how these people are able to travel, and the rules, Gier introduced me to some very memorable characters: from Gwen’s brother and sister to Lesley, her best friend, to great-aunt Maddy (who is a bit crazy), to James Augustus Peregrine Pympole-Botham, the ghost who haunts her school. They are all wonderful and quirky. They add richness to the story, which is already beautifully plotted.
She also sustained a tension through all three books that impressed me. Clues were placed wisely to allow me bits and pieces, but kept me guessing about the secrets and what Count Saint-Germain’s goals really were.
This YA series delivered on inventiveness, originality, quirk and enjoyment. I will be reading the whole trilogy again soon. Only this time I won’t have to wait months between them.
In preparing this review, I’ve discovered there is a German film based on the first book. It has been dubbed into English, so I know what I’ll be doing this weekend.