Friday, December 6, 2013

Review: Sapphire Blue (Ruby Red #2) by Kerstin Gier

Release date: October 30, 2012
Author info: Website | Facebook
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 362
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
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.
So it's pretty much official: I love this series! Sure it's not perfect, but I find myself getting completely engrossed in the story the moment I sit down to read and I constantly laugh out loud at things Gwen says. It's got a fascinating mythology and a plot that just keeps going. What's not to love?

Sapphire Blue picks right where Ruby Red left off, leaving you with a sense that the last book almost never stopped--which I actually liked. It gives the story continuity in the extreme, though it does make the books seem less individual and more of one large book just broken up into more manageable pieces. (Honestly I read these so quickly, I could handle one big book!) But we see Gwen getting more of a handle on the time-traveling thing, even as she's pushed into situations and places where she is out of her element. Who could blame her for getting more than a little tipsy on punch at a soiree given the circumstances?

Gwen is just one of those characters that I instantly took to. She's just your average teenager thrust into this world where every single person is looking down on her for some reason, and she has to deal with that and somehow show them that she is worthy of being "the Ruby". It's a hard battle but it she's working her way there, though not without fumbles and most definitely not without wit and snark. As Gideon says at one point, I never know what she's going to say.

Gideon poses my only problem. I don't feel like we know him very well at all. He's this confusing mix of good-lookingness, sudden coldness, and surprising warmth that I just can't get a handle on, and it doesn't seem Gwen can either--which is probably the only reason it doesn't bother me more. You would think with two books under my belt I'd have some kind of grasp on the guy, but no. Most everything he does takes me by surprise--and not in the way Gwen's statements do--but I'm hoping that he'll dig himself out of his self-made hole and become a more clear character in the last book.

Honestly y'all, I am so surprised when I remember that this is a work in translation. It speaks volumes of how good the writing probably is in its original German and of the skill of Anthea Bell, the translator. There were a couple of turns of phrases that didn't translate well, but all in all, it just doesn't read like a translation at all.

I love nothing more than getting absorbed into the world of a book, where I forget all about what's going on with my life and instead lose myself in the world, life, and problems of a character, and that's just what these books do for me. They're fast-paced, wholly interesting, and rife with memorable characters who you just want to be friends with (I'm looking at you Lesley!) I've got my copy of Emerald Green ready and waiting and I can't wait to conclude Gwyneth's story!

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