Customer Reviews: Ruby Red (The Ruby Red Trilogy)
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VINE VOICEon November 22, 2013
I really enjoy this entire trilogy and plotline, and you can reference the other reviews for more general information about it.

For those who are parents (like myself), it's good to be aware that the books show slightly more debauchery as you progress through the series, so you'll want to consider the third book before deciding whether it's appropriate for your child. My 9-year-old is an advanced reader and I let her start after I finished book 1, though now I'm wishing I hadn't.

The details for other parents:
* The first book starts relatively mild with some crushing and some kissing, but nothing super extreme
* The second book includes more crushing and more kissing, and a reference during kissing of fingers sliding down toward a neckline. There's also an extended party scene, in which alcohol makes the party very fun for everyone involved. The "fun" angle is mentioned a number of times, and the only drawback that's shown is the (teen) protagonist drunk karaoke singing a song 200 years before it's written which embarrasses her, but it's presented in a way that's more funny and fun than bad. The next morning she's described as lucky not to have a headache. That party scene also mentions someone who gropes women under a pretense of picking a crumb off their shirts, or various things of that nature (he's described as annoying).
* The third book again includes crushing and kissing, and another party scene in which alcohol (for teens) plays a large role, the parents are at the party but also quite drunk themselves, everyone is talking about how fun it is, how this person's parties will never again be described as boring, and calls from the crowd for a striptease. Someone else does the drunk singing this time, and has a subsequent hangover, but in a twisted way that's seen as positive, because the character is one you don't like, so you're sort of happy for their embarrassment. There are also a couple of references to a couple heading off to a bedroom, as a good thing. There's also a story about a father who believed his daughter was pregnant via a demon, and forced her to take drugs that caused her to miscarry (it's not gory or graphic, though the drugs did also cause her to foam at the mouth, but still good for a parent to be aware that the topic comes up)

It's certainly OK for many people and doesn't go anywhere R-rated. But the above may help parents decide whether it's appropriate for their child.
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Ruby Red is the first in a trilogy that was originally released in Germany. It's beautifully written, hilarious at times, and contains the following: time-travel, mistaken identity, and ghosts who don't know they're ghosts and who therefore think that Gwen and her best friend are really very improper. Which they are, but really, that's not the point.

The point is that time travel is possible. People in Gwen's family have been doing it for centuries. Not with a time machine, but with a gene. That means that not everyone can do it. Not everyone has the gene. Gwen doesn't, so other than telling her it's possible, the whole time-travel thing is very hush-hush. On the other hand, Gwen's cousin has the gene, and she's been preparing for her first trip through time for as long as Gwen can remember.

Except...someone made a mistake, and it's Gwen, not her cousin, that begins bouncing through the past.

I found Gwen endearing. She's so sweet and such a typical teenager compared to her stuck-up cousin and relatives, though it was a little aggravating to see her just let others get away with not believing her. Not about the time travel or about the ghosts. I kept wanting to shake the other characters who couldn't be bothered with her and yell at them "JUST LISTEN TO HER! SHE'S TELLING THE TRUTH!"

It's not often that I want to throttle characters on the main character's behalf. That just goes to show how much I liked Gwen.

This was a really cute read, and I can see why it's a hit in its original German.

And oh? That tapping you hear? It's me tapping my foot as I wait for book two to be translated. Because I need it.


Happy Reading!

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VINE VOICEon May 10, 2011
Kerstin Gier's U.S. fictional debut that releases Ruby Red, Book One in the Ruby Trilogy, is sure to be a hit when it is released to the Teen market this coming May. Gier shows a bit of fresh ingénue with her new twist on Time Traveling. Clever, witty, and adventurous ingredients make this new Young Adult novel very intriguing, and certainly a one-sitting page-turner.

16 year old Gwyneth has been raised in a rather odd family, a group of rather overbearing and rigid relatives that are members of a Time Traveling Society that has been around for centuries. Every few generations a new traveler is born, and this chosen soul is trained from birth in the arts of proper costume, etiquette, weapons, music, and history of all the centuries they will travel to while on their missions back into the past. In Gwyn's family, her cousin Charlotte is the last traveler to be born out of the chosen 12, and is about to take her first journey when something shocking occurs. It doesn't happen. She doesn't travel. But Gwyn somehow does, and uncontrollably without training. Unbeknownst to the family, Gwyn's mother secretly lied on her daughter's birth certificate in order to safeguard Gwyn against a life of mystery, time travel and the danger that comes with it. Suddenly the family is outraged at this gross act of manipulation but must accommodate swiftly and bring Gwyneth up to speed quickly as their new spy and time traveler. She is necessary for a long planned plot to outwit some travelers who have their own agenda to sabotage the ultimate mission that will reveal a long lost secret.

Along with her male traveling counterpart, the dashing and handsome Gideon, the two teenagers engage in acts of espionage, private investigation, ancient devices, magic, and for Gwyn, murder! Time travel to London in the early 1900s and further back to the 18th century to meet their ancestors, can prove perilously dangerous yet historically interesting and Gwyneth is a bit confused and acts the typical ditzy 21st century chic until her life is threatened by the evil Count Saint-Germain, and when she is ambushed by roadside highwaymen out for her blood. Acting out of self-defense, Gwyn spears an attacking villain clean through with a sword and soon realizes she is a murderer and this time traveling business is no game.

With costumes right out of Thackeray's Vanity fair, Ruby Red is full of authentically researched history, humor, mystery, magic, and it seems, romance too. As an enthusiast of Time Travel fiction I believe this author has invented a rather clever new concept that mixes an old much used idea with what modern day teenagers enjoy in fantasy reading today. A bit of Science Fiction, a dash of paranormal fantasy, add in some action adventure, sprinkle in some macabre and suspense, top it all off with a dollop of promising romance, and you have ....a hit! Ruby Red is fun, written well, has good characters of both good and bad, and is likely to top the Teen bestseller list soon. There are some interesting surprises along the way, and an ending to keep us wondering what will happen. I eagerly await the next installments of Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green and found Ruby Red to be an enjoyable and entertaining read!
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on July 19, 2011
RECEIVED FROM: Book Whispers Contest


Gwyneth Sheppard is part of the world's oddest family. Her Aunt Maddy gets visions, her cousin Charlotte is training to travel through time and she herself sees ghost. While most of her family thing she and Maddy are a little off their rockers, Charlotte's ailment is perfectly acceptable. That is until they learn that Charlotte isn't the family time traveler at all, Gwen is. When it's discovered the Gwen has the time traveler gene instead, no one is happy about it, not even Gwen, but since she can't give it back to Charlotte she's whisked into a world of secret societies and time traveling missions to collect the blood of their ancestors. If that wasn't bad enough, she has to spend her travels with the obnoxious but gorgeous Gideon who clearly would rather be traveling with Charlotte. The order doesn't trust her, but they need her and Gwen isn't sure who she should trust. Will she figure it out before it's too late?

So my main issue with this book is that like many trilogies and series in the young adult genre being released today it doesn't include a full story arc. The writers depend on the full trilogy to complete the only story arc for the book and therefore release the story in sections. As a reader it drives me up the wall. I like for the books I read to have at least some sort of beginning, middle and end even there has to be more than one story arc going on in the trilogy to give me that.

Additionally the changes in Gideon's character in the short time period over which the story takes place, his quick turnaround about what he thinks of Gwen seems a little unrealistic to me. Since the story takes course over less than a week it's just unlikely that they're be that much of a difference in their opinions about the other one in that short of a time period.

Other than those two things, I absolutely loved this story. I loved Gwen's character and her quirky best friends, her odd family and the interworkings of her school. Each character felt unique and intriguing. The story was fast paced and gripped me as a reader from page one. It was well written with easy to relate to characters and I personally feel it was one of those young adult stories written to appeal to readers of all ages. I mean who wouldn't want to randomly travel through time? You're quickly drawn into Gwen's life and the mysteries of her family and the order.

I know many claim it's predictable, and it may be just a tad, but once you start reading a ton of books almost all books have a slight air of predictability and I don't feel that this book was any more so than the rest available. Writers give us surprise twists and turns, but for the most part you can pick up a book knowing that in the end the hero or heroine will probably conquer all odd, there was never any question in Harry Potter that when all was said and done Harry would win, and when you pick up a romance you know within a chapter or two who is going to fall in love with whom. It's the journey and twists and characters created that make each book original and a surprise to the reader. I don't feel this book is any more predictable than any other on the market and I enjoyed the characters and the journey that I've traveled in its pages so far.

Overall it's a great start to what looks to be an amazing trilogy, though due to the fact that it doesn't have a full story arc I might recommend waiting until the entire trilogy is published before purchasing the books so you don't have to wait a year between sections of the story. Despite that Ruby Red is not a book to be missed in the young adult genre and I'm anxiously awaiting when it comes out is Spring 2012. Now do you understand why I said you might want to wait and buy them all at once?
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on March 31, 2012
Probably would rate this closer to 3.5 stars.

I'm very happy that this time travel book did not give me visions of unspeakable paradoxes, nor did it make my head hurt. This isn't a usual occurence for me.

The pacing was fairly quick, although it still seemed to take a long time to get anywhere. For the most part I liked the side characters, especially Lucy and Paul, and I hope they get fleshed out more. I thought that the main character, Gwyneth, was pretty realistic (almost annoyingly so), but her reactions felt natural. It was an easy book to get into and finish.

However, I felt like it ended just as it was starting to get good. I realize it's a trilogy, but I think I wanted a bit more oomph in the action or the conspiracies. The romance angle felt off to me, to the point where I almost hope in the next book we find out it was a lie. Gwyneth did annoy me a bit in places, but I think that is more the adult in me talking, so younger readers will likely not have the same issue. I also thought the male lead was too 1-dimensional. I hope he gets rounded out a lot more in the next book.

And when I get down to it, yes, I will read the next one, but I'm not waiting on the edge of my seat to get it.
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on June 11, 2011
When I saw the trailer for this book I was hooked. The main character, Gwen, had such a strong voice and brought up things I'd never thought about when it came to time travel. She was funny and charismatic. Now I know this was the voice in the trailer, but it still begged for my attention. As soon as I got it, I dove in!

A summary-Gwen lives in her maternal grandmother's home with her mother, brother and little sister. They live in the shadow of Gwen's cousin, Charlotte who was born with "the gene"-the one for time travel. Right away you know this is a different kind of time travel novel. The character knows she can time travel. In fact, the whole family knows about it. Everyone is waiting on tenterhooks for Charlotte to experience her first travel back in time. She has some dizziness and nausea, so she's rushed to a secret headquarters for the time travelers called The Temple. Charlotte has been trained, groomed for time travel since she could talk. Schooled in fencing, history, fashion, politics, manners etc Charlotte is fully prepared for time travel with her handsome partner, Gideon de Villiers.

Lesley, Gwen's best friend, is the only one that knows about the time travel, outside of the family. They snicker and roll their eyes at the haughty, perfect self-important Charlotte behind her back. So when it's Gwen that makes an unexpected trip back in time, Lesley is the person she confides in first. Eventually, when Gwen disappears in front of Lesley's eyes, she makes Gwen tell her mother and they go to the Temple. Her mother is reluctant, her mother's sister, Charlotte's mother, is furious, claiming she is just trying to get attention and steal Charlotte's thunder. But, when it's proved that Gwen is the time traveller, she meets Gideon de Villiers, her time traveling partner and gets a crash course in time travel.

That's a lot of the story-more than I should reveal-to get you hooked. Charlotte is a self important over indulged child. She's only a very slight character, but those are the impressions you get. Her mother, Aunt Glenda, is very much the same, treated with importance and a lot of attention by her mother, Lady Arista all because she had the child with the traveling gene. Then there is Great Aunt Maddy, Lady Arista's spinster sister-in-law. She treats Gwen's family the same as Charlotte's, thinks all the secrecy is ridiculous and is a little bit doddering. Lesley, the best friend is a great character. She is loyal, caring, researches every word Gwen says to try to figure things out. She compiles a file of information of people and places that seem to be important for Gwen to know about. I want a best friend like her.

But the two main characters are Gwen and Gideon. Gwen is smart enough, but better than that, she's clever. She can figure herself out of situations and she doesn't let Gideon, the so called teacher, tell her what to do. She can also see and talk to ghosts, something no one seems to believe. She listens to her instincts instead of others. She looks nothing like the rest of the family who have red curly hair. Hers is dark and straight and she has blue eyes and a crescent shaped birthmark on her forehead. She doesn't suffer from thinking she's ugly,but doesn't think she's quite as pretty as Charlotte. She's not quite as much as anything as Charlotte when she's spent her whole life believing the opposite. She's not really jealous though. Except for her dad dying when she was young, she's had a normal, carefree childhood as opposed to a lifetime of lessons like Charlotte. She knows her immediate family loves her and she has a confident best friend. She's also one of the strongest female protagonists I've seen yet in YA fiction.

Then there's Gideon. The first time he meets Gwen he calls her "Winnie". Then Gwen overhears Charlotte disparaging her saying her strong points are giggling with Lesley and sending text messages. Gideon's response is "I thought as much when I first saw her today." Not winning any points with Gwen or me at this point. Gwen thinks he and Charlotte are in love. When Gwen fails Gideon's 'history test' he tells her to do what he says and say what he tells her to say and nothing else when they travel. Other things he says, "She's definitely not my type," doesn't win him any points. He constantly assures her and himself and Charlotte that he's not interested in her. Still, Gwen can't help but notice how handsome he is in his period clothes and thinks he's handsome. But she keeps her head about her.

The bigger issue is the mystery. Who to believe? Who to trust? Is St. Germain, who left Gwen very wary to be trusted? What about Lucy and Paul? Can she trust herself? Has she traveled back in the past to warn herself or others of something? Can she trust Gideon? Does he have an agenda? And the Temple?
There is a little snippet of the next book, Sapphire Blue already published in German in the back of Ruby Red. It looks very promising. I want to get a certain Bookworm to translate it for me. I don't think she does that though.

So, what do you think? Are you as excited as me? Have you read it yet? Are dropping your mouse and running out to buy it? I know I'm gushing again. I'm not saying genius or anything, but it might take one to put the puzzle together. It's a great story and you just don't want to miss it!
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on November 17, 2012
This is one of the most unique books to be published in a while. The storyline of the circle of 12 and time travel is original and highly entertaining. The main female lead, Gwyneth Shepherd, is a young girl who has always been overshadowed by her perfect "special" cousin Charlotte Montrose. Then in a twist of events Gwen turns out to be the one born with the time travel gene and has to play catch up on learning what no one whats to teach her. Her best friend, Lesley Hay, is the only real support she has in trying to figure out what secrets the guardians are keeping. She is the Ruby and will play a major part in completing the circle to revel a "secret."

The male lead is Gideon de Villiers. He is the diamond and has been trained his entire life (with Charlotte) to travel back in time. He comes off as an arrogant know it all but since he is hot Gwen overlooks his flaws.

Everyone treats her like a stupid girl who only cares about celebrity lists and boys. She wants to be treated serious but she acts like a idiot half the time! This makes it hard to like her, but just keep in mind that she is only 16. In my opinion she asks the wrong questions and ignores some pretty simple facts. She is told she has the magic of the raven and is major G(?). She never asks what the musical note is about and has no clue what the magic of the raven could be. SHE CAN TALK TO GHOSTS! The raven is a pretty standard literary reference to the dead. She never puts two and two together.

I would recommend this book for its interesting storyline, despite the frustrating main character. Hopefully she will grow up and grow a brain in the next book.
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on August 9, 2011
Gwyneth always knew her family was holding onto generations worth of secrets but she never imagined she'd get a first-hand glimpse at them. It's her beautiful cousin Charlotte who has been prepped to become the next time traveller in the Shepherd family but instead it's Gwen who is suddenly disappearing from school into the 18th century without a clue of what to do. Enter the Guardians and her fellow time-traveler Gideon de Villiers (with eyes to die for ladies) who whisk Gwen off to a life of fabulous period dresses and mortal danger lurking in nearly every year she visits.

I really have no idea how a book in which so little happens could be so much fun. It must be the effortless inquisitiveness of Gwyneth and her best friend Leslie as they attempt to unravel the many, many mysteries of the new life Gwen has been throw into. Despite Gwen being completely unsure of her new role in all this time-travel business, she's not all 'boo hoo! poor me!' - she's actually excited to wear the clothes, see the sights, and get the answers to her questions! I just love me a proactive heroine. Plus Gwen and Leslie's friendship is plain awesome. Leslie is never jealous of Gwen's new 'talent,' frankly she's her biggest fan. And in turn Gwen doesn't forget about Leslie amidst all the drama of her new life. Leslie is still the first person to hear all about her crazy experiences. So very, very refreshing for a YA novel.

If that weren't enough, Ruby Red also offers up a centuries-old secret society (insert misogynist tendencies which I'm sure Gwen will only be too happy to break down), a fantastic Evil Mastermind who gives me the shivers, SECRETS, and the possibility of true love. That's a winning forumla right there, my friends. It's no wonder Kerstin Gier's Ruby Red is German bestseller, the plot is twisty and imaginative with plenty of intrigue and the characters clever and entertaining. And I want the sequel, Sapphire Blue, yesterday. Perhaps I could borrow Gwen's chronograph and the get the translation a bit earlier. I think in this case, she'd make an exception for me.
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I kind of expected this to seem more like a MG book, just from its packaging. But its definitely YA, through and through! I really enjoyed the story overall. I seem to have been on a time travel reading kick lately, so I was comparing this to Hourglass by Myra McEntire and Tempest by Julie Cross. While it didn't live up to either one of those, Ruby Red was unique with its own flavor.

I did love the characters. They were all about "off"--stuffy, idiosyncratic rich people who seemed a little disconnected from reality! Gwyneth and her best friend are the only two characters who seem to be normal. Although Gwyneth can see dead people, and has conversations with them regularly!

I really did not like Gideon at first. He is really into Charlotte, and he's really snobby to Gwyneth. But by the end of the story, the rules seem to have changed. Gwyneth and Gideon really need each other, and when Gideon realizes this, his attitude changes pretty quick!

My biggest complaint is definitely how it ends. This is one of those trilogies where it will be better to read them all at once. This book felt a little bit short, and cut off. I loved the historical aspects, the setting (London!), and the cult like society that reminded me a lot of the Freemasons. If you are looking for a fun, historical time travel story, this one is it!
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on October 13, 2015
Here I am again falling in love with a book that I wouldn't normally read. Ruby Red I have yet to read a book with this particular subject. Time traveling isn't something I've ever considered but I love how this author Kerstin Gier created a believable tale. I absolutely loved this book and series. Gwyneth Shepard is your typical teenager and she keeps you rolling throughout this book. I laughed out loud numerous times and it compelled me to share passages with those around willing to listen. The hubs had to listen to me describe each passage and we actually discussed the intricate sections where mystery was unfolding. This book isn't just a young adult book, it actually makes you think about how the story is put together and which character has an impact on the past and present...or is that the future? I highly recommend this book to YA readers and teenagers looking for some entertainment!!
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