Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Review - Ruby Red (Edelstein trilogy, Book 1) by Kerstin Gier (4/5 stars)

Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Size: 336 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co
Release Date: May 10, 2011
ISBN: 978-0805092528
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Edelstein Trilogy
Source: Gift
Rating: 4/5 stars

This is the first book in the Edelstein trilogy. This novel was translated from the German novel. The second book in the series, Sapphire Blue is due to release the end of October 2012. The third book, Emerald Green, will follow. This was a creative and interesting book with a complex background.

Gwen’s cousin Charlotte has been groomed from birth to deal with her time-traveling gene and her induction into the secret society of The Guardians. Things go very wrong when Gwen ends up being the one with the unpredictable time traveling gene. Now Gwen must figure out why her mother lied about her birth date to protect her from all the training. She must also accompany her male counterpart, Gideon, on adventures to acquire other the blood of other Guardians in order to fullfill some secret goal.

This is an interesting idea and a fun one. You have time travel, mystery, science fiction, history, and even a little steampunk sensibility all blended together to create a fun story. This book just mainly sets up the story and it is a kind of complicated story given all the characters involved and all the strange implications of time travel. This setup is necessary for the story, but is a bit disappointing because the story is really just starting to ramp up when the book ends.

Gwen is a great character and is put into a really interesting (and challenging) situation. She is supposed to make up for a lifetime of time-traveling preparation in a day or two. She is kind of scared and anxious about the whole thing initially but solidiers through everything with an admirable attitude.

Gideon is an interesting character, he is standoffish and snobbish at first but as you get to know him better you see there is a lot more to hem. I will say that he has a change of heart regarding his opinion of Gwen toward the end of the book that absolutely gave me whiplash...that part could have been done better.

The concept of time travel as a genetic defect is fascinating. Gwen has no choice about time traveling, she has to do it to survive. She can choose to periodically do it in a controlled manner or in a completely random manner. This is a creative and intriguing idea and throws some crazy situations at the reader.

The concept of the Guardians and their Jewels is a bit confusing as is the mysterious thing they are after. We learn some but not much about this in the novel. Hopefully future books in the series will clarify this.

On an absolutely random note Gier is really into her clothing. The descriptions of Gwen’s clothing are very detailed and, at times, a bit lengthy. This can be interesting considering all the different eras Gwen has to have accurate clothing for, but it is also a bit excessive.

The writing style is decent, not the best I’ve read, but still easy enough to read. The ending is abrupt, as I said earlier the story is just starting to really gear up when the book ends.

Overall a fun and interesting read. The characters were decent and the idea of time travel as a genetic defect is fascinating. The Guardian Society and their purpose isn’t well defined, but hopefully will be expanded on in future books. This book spends a lot of time building the world and setting the scene; the book ends just as things really start moving. This is a fun read and I would recommend for fans of time travel books or fans of paranormal fantasy that are ready for something a bit different. There is also a steampunk feel to the story at points as well.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge
- TBR Pile Reading Challenge

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