BOOK REVIEW: The Precious Stone Trilogy by Kerstin Gier

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BEWARE – PREPARE FOR A LONG POST!

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I decided to review this trilogy with only one post, not only because I marathoned it but because thinking about each book by itself wasn’t enough. This series could clearly have been one big book because they were really connected and each book didn’t have a parallel plot but it was just a little part of the whole plot that took part during three books. Basically I wouldn’t be able to talk a lot about a single book because now I have the whole thing in my mind and I don’t remember were one finished and the other started.

Just a reminder in case you don’t know, this trilogy has been adapted to the big screen and I must admit that although I fell in love with the books, I find the movies to be much better. The movies are richer in character development, world building and story/plot, yes. who would have thought?? But at least in my humble opinion you should check the movies out because that one is a ride you won’t regret!! 😉

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INFORMATION

51vvfhyujfl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Title:  Ruby Red
Series:  The Precious Stone Trilogy /
The Ruby Red Trilogy  #1
Author:  Kerstin Gier
Publisher:  Square Fish
Published:   May 2012
Language:  English
Format:  Paperback
Pages:  322
ISBN:  9780312551513

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GOODREADS SYNOPSIS

Genre: Historical Fiction, SciFi, Mystery, YA.
Average Goodreads rating: 4.13

Although I had never seen him before, I recognized him immediately. I’d have known his voice anywhere. This was the guy I’d seen on my last journey back in time.
Or more precisely, the one who’d kissed my doppelgänger while I was hiding behind the curtain in disbelief.

Sixteen-year-old Gwen lives with her extended – and rather eccentric – family in an exclusive London neighborhood. In spite of her ancestors’ peculiar history, she’s had a relatively normal life so far. The time-traveling gene that runs like a secret thread through the female half of the family is supposed to have skipped over Gwen, so she hasn’t been introduced to “the mysteries,” and can spend her time hanging out with her best friend, Lesley. It comes as an unwelcome surprise when she starts taking sudden, uncontrolled leaps into the past.

She’s totally unprepared for time travel, not to mention all that comes with it: fancy clothes, archaic manners, a mysterious secret society, and Gideon, her time-traveling counterpart. He’s obnoxious, a know-it-all, and possibly the best-looking guy she’s seen in any century . . .

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INFORMATION

91g1yl5i5hlTitle:  Sapphire Blue
Series:  The Precious Stone Trilogy /
The Ruby Red Trilogy  #2
Author:  Kerstin Gier
Publisher:  Square Fish
Published:  October 2012
Language:  English
Format:  Paperback
Pages:  354
ISBN: 9781250034168

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GOODREADS SYNOPSIS

Genre: Historical Fiction, SciFi, Mystery, YA.
Average Goodreads rating: 4.19

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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INFORMATION

emerald-green-dressTitle:  Emerald Green
Series:  The Precious Stone Trilogy /
The Ruby Red Trilogy  #3
Author:  Kerstin Gier
Publisher:  Square Fish
Published:  October 2014
Language:  English
Format:  Paperback
Pages:  480
ISBN: 9781250050816

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GOODREADS SYNOPSIS

Genre: Historical Fiction, SciFi, Mystery, YA.
Average Goodreads rating: 4.21

Gwen has a destiny to fulfill, but no one will tell her what it is.
She’s only recently learned that she is the Ruby, the final member of the time-traveling Circle of Twelve, and since then nothing has been going right. She suspects the founder of the Circle, Count Saint-German, is up to something nefarious, but nobody will believe her. And she’s just learned that her charming time-traveling partner, Gideon, has probably been using her all along.
Emerald Green is the stunning conclusion to Kerstin Gier’s Ruby Red Trilogy, picking up where Sapphire Blue left off, reaching new heights of intrigue and romance as Gwen finally uncovers the secrets of the time-traveling society and learns her fate.

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MY REVIEW

My Rating and General Opinion

4.25*

You could say I fell through the rabbit hole with this one. The story wasn’t perfect and it felt too short but still I got in deeply.

The Writing

The writing was more than ok, if nothing particularly special about it caught my eye still it was easy to follow and the creation of the characters and the world was certainly magical and real. Typical YA story with a twist.

The Story

The main problem with this trilogy was the plot in itself, especially if I compare it to the movie adaptations, which ended up being richer.

Before starting with all the craziness I’ll try to explain the key points from this story, not trying to completely dissect the plot:
– It turns out that there are 12 people who are able to travel through time, six females from the Montrose blood line and another six from the de Villiers’..
– This travelers are extended through time meaning that they do not coexist in the same period but they do in the same world.
– Each of these travelers is associated with a precious stone. In the case of our main protagonists those are the Diamant and the Ruby.
–  There is a machine known as the chronograph that is a sort of time travel machine. It works with the blood of the travelers and it’s used to make traveling through time or elapsing easier. With that I mean that these travelers are able to travel at any given time but by themselves they cannot exactly control when they travel to and that’s what the machine is for, to control the travels and not get caught in a dangerous situation.
– Lastly, when the blood from the 12 travelers is inserted into the chronograph, the machine will liberate “something” that is going to solve all of the problems of this earth: hunger, disease…
– The Count St. Germain’s Lodge/Secret Society has the chronograph on its power and it controls and foresees that the Count’s plan goes according to the plan and that they get their hands on the final gift.

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[ From now on you’ll find an in detail dissection so you can skip it until the next warning if you don’t want to deal with spoilers ]

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As sudden as it starts we find ourselves immersed in this time travel story that won’t affect you unless you are part of either Montrose or de Villiers families. If you belong to any of these families apparently you are tought from infancy that there is/might be a special gene in you/your line that makes you able to travel trough time (nothing strange about that right?) and so you enter this lodge/secret society were I am still not that clear about what they do, apart from wanting to control the whole world.

The story starts with Charlotte Montrose, the seemingly designated Ruby (12th traveler), and we see how after all of her years of preparations she is waiting to finally travel in time to confirm that she is indeed the last one. As fate might have it, turns out Charlotte was not the Ruby, but her cousin Gwyneth is. Gwen is nothing like Charlotte, a social/professional butterfly, but a normal girl without any kind of preparation and more than a bit clumsy. She finds herself suddenly lost in the past and thanks to her mother ends up turning herself to the lodge, where nobody believes she is the real deal and no one is particularly friendly to her except for Thomas George (an old friend of her grandfather). Once there she starts to learn more about her power and the world the Lodge belongs to but with that also a lot questions not answered are also rose. We get to meet Gideon de Villiers and to put things clear he doesn’t make a great first impression, being rude and thinking so highly of himself, but of course he is gorgeous (*double eye roll moment*). When the pair is formed he plans on guiding her and controlling her but Gwen has a mind and questions of her own that nobody seems to care about so she ends up not being as malleable as Gideon first thought would be. The pair’s mission is to collect the blood of all the travelers to insert it into the new chronograph so that the final gift can be unveiled. They have to go back in time to get all of their ancestor’s blood because the previously used chronograph was stolen by the  last two travelers, Lucy and Paul. Why would they do that if the gift si something that good? Well, it turns out that after some information and something they saw, they thought the whole plot had holes and that there was something fishy about The Count. They traveled back to the past with the chronograph in hand to hide it so that the blood circle wouldn’t be completed and that was it, or so they thought before finding out there was a second chronograph.
Between travels back and forth the story starts to unravel. In the first book Gwen meets The Count and after he unequivocally hurts her she is more than suspicious about the guy. She doesn’t really trust anyone, not even Gideon, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to seduce her and her for ending up falling for him (*kind-of-a insta-love moment here*). At the same time Gwen gets to meet Lucy and Paul (Sapphire and Black Tourmaline respectively) in one of her travels and the plot thickens with prophecies and more and more drama. In the second book the same goes around, the Lodge is after Lucy and Paul because they need their blood and the only one they trust is Gwen so they want to use her, but she doesn’t trust the Lodge, not like Gideon does, and this ends up in more problems. In the last installment we get a couple of bombs (not that surprising but still) about Gwen’s ancestry and about Ruby’s prophecy, the Ruby and the Diamant reconcile themselves, find the “oh so precious” gift and store it accordingly. Of course, The Count doesn’t plan on going out without a bang and he proposes a bargain Gwen is not able to say no to.

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[ Now you can continue, but beware some mayor rumbling is up ahead ]

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So, as you can see the plot in itself is quite simple, travel through time to get the missing pieces of the puzzle so that you can finally get the gift. But in the way you’ll start discovering that not everything is what it seems and that you should trust nothing but your guts. In the meantime like in any other YA story you’ll find some love and some comical relief in the hands of Xemerius between others. What will happen then? Will they all survive? Is all the drama worth your while? I would say so 😛

This is a crazy ride through time, where not everything you see is real, and Gwen is clearly going through an information overload, but the way she handles herself it’s something impressive.

What made this story different from any other was the characters Gier created, you had a bit of everything, some good world (decades) building and an interesting character development. After all, I consider this story as a “character story”.
The story in itself failed in the lack of complexity or real evolution in plot, analyzing the books separately you would realise almost nothing happen in any of them. Even with all of these faults after finishing with Emerald Green I still wanted more and I really think this story could have gone for longer than it did. Gier could have stretched the main plot, creating smaller plots in each book that took part during different decades so that we would have been able to get to meet all of the travelers.
One of the things that infuriated me most was the secret society and everyone involved in it. The Lodge was so sexist that it bothered me not to be able to physically hurt this assholes! Apparently only the male branch of this old hierarchy is able to think and act for themselves and participate in the decision taking progress. Because although those decision affected Gwen and Gideon, only the later was  able to participate in some kind of way.

The Characters

All the elements for a good YA series were part of this one and not including a love triangle, thank you!!! A lot of different characters formed part of this story and made it the success that it turned out to be.
For starters we’ve got Gwyneth (Gwendolyn in the movies) Shepherd, The Ruby and the last traveler from the Montrose branch. She might sometimes be childish and exaggerate things, but she is a teenager so that is understandable because she is living those critical days with all of this nonsense going around, so I would be moody too  if find in her position. I was greatly surprised because I didn’t find her obnoxious and understood her.
For a parter she has the cocky but sometimes charming Gideon de Villiers, The Diamant and the last traveler from the de Villiers branch. This is another case, I did find him obnoxious and hateful at times. I see that within the de Villiers genes also a “big ego” component travels because… But what matters is that deep down a good-natured boy laid and that the partner he ended up working with didn’t let all of his bullshit go on unnoticed.
Then comes the “fake” Count St. Germain, which as you can guess is the main villain of this story and is just such a pathetic excuse for a human being… What a misogynistic, sexist and fool of a character this was! You would say he might even be the first ever traveler but nothing like it, he is just a person with an EGO so extensive that he needed countless live times to be able to cope with it… Is it that obvious that I wanted to kick him in the balls?? 😂😂😂
Leaving that behind we find Gwenny’s extensive family, the Shepherds and Montroses, which turns out to be nothing but peculiar. We found the loving mother and siblings, the most infuriating aunt Glenda, the bully/jealous cousin Charlotte, the hard as rock grandma Arista (what a name!), the crazy fun grand-aunt Maddie, the departed grandpa Lucas and other key guests Lucy and Paul (who also steal the show and are the real heroes of all of this crazy mess, plus also one’s with a really sad and lovable future/present/past).
Lastly, some notable mentions go to those smaller characters who practically steal the show: on the one hand we have the loyal companions, the fun, light and intelligent best friend who’s always there to support you, Lesley and the demoniacal ghostly gargoyle Xemerius, who is such fun to imagine, provides some of the best lines and in conclusion is a scene stealer; and on the other hand we have the notorious and wise older elements such as Mr. George her Lodge connection, supporter and ally, and Mr. Bernard (the Montrose family butler) which may not seem like much but he ends up being a treat too.

*I don’t know if the movies followed Gier’s world perse, but if so you’ll have a great surprise coming from this last character I mentioned!

There is a sweetness to this series that I don’t completely understand but that I highly recommend!! It wasn’t perfect but I would recommend it if you are looking for a fun journey!

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