I absolutely adored Ruby Red! As soon as I finished it, I knew I had to get my hands on this sequel. It was my Waiting on Wednesday post not too long ago. It kind of reminds me of a better YA version of The Time Traveler’s Wife. So, I was beyond happy to get this one in my mail not too long ago!
As YA sequels tend to do, it takes place immediately following book 1. It begins with Gwen and Gideon leaving the church (they were making out in), and returning back to headquarters after their most recent time traveling mission. Unknown to Gideon, Gwen is followed back by a new friend/gargoyle who only she can see. And at first Gwen is annoyed to have yet another friend only she can see and that everyone else uses as an excuse to view her as crazy or just plain not fit for travel. But later, Gwen’s best friend points out, a gargoyle can come in handy for secret spy missions.
Also, Gwen probably wouldn’t have survived all her training without her new friend. Her new training involves learning classical dances, while memorizing historical figures and being insulted by instructors who prefer mean cousin, Charlotte to naïve Gwen. In other words, Gwen has a lot to learn and a short period of time to do so. She is invited to go back to a certain character from the first book. And well, this involves learning the etiquette and behaviors of a lady at a soiree and a ball. And what can be better than having an invisible gargoyle friend remind you the answers to the hard historical questions being thrown at you while simultaneously learning about fans and minuets?
Between all the learning, training, and dancing, Gwen has a few hot stolen moments with Gideon. And while Gideon has proven to be a fantastic kisser, he is still very much Gideon. He doesn’t tell Gwen how he feels about her. And he goes from making out with her one moment to hating her, the next. Gwen of course then realizes this is because during one time traveling period, Gwen has Gideon wacked on the head to the point of unconsciousness! Except, Gwen hasn’t done this yet; it’s something she will end up having to do in the future. There’s also the complication of the mean cousin, Charlotte, who is also in love with Gideon and never afraid to show off all the things she can do and Gwen can’t.
A little more is figured out about the secret Gwen’s cousins know, the couple who stole an important time travel device. There’s no sword fighting in this one; however, there is all kinds of mental, political, and intellectual fighting. Gwen manages to escape a couple of times to have secret meetings with her grandfather (back in time). There’s more clues discovered about the gemstone prophecy. There’s dances, soirees, secret codes, forbidden passages, costumes, ghosts, and gargoyles! And then there is also a little bit of normal high school drama as well. Gideon’s brother starts school with Gwen!
This one ends with another cliffhanger that involves Gideon. And stuff does not end well for Gwen, though there is a lot of hope! While what makes these books so much fun is the amazing time traveling story, what makes these books so good are the characters. Gier writes about embarrassing situations like a YA contemporary pro. Gwen is a real, musical loving, pop-culture referencing teen and her time traveling gene is just something that can be added to her character; it doesn’t define who she is.
I also love how real Gideon is. He is by no means perfect like a lot of other YA love interests. He openly flirts with both Gwen and her cousin. And he refuses to talk to Gwen about his relationship with Charlotte. He also defends Charlotte all the time. Yet, he clearly cares very deeply for Gwen.
The best friend is amazingly brilliant! Having her and the gargoyle really seem to keep Gwen sane. The rest of the time traveling order still doesn’t trust her and it is so frustrating to read about how anyone can doubt the honesty and compassion of Gwen or her best friend. I still love Gwen’s eccentric family, though they weren’t in this one enough. There was another clairvoyant moment with Gwen’s aunt, but I liked it better in the first one.
I loved all the little bits of humor and sarcasm shared between Gwen and Gideon. If there is anything they have in common, it is their sarcasm! All of the bits about the musical, Cats, and the green sofa were just so hilarious! You’ll have to read this to know what I am talking about. Also, the cover is so shiny, I can’t stop staring it. Shininess plus gorgeous dress = recipe for wonderful YA cover.
The only thing I can see people not liking here is the lack of action. Not a lot of things happened. Gwen only has two serious goes back in time, and the ball hasn’t even happened yet. This book was more about figuring clues out and interpreting certain characters in history. It involved more thinking and less sword fighting. This didn’t really bother me though. I had such a fun time reading it. Really, this is just such an entertaining time traveling series that involves amazing characters. I give it a 9/10.