DUAL REVIEW: Ruby Red and Sapphire Blue (Ruby Red Trilogy #1 and #2) by Kerstin Gier

Title: Ruby Red
Series: Ruby Red Trilogy #1
Author: Kerstin Gier
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Pages: 322, Hardcover
Source: Library, Audiobook

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.

Title: Sapphire Blue
Series: Ruby Red Trilogy #2
Author: Kerstin Gier
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Pages: 362, Hardcover
Source: Library, Audiobook

Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.

At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.

I am combining these reviews because I have pretty much the same thing to say about both books, which is – I liked it but I wanted more.

Ruby Red and Sapphire Blue are the first two books in what I consider a charming series. Gwen is a very likeable MC. She is a bit of an underdog in the sense that the odds are somewhat against her. She hasn’t been raised for time traveling and only just discovered she has the gift when she was literally thrown into the past unexpectedly. Her cousin Charlotte was supposed to be the one to time travel, but now Gwen has to catch up fast because she has a job to do. Needless to say that Gwen is in a bit over her head. And she keeps getting accused of things she might do in the future because she is this wild card all of a sudden. But despite it all, Gwen has such a pleasant demeanor. She is fairly humorous as she fakes it until she makes it.

A time travel story is a fun and entertaining premise. As much of the story takes place in the past as it does in the present. And it’s interesting to see how time weaves together and how events that have already happened, in the same sense, have not yet happened because they might not have traveled back yet (did that make sense?) It’s a bit puzzling but in a good way. The plot itself involving other time travelers, secrets and prophecies, and opposing sides definitely adds suspense but it could have been better. Again, with this theme of wanting more. And as an aside, I really think the whole ghost thing should have stopped with James. A demonic gargoyle as a friend is a little harder for me to accept than a regular ol’ ghost.

But what I am most hung up on is that, when you isolate these two books, not a whole lot happens. This series suffers from the trilogy effect where book one and two are not really that strong alone and mainly serve to set up for a (hopefully) killer third book. The ending to each book was rather anticlimactic in my opinion. It could be just the books I’ve been reading lately but I finished each one thinking “That’s it?” And Sapphire Blue is largely romance focused and doesn’t progress the plot as much as I would have liked. Part of my luke-warm feelings probably have to do with the fact that I didn’t harbor any strong feelings for Gideon or this particular romance. I liked Gideon, I guess, but he could be a bit of a dunce. In general, I don't approve when a romance overshadows the rest of the story (unless I’m reading a romance novel, which this is not).

So that being said, am I glad I read these books? Sure. After all, I thoroughly enjoy time travel stories and this series has a lot of good qualities. And I do plan on reading Emerald Green at some point. (If it comes out on audio, that will happen sooner rather than later). But did either of these books knock my socks off? No, not really. So I’d recommend them for a good, fun, time travel read, but without a whole lot of conviction.


  1. I did enjoy this series, but I agree with you that book by book, not a lot happens. But I love Gwen, she's such a great MC, and these books are a fun read. All three books together equal one book, though. ~Pam

  2. These are time travel books? I'm not usually a fan of them. But maybe I should try em, they sound cute!

  3. I think these books are perfect when you are busy. Just something fun and easy, but nothing too difficult. Although I must say that time-travel always manage to make my head spin :p I like the idea of getting a gift without knowing it.


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