So, usually I would review each book on it's own and on it's own merit. However, these three books that make up the Ruby Red trilogy are too tightly intertwined for me to break them apart for separate reviews (or, I could just be lazy, hard to say). Aaaaanyway, here goes...
I don't really know how I stumbled on these books. Originally written in German and translated into English (and other languages I'd guess), I think they showed up as a recommendation on my Kindle (trademark Amazon Overlord). I noticed that a couple of my friends had read and reviewed and seemed to like it so I thought I'd give it a try.
When I started the first book in the trilogy, Ruby Red - Kerstin Gier, honestly, I thought it was going to be a fairytale retelling. You know, I guess I was thinking Rose Red or something, so when I started reading it I was a little surprised. (Yes, had I paid attention to the blurb that would have cleared it up, but when I started it I was somewhere without wi-fi, so I couldn't look up the description and I had downloaded it a while back, so I didn't remember.) What I ended up getting though was a really fun historical fiction novel about time travel, alchemy with a healthy dose of romance thrown in.
The Good: Time travel, ok, I'll admit it, I love time travel stories. I totally do and the way the Kerstin Gier structures the time travel in these books is really creative and fun. I've seen some other reviewers pointing out problems with the timelines, but time travel makes my brain hurt, so I just call it wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey and let it go.(show spoiler)
Gwyneth is a fun MC, I enjoyed her interaction with her best friend Lesley. It was nice to see a YA book where the female MC has a strong and genuine friendship with another girl. Lesley is more than just a sidekick or YA best friend, she helps move the action along and she acts as an ally for Gwyneth, which is much needed. I found the romance to be pretty good, it dominates the story a good bit though, so if that's something that you don't like you might not enjoy this so much. It's not Bella Swan level whining and swooning, but it's pretty instalovey, so be forewarned.
The Bad: This is basically one long book cut into three. Books 1 and 2 don't have any resolution, answer few, if any, questions and just keep dragging the story out. There's a lot of time dedicated to preparation for time travel. For example, pages about fittings for historically accurate clothing, which were interesting at first, but begin to drag after a while. There is a lot of filler which, in my opinion, could have been cut out and condensed to make this a duology or even a stand alone with no loss of the mystery or story.
Honestly, while it was a little frustrating getting to the end of book 1 and then book 2 with no answers (though I was pretty sure I knew the "big" secrets, and I did except for one. Go me!), I wasn't too bothered as I was able to download the remaining 2 books in the trilogy at the same time and just keep reading. Had I discovered series this before the trilogy was fully published though I would have been ticked.
All in all though, I really enjoyed this series, the characters are enjoyable, the setting is interesting and the world building is fun. It was different and interesting and, honestly, I'm still thinking about it several weeks later, so that's of the good I'd say. That said, give it a shot if you're so inclined.
So, what did we learn on the review today, kids? Time travel is fun, three books should be one, and instalove should probably be done*.
*as in over, but that doesn't rhyme and that would ruin my little sing-songy ending to which I've now committed