“In fact I’d underestimated this whole strange story that I’d fallen into.”
Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!
Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon–the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.
Ruby Red is the first book of Edelstein Trilogie written in German by Kerstin Gier. Since I don’t read German I have to settle with the English translation by Anthea Bell. In a nutshell, the story is about Gwyneth, a teenager who suddenly discovers that she inherited a time-travelling gene of their family instead of her cousin, Charlotte. Because of her mom’s undoing, she isn’t prepared to carry the task that is set to time travelers like her. And with that she is forced to learn the history and mysteries of her family and the secret society they where in.
Gwyneth Shepherd is an easy going and quirky teenager who not only possess a time-travelling gene but also has the ability to see & hear ghost. She is the final addition to a circle of twelve chosen time travelers, which supposedly makes her a little special. But before that, Gwyneth is just an ordinary teenager living her simple life contentedly. As a narrator her voice is a bit immature for my taste which makes the first hundred pages of the book a bit slow to read. It took a little while for me to finally settle with her narration and just focus to the interesting premise of time travelling, secret society and family mysteries.
Gideon de Villiers, the love interest of Gwyneth is supposed to be charmingly irritating, but for me he is less charming that he is supposed to be. He maybe good-looking and mysterious which normally falls to my swoon worthy category but for some reason I don’t fall for him. Well, at least not in this first book. His arrogant and intriguing side doesn’t make me keen in knowing him at the very least. Even if I justify his arrogance being the only time traveler of the present generation, I can’t justify his mood swings to Gwyneth. Which makes me doubt more his motives and alliance.
It is clear that Gideon is more concern in doing his work as a time traveler and obeying what the organization asked him to do. But being one of the time travelers, it is also possible that he is working with an inner agenda. The story is told in Gwyneth’s point of view, which means we don’t know much about what really Gideon’s knows about the circle of twelve. What if he already knows what will happen when the circle of twelve finally close? Even if he is brainwashed by the secret society as what Lucy and Paul claimed, I still can’t disregard the possibility that maybe Gideon acted on his own. After-all he seems a bright young man, so it is possible that despite of what the circle plant in his head about the circle of twelve, he also managed to be curious and try to find his way inside the mystery. And by that he knows more about the secret and possibly using his ability to time travel to navigate the outcome of the future events. Well, I’m giving him too much credit with those possibilities but it is still possible. Another possibility is, he was instructed to act a certain part that will possibly push Gwyneth to do something that the secret society wants in order to close the circle or fulfill the prophecy.
Lucy Montrose and Paul de Villiers are another two interesting characters. I find them as the Romeo and Juliet of their generation who happened to carry the time traveler genes of their families. They hold some of the mysteries of the stories when they stolen one of the two chronograph from the past. It seems that they know something about the Count and the real purpose of closing the circle of twelve. Also, these two seems more related to Gwyneth than what everyone knows. Based from the hints given in the prologue and epilogue you will know that Lucy isn’t really Gwyneth’s cousin, which in return adds more twist and turns to what looks like a massive plot of the whole series.
My only issue with this book is that, it feels so much more like an introduction to the series. It doesn’t have its own plot arc, no climax nor resolution but only building mysteries surrounded in what looks like a massive plot. Nothing really substantial happened between each time travel to the past years. Besides from dressing up accordingly to the time and place, meeting other time traveler from the past and other potential characters, nothing much is revealed. It is just pure story build up without any resolution in the end. And as much as I like all the intrigues and mysteries, it is also frustrating to always stepping into the blind spot. It feels like this book is just a complete tease.
Overall, Ruby Red is a quick thrilling adventure full of intrigue, mysteries and interesting premise. Though there are lots of unresolved details and hanging questions left unanswered, it is still an entertaining read. The family mysteries, secret organization and their secrets are quite enough to keep your interest on hold and keep your hands rolling the pages till the end.