Gwyneth is an average London teen, well except for the fact that she can see and communicate with ghosts and gargoyles. Oh yeah, and she also comes from a family that passes down a time travel gene to select family members. Gwyneth’s cousin Charlotte is the “lucky” family member who is predicted to be the carrier of the gene and who has been groomed for the gig her whole life. As the family readies for Charlotte’s first trip to the past, Gwyneth finds herself slipping back in time instead. Unprepared for what to expect and how to react, Gwyneth has to figure out how this whole time travel thing works and how to break the news to her family. Later teamed up with her handsome time-traveling partner, Gideon de Villiers, she begins to learn about and also question the mysterious circle of travelers that she completes as the twelfth member.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Ruby Red. Before reading, it crossed my mind that I wasn’t that into time travel as a concept and that maybe this wouldn’t be the books for me. Like Gwyneth, when people ask what time period I would want to go back to, I have no answer aside from “no thanks”. But then I remembered that one of my absolute favorite books features time travel (Kindred by Octavia Butler) and I am pretty sure I was in the minority of folks who were excited when the Lost cast started hopping around through time. Anyway, I went into Ruby Red ready for anything and what I found was a fun, mysterious story with a bit of adventure and enjoyable, witty narration and dialogue.
Gwen is an outstanding protagonist and narrator. She’s both ordinary and extraordinary. And while she’s not an honors student, she’s very clever when it comes to navigating time travel – the places it takes her and the people she meets. She’s also a fun, friendly character and I appreciate that she keeps no secrets from her best friend Lesley but instead welcomes her friend’s research and enthusiasm and even tries to bring back souvenirs for her. In terms of romance, the Gwen-Gideon pairing didn’t win me over thus far, even though I think both individuals are sweet. I am curious, however, to see how the conflict within the Circle of Twelve plays out in their relationship. I also wonder who we will or won’t see again in the rest of the trilogy. Will Gwen’s relationship with Lesley suffer? Will we hear from Charlotte and her spiteful mother again? And how will Gwen’s power of communicating with ghosts come into play?
Ruby Red definitely reads like a first book in a series. Gier spends a large portion of the book setting up the conflict, but I can’t complain, because I enjoyed every minute of it. I am looking forward to the next book in the trilogy, Sapphire Blue, which I hear is set for release next Spring.