The Precious Stone Trilogy or The Ruby Red Trilogy is made up of three books: Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green. The trilogy is written by Kerstin Gier and translated from German by Anthea Bell. I picked up Ruby Red at Half Price Books originally because the dust jacket was gorgeous and the book was unusual in size. I purchased the book because it fit right in there with my love of historical fiction and time travel. I thought about reviewing each book separately, but Gier crafted each book to pick up immediately where the previous book left off and the big mystery isn't solved until the last 30 or so pages in Emerald Green.
Gwen Shepard belongs to an illustrious family of that carries a gene that allows certain members to travel through time. Gwen's family and another family, the de Villiers, belong to belong to a secret lodge that guards the secrets and laws of this ablity with the sole goal of closing the Circle of Blood. Yes, the Circle of Blood is just about as creepy as it sounds.
Gwen has a fighting personality. Kept in the dark most of her life, she spends much of the series trying to piece together why her time travel ability was kept a secret from her as well as what will happen if the Circle of Blood is closed. Besides having the ability to travel in time, Gwen can see ghosts and demons. This psychic ability seems a bit extraneous. It doesn't do much for Gwen except get her into a few awkward situations. Instead of giving her the ability to see ghosts, I wish Gier would have included Aunt Maddy and Gwen's best friend, Lesley, in the series more. Maddy has visions of the future which give some insight into the secrets of the Lodge and the Circle of Blood. And Lesley is the perfect Girl Friday as Gwen is always so busy with the time traveling missions the Lodge sends her on.
The time travel plot isn't too confusing. Gier does a decent job of unraveling the knots, but most of the action takes place in the present and the time travel is limited to events that drive the plot forward. At the end of book three, though, things do start to get muddled. Too much action takes place off the pages and I was left wondering, at one point, how the heck did Gwen get here?! Although, I wonder how much of that was due to the translation of the novel--maybe it makes perfect sense in German.
The little mysteries are really what kept me reading like what happened to the stolen chronograph (the device used to travel back in time) and Gwen't true identity. At the end of book three, when all the pieces are together and the true villain is revealed, I was left wanting. The reveal happened too quickly. The information was there, apparently in the novel Anna Karenina that Gwen's grandfather gave her and in the mystery papers another character gave Gideon, Gwen's crush, and discovered in Paul and Lucy's, two other time travelers, investigations into the Lodge and the Circle of Blood. However, not enough was shared through the course of the three books to make the ending satisfying.
Overall, I liked this series. Gier crafted a compelling mystery across the course of three books. A word of warning, unlike other young adult series that are on the market, it isn't possible to read just one of the three books and then move on to something else due to how Gier crafted the plot. If you like historical fiction with a bit of teenage romance thrown in the mix, definitely check out these books out. The Precious Stone/Ruby Red Trilogy gets a thumbs up.