Historical couch snogging, or our reviews of Sapphire Blue

17254055Sapphire Blue (The Ruby Red Trilogy #2)

By Kerstin Geir (translated by Anthea Bell)

Publisher: Henry Holt

Publication Date: October 30th, 2012

Format: Kindle ebook


Continuing our obsession with all things Ruby Red and Kerstin Gier, Rosi and I review book two in the series, Sapphire Blue, in which time travel-ly shenanigans continue and love-story happenings become frustrating.

Synopsis:

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.
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4 star rating
blue border limited cropSapphire Blue is very much a middle book. It builds on aspects from the previous book and leaves, and creates, some seriously big questions to be answered in the last installment. It also picks up immediately where the last book left off, so, if you are reading the books back to back, they kind of flow into one another. Which is a good and bad thing. You don’t miss any action, or, rather, snogging, and the already very fast paced story doesn’t lose any time. However, the first book ended quite abruptly and the sequel started on a similar note.

Gwyneth was a delightful character once again with humor and spunk and quirkiness without being annoying. I wished, again, that she wouldn’t have rushed things so much with Gideon, especially since she admittedly could never get a read on him and his feelings and motivations. Also, I wish she had called him out more on how rude he could be, since he deserved to be taken down a peg. However when their relationship was good, it was good. It just never lasted for very long.

Gwyneth’s friend, Lesley, was again great. I loved their conversations, the back and forth banter, the support for each other. That Lesley never doubted what Gwen told her and went beyond simply listening to Gwen’s problems to actively trying to help solve them. As for other secondary characters, Gwen’s siblings and aunt Maddy were highly entertaining and wonderful again. Gwen’s mother was again present and active in her life, a novel idea in YA to eat breakfast every morning with your mother, and was again supportive of her daughter and continued to argue for what was best for Gwen and stood by her decisions prior to the previous book. I was also impressed with the believable balance between teenaged and adult characters in the secret society, meaning that it was just Gideon and Gwen and a bunch of adults. No crazy inducting of teenagers here.

I still found Glenda, Charlotte, and Count Saint-Germain annoying as hell, but I was prepared for their attitudes and it was easier for me to see how Gwen learned to brush off their comments while sustaining little damage. The love story and having to deal with annoying characters brought my rating down but the introduction of Xemerius buoyed it and the fact that I feel that the love story’s issues could be solved with a little old fashioned communication. The book was a fun and very quick read and is highly recommended. Especially if you’ve just finished the first book.

emily name

red border limited crop

I’m going to be honest: this is a book I simply cannot remember details about. I blame most of it on the very quick pace, which means that I tend to race through this one to get to the third. It might also be a bit of middle book problems, though. Anyways, that aside, it is still a wonderful book, that really gets into the heart of the world Gier is giving us.

We start immediately after an unexpected meeting, an unexpected kiss, and an unexpected encounter with a gargoyle. And then we continue, at breakneck pace, as Gwyneth tries to figure out just what is going on, and which of the many contradictory statements she’s getting is the truth. Because, let me just tell you, there seem to be five-ish versions going around at any point in the story.

And that’s not all the problems Gwyneth has. After a rather steamy kiss, Gideon de Villiers is alternately blowing hot and cold…one minute making eyes, the next giving her the cold shoulder. And, although she’s really only known him for a week at this point, Gwyneth can’t help feeling like they’re meant to be together…after all, they’re the only two time travelers in existence. And, to top it all off, her annoying cousin Charlotte is in charge of making sure Gwyneth isn’t going to commit a horrid faux pas at an eighteenth century ball she’s required to attend.

This book honestly seems to race along at an even more breakneck pace than its predecessor, which is saying something. Not that I’m complaining. Gwyneth is a delightful narrator, with the time-travel elements adding a sweet whimsy and elements like her friend Lesley pulling her down to reality. Plus, she now has a pet, in the form of a gargoyle ghost demon thing only she can see (and persists in talking to).

Also, the secret society becomes by degrees more sinister…mostly thanks to Count Saint-Germain. Now, in addition to Darth Vader choke skills and a strange Transylvanian bodyguard, he is also a potential murderer. That, plus their evil etiquette lessons, puts Gwyneth by degrees closer to believing her cousins ran off for a reason.

A lot of things are somewhat more explained here, although most of it is still a muddle…you have her time-traveling cousins causing trouble, Saint-Germain, Charlotte and her family…and you get the feeling that there’s a whole web of secrets that can be unraveled simply by tugging on a thread. Gwyneth’s hunt for that thread is what I enjoyed about the book.

I do have serious beef with the love story, though. It is Insta-Love like nothing else I have seen…It must indicate that Gideon is just the worlds best kisser, because in one moment Gwyneth changes from being constantly annoyed at him, to serious pining despite the fact that he’s an arse. I think part of the problem is the aforementioned fast pace–there’s no time to create a love story that flows normally, so Gier goes for a ‘written-in-the-stars’, ‘we’re-the-only-people-who-understand-each-other’ type. It’s not entirely convincing, at least not for me. And, let me just say this, the relationship between Gideon and Charlotte is just strange.

But, disregarding the love story, Sapphire Blue is yet another of those ‘delightful romp’ types of books, and the ending will leave you, once again, frantically grabbing for the next book…which we will be reviewing tomorrow.

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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us.