Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ruby Red

I'm guessing time travel is the new vampire or zombie, because there is a whole spat of new time-defying stories sitting on my bedside table. Case in point: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier.

Originally published in German, Gier's story (the first in a trilogy)follows teen Gwen, who lives in the attic of her grandmother's posh London home. Her cousin Charlotte, just one day younger, has been trained all her life for time travel, having been born on the prophesied day. While the whole family waits eagerly for Charlotte to make her "initiation journey," Gwen finds herself slipping out of time - clearly the prophesy got something wrong. The Guardians, the secret society build around this time traveling gene, look down upon Gwen even as they take her under their care, and she follows fellow traveler Gideon as he tried to orient her to the business of time travel (and search for the missing chronograph along the way).

The story is compelling and enjoyable, but I'm not scratching at the walls as I wait for the next one to come out. Some of the characters are much more vivid than others, and unfortunately the narrator Gwen is not one of them. That didn't keep me from wanting to know more about the story, though. The whole deal with the prophesy (there are twelve travelers, each with an assigned precious stone and musical note) makes things more complicated than they need to be, but hopefully more of that will be explained in the following books. I do, however, really like the concept of a gene for time travel that gets passed along through the family lines.

I've read a few translated books lately, and one thing I can say about Ruby Red is that it didn't sound translated. Translator Anthea Bell did a wonderful job keeping the language flowing, very important for a book aimed at teens.

3/5 stars

No comments: