Series: Precious Stone #1
Author: Kerstin Gier
Publisher: Henry Holt
Publication Year: 2011
Translator: Anthea Bell
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.
Gwyneth Shepherd is just an average high school girl, but her family isn’t. A time-traveling gene runs in her family. It is believed that her cousin, Charlotte, inherits the gene, because a prophecy told them so. So Charlotte takes extensive lessons including fencing, foreign languages, etiquette, and history to prepare her for time travelling. When the time comes for the gene carrier to show the ability, it turns out that Gwyneth is the one who inherits the gene. It’s not that the prophecy is wrong, but it’s because Gwyneth’s mother falsify Gwyneth’s personal information, more specifically her birth date. Unlike Charlotte, Gwyneth hasn’t been prepared for any time travel activities. Moreover, she discovers that her family is actually a part of The Guardians, a secret society that’s been protecting time traveller for over hundred years. As one of the twelve chosen people who has the time travelling gene, Gwyneth’s life becomes more complicated.
Ruby Red is probably the first time travelling book that I’ve ever read so far. Time travelling in this book is also different from what I used to because they don’t use a machine, but it’s encoded in a person’s DNA, or so they believed. The closest to this time travel idea that I can think of is Hiro Nakamura from Heroes. Even Hiro can control his time travel ability, while Gwyneth can’t. So this time travelling concept is new to me.
Plot-wise, Ruby Red rather has a simple one. Basically, Gwyneth finds out that she has the ability to time travel and discovering the existence of a secret society. There’s no unexpected turn or a surprising plot twist. Since Ruby Red is the first book of a series, I understand that the author wants to focus more on building the world and introducing her time travelling concept. I expect more on the next books, though.
On the character side, Gwyneth is a 16 year old girl. I think it’s to be expected that she would have immature and childish voice. So far, I’m okay with her. She reacted the way I believe a teenager would react to this time travelling business. Besides, she’s already known about it. It’s just that she didn’t expect that it would happen to her. She’s a funny and easy-going girl too, which makes her fun to read.
Although I enjoyed reading this book, I have a little bit of a problem with the romance in this book. Gideon is a guy who inherits the time travelling gene from the De Villiers family side. He has all the characteristics of your male protagonist that would make the female protagonist swoon. But his attitude is so annoying. Instead of swooning, I’d rather slap him. At first he acts like he’s the mightiest, hundred pages after he suddenly kissed Gwyneth. I don’t like that.
All in all, I like this book. I’m intrigued by the time travelling concept in this book. I think it’s refreshing. The narrative is enjoyable and entertaining. Some will find it a bit immature, but it depends on your taste and preference. As for me, I will continue on to the next book, Sapphire Blue. I hope it won’t disappoint me.