Bookit Review: Ruby Red (Ruby Red Trilogy #1) by Kerstin Gier translated by Anthea Bell

Yay! My guest blogger, BookIt returns with a review of Ruby Red. Enjoy!

Ruby Red is the first book of a popular German trilogy that has been recently translated and getting great reviews. The first two books Ruby Red, and Sapphire Blue are available in English, and the last book Emerald Green will hopefully be released in English later this year.

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From Goodreads:

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 comes from a family of time travellers, in which the time traveller gene is passed down each generation to one female. They are then burdened with the mysterious responsibility of helping to complete a secret mission under the guidance and control of a secret society known as the Guardians. Right from the beginning you can tell that it will be the inexperienced and funny 16 year old Gywenth, and not her perfect and snotty cousin Charlotte that will end up with the gene. Although, predicable for the reader, it leads to a fantastic storyline in which you can’t help but root for the heroine as she learns the ropes of this new and exciting world in which she has been destined to play a crucial role.

I loved so many things book. Set in Britain, the British translator Anthea Bell, did a fantastic job of ensuring that the humor and language was authentic to the storyline. I even wondered if she helped to improve the original text.  Check out this link from Publisher Weekly in which she answers questions about translating metaphors, puns, jokes etc.

Overall,  if you are looking for an exciting time travel adventure with a splash of romance that will make you laugh you should pick up Ruby Red. I will say that it is light, sparse of agonising drama, with more of an end of middle school feel and thus could be recommended for the younger readers of teen fiction.

Overall it was a 4 out of 5 book for me.

Happy reading,

Bookit

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Review: Infinity Ring- Book 1: A Mutiny in Time by James Dashner

Goodreads: Scholastic’s next multi-platform mega-event begins here! History is broken, and three kids must travel back in time to set it right!

When best friends Dak Smyth and Sera Froste stumble upon the secret of time travel — a hand-held device known as the Infinity Ring — they’re swept up in a centuries-long secret war for the fate of mankind. Recruited by the Hystorians, a secret society that dates back to Aristotle, the kids learn that history has gone disastrously off course.Now it’s up to Dak, Sera, and teenage Hystorian-in-training Riq to travel back in time to fix the Great Breaks . . . and to save Dak’s missing parents while they’re at it. First stop: Spain, 1492, where a sailor named Christopher Columbus is about to be thrown overboard in a deadly mutiny!

Historical fiction for the middle school crowd usually isn’t my thing, but there has been so much buzz about this new series that I was excited to receive it as an advanced reading copy from Scholastic.  As the first book in the multi-author collaboration, it served to lay the background story, introducing the characters and explaining the alternate universe and the importance of the infinity ring.  Some explanations and theories were hard to wrap my head around, but I found Sera’s explanation of the breaks the useful.  She explains, ‘Breaks are great big boulders that have been plopped into the time stream. The stream keeps flowing but it has to veer a little bit from it’s natural course’.  As Sera, Dak and Riq attempt to fix these breaks, readers are treated to tons of humour, adventure and action (including multiple explosions!)

Overall, I think middle graders, reluctant readers, boys and girls, and fans of The 39 Clues would LOVE this book.  Don’t forget to extend the reading experience with the online component- http://www.infinityring.com  I tried it out- tons of fun!  ‘A Mutiny in Time’ is available TOMORROW-August 28th 2012. To hold the reader’s interest, the remaining six will be spaced out and released shortly after one another.  Big thumbs up!

Book Review: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Summary from Goodreads:

One hour to rewrite the past . . .
 
For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?
 
Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.

 

Now for my review:

Myra McEntire’s Hourglass caught my attention largely due to the intriguing cover.  After reading the storyline blurb that promised a mix of paranormal and science fiction, I plucked the novel off the library shelf.

It took me a week to read the book–a very long week to get through the almost 400 pages of sexy lips and abs descriptions.  Gah! I think McEntire was channelling Twilight’s Bella when creating the character of Emerson.  She was described as ‘tough’ by being independent, and having martial arts skills, but she quickly turned into a boy obsessed stereotypical teen.   Also, Michael and Emerson’s ‘romance’ was never really described–just that they had‘electricity’ between them and a love at first sight moment.  Psh. I didn’t buy it, and I never felt like their love was truly believable.  There was also a lame attempt at a love triangle between Michael, Emerson, and Kaleb that fell flat.

So where was all the real action with the time travel storyline, you ask? I was wondering the same thing reading Hourglass. The good stuff didn’t really come into effect until the last 100 pages of the book. I know my thoughts on Hourglass would have been different if McEntire focused more on the time travel aspect.  McEntire’s inclusion of exotic matter, bridges, time ripples was really unique and interesting!  I also thought that the introduction of Emerson’s best friend Lily’s gift could have been better explained and further explored. Lily’s disclosure of her special ability was sort of pointless because McEntire ceased to develop it further.

Another aspect I felt was strange was her brother’s and sister in law’s lack of concern when Emerson tells them she will be dangerously travelling through time to save a man’s life she has never met. For a family that is so close and very involved, you would think that they would show that they cared a little more for her well-being.

I also have to point out the worst line I’ve read in a while— ‘My ass was grass, and big brother was the lawn mower (pg.185)’. I literally read this line to coworkers in the lunchroom for a laugh!  Overall, I give this book 2 out of 5 for all the reasons above and for tricking me to believe this book was more sci-fi than paranormal romance.

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