Well, it took me a while, but I managed to get my hands on the trilogy and read them to review for myself. Oh boy, did I enjoy them!
This book introduced the characters and settings. It starts off all mysterious as we meet two time travellers who are running away from someone. Cue ambiguous dialogue hinting at mysteries to be revealed, then cut to our heroine.
Gwenyth Shepard is busy looking after her perfect cousin, Charlotte, who due to some family gene, is expected to start travelling through time at any moment. Gwen, the oft ignored and only slightly younger of the two girls is on the lookout so Charlotte doesn’t hurt herself from the headaches and dizzy spells which are symptomatic warning signs of imminent time-travel. While doing this, she conveniently ignore the fact she is suffering from the same symptoms. As everyone expects Charlotte, born on the prophesised day, to be the time traveller it comes as a huge surprise when Gwen is thrown through time at random. When she finally admits this to her mother, the truth comes out and she discovers she is the final time traveller in the circle of twelve, the Ruby.
Gwen’s mission is to join the Diamond, the dashing Gideon De Villiers, in collecting the blood of the previous time travellers to complete the circle – a mission from the Count Saint-Germain. It is made more difficult by the fact that the original machine which collects the blood, the Chronograph, has been stolen years prior by Gwen’s cousin, Lucy and her boyfriend Paul de Villiers. Luckily they have a 2nd chronograph which sends the time-travelling pair to controlled points in time.
Gwen finds the secret society protecting the time travellers to be far too secretive. She doesn’t know if she can trust them, as her mother obviously didn’t when she hid Gwen’s true birthday from the family. Are Lucy and Paul the evil ones, or is the count not as well-intentioned as he claims?
I couldn’t put this book down. It gripped me. I love time-travel and young adult romance. This book has a likable main character, a rather fetching love interest, some great comedy moments and so much mystery.
The first book in the series is a great start, setting everything up and introducing the basic premise.
I feel a lot of the series is predictable from the start – but I still enjoyed it. There were a few twists to the series that caught me out, but overall I knew how it was going to be.
I find I rather like Lesley, Gwen’s best friend, who is well-rounded and certainly not sideline by her side-character status. She helps Gwen and is the only person she can truly trust. She’s oodles of fun too! I love how she believes Gwen, about the ghosts she sees and about the time-travel.
Gideon as a love interest made me uncomfortable at first, but he grew on me. By the end of book 1, I did like him but still couldn’t see why Gwen was so into him.
The way the first book ended was odd. It just finishes mid-scene. The sequel has another prologue with Lucy and Paul, then jumps back in to Gideon and Gwen’s situation, which is abruptly ended and rather frustrating. But this scene does introduce one of my favourite characters of the series – Xemerius, the ghost of a gargoyle-demon who only Gwen can see and who follows her around with commentary and often comes in quite handy. He has his funny moments and also his sweet ones.
This books seems to focus more on the relationship between Gwen and Gideon and was probably my least favourite of the trilogy because of this. Xemerius and the fact I wanted to finish the series kept me going on to the final book.
All of the mysteries are unveiled and the secrets of Gwen’s powers are revealed, as is the plan of the Count. I must say though that there was a hint of dissatisfaction in how the whole finale was brought about. It built up and then seemed a bit rushed at the end. I guess one of the major plot twists way back in book one, but there was one more added at the end which was surprising and made me smile. I liked Gideon a lot more in this book.
Overall, I enjoyed the series and it has stuck with me for the past few days. It is by no means great literature and has its fair share of problems, but I can overlook them and found I really enjoyed the series.
It helps that I was put onside immediately by the fact that Gwen was born and grew up in Durham, which is close to where I live, so I felt connected to the book!
Also – how beautiful are the covers? Some of the most beautiful book art I have seen.
I would certainly recommend this series.
4 out of 5 carrots