Kerstin Gier – The Silver Trilogy (Silber)

In times of emotional turmoil, I turn to a certain type of book. Either it’s well-loved favorites like Harry Potter, or if I want something new, I go for books I know are easy to read, easy to stomach, definitely end well, and have plenty of silly drama about who goes to the prom with whom. Kerstin Gier delivers exactly that, and while her Silver trilogy is not nearly as good as the time travel books she wrote a while ago, they entertained and distracted me from life in just the right way.

THE SILVER TRILOGY (Dream a Little Dream, Dream On, Just Dreaming)
by Kerstin Gier

Published by: Fischer, 2013-2015
Hardcovers: 413, 416, 464 pages
Series: Silver #1-3
My rating: 6/10

First sentence: The dog was snuffling at my bag. 

Mysterious doors with lizard-head knobs. Talking stone statues. A crazy girl with a hatchet. Yes, Liv’s dreams have been pretty weird lately. Especially the one where she’s in a graveyard at night, watching four boys conduct dark magic rituals.

The strangest part is that Liv recognizes the boys in her dream. They’re classmates from her new school in London, the school where she’s starting over because her mom has moved them to a new country (again). But what’s really scaring Liv is that the dream boys seem to know things about her in real life, things they couldn’t possibly know–unless they actually are in her dreams? Luckily, Liv never could resist a good mystery, and all four of those boys are pretty cute…

Since I read all three books back to back, I decided to review them as one complete story instead of doing single reviews per volume.

Liv and her sister are used to moving around, living in all sorts of places of the world, but never living there for long. Moving, starting new schools, making and losing friends is nothing new to them. Until their mother promises to stay settled in a charming cottage in England where she can do her job at Oxford University and the girls can finally have a proper home. Except they never make it to that cottage. Instead Liv’s mother wants to move in with her new boyfriend and his two children. Additionally, weird stuff happens in Liv’s dreams. She recognises people from her school whose names she doesn’t even know, she learns things she never heard before in dreams, and they turn out to be facts… Things are definitely not quite right.

The strength of this story is definitely the family interactions and how the characters grow into their new home, which of course has very little to do with this being a fantasy story. More on that later. At first, Liv and her little sister Mia are strongly opposed to their new siblings. Grayson seems constantly preoccupied with his phone and Florence only remains posh and composed until she finds out she’ll have to give up some living space for the new girls’ nanny! Sure, all the characters are big walking, talking clichés but there is no doubt that the way they are pushed on each other makes them each grow and even come to care for each other. It may just be my current situation, but I almost teared up a little when these four behaved like proper siblings.

Initially, I was in it for the fantasy aspects, especially because they have to do with dreams. However, that part is never really developed and the plot strays and meanders and doesn’t ever quite find its footing. In the first book, Liv is trying to help out her new brother Grayson and his friends combat an evil demon whom they accidentally summoned last Halloween. Without spoiling anything, all I can say is that the second book revolves around something completely different and the fact that they can all control their dreams (to some degree) is more of an added superpower that doesn’t do all that much. In the third book, Kerstin Gier seems to have realised that the trilogy is only held together by the real-world teenage drama rather than her fantasy side plot, and tried to unify things a little. It didn’t really work out but at least the big bad of the third book is truly terrifying and made for some suspenseful moments.

This is also the story of Liv growing up, discovering first love, and making a home for herself. The romance was done pretty well (no love triangles, yay!) although some conflicts between the love birds seemed incredibly forced, just to get things moving a little. Again, in a different state of mind, my opinion of these books would probably be way harsher, but as a light read in between meatier books, this is just the thing to fall into.

There is also a sub-plot that’s basically Gossip Girl. Liv and Mia’s new school has someone called Secrecy who seems to know everything about everyone and posts embarrassing and hurtful things on her blog. She reveals secrets, discusses (in not very flattering ways) people’s clothing style or weight, even makes remarks about very personal or very painful things such as whether a couple has had sex yet (and if no, why not), or who someone is going to date next, now that their boyfriend died! Lifting the secret of who Secrecy is falls mostly into Mia’s care and while it is revealed, it only happens at the end of the last book.

Look, it’s no Ruby Red trilogy, but it is quite a bit of fun with hilariously overdrawn characters, some romance, and a lovely family. I liked it.

MY RATING: 6/10 – Good

I find it quite interesting how different the German and English covers are. The German ones seeme geared at a younger audience while the English ones can’t stop the girl-in-a-pretty-dress trope. I do like the keyhole though.

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Kerstin Gier – Ruby Red (The Movie)

I know that many people who come to my blog are looking for one of two things. The publication date of the third book in Kerstin Gier’s trilogy, Emerald Green (I can still only say Goodreads and Amazon list it as October 2013), or news about the upcoming German  movie of the first book, Ruby Red. The release date in Germany is March 14th and imdb lists another one for Russia. I still don’t know if the movie will be translated into English but if everything else fails, I’m sure you can buy the DVD with English subtitles. Do not despair.

gwen and gideon

Because it is a German movie and I’m a German speaker, I have sifted out some interesting movie clips, images, and tidbits from the interwebs. The links will all lead you to youtube, for your fangirl movie clip watching pleasure. Because I like you guys. And it’s Sunday…

Here is a clip of Gwendolyn/Gwyneth being dressed up by Madame Rossini.
I won’t translate the whole thing for you. The gist of it is that Madame Rossini calls herself a genius for incorporating modern fiber (light-weight stays) into an authentic Rokoko dress. When Gideon walks in, he calls Gwen “very authentic” and Madame Rossini loses it because he isn’t wearing his canary yellow tights and calls him a little rebel.

Have another clip, this time it’s Gideon picking Gwendolyn up in a limousine.
I especially like the two girls going “Oh God, he’s touching her. And now he’s kissing her.” Leslie, honest as she is, tells Gwen that on second glance, Gideon isn’t half bad to which Gwen replies “meh”.

This is Gwendolyn’s mother telling the Circle that she is, in fact, the Ruby.
Those of you who have read the book (I’m assuming that’s everyone) already know why it was Charlotte who got the time travel education and not Gwen. Gwen’s mother explains how they blackmailed the midwife to change Gwendolyn’s date of birth, in the hope that it was Charlotte who had inherited the time travel gene. Charlotte’s mother takes the moment to call Gwendolyn clumsy and her brain the size of a pea. Charming, right?

gwen and gideon kiss

Here is Gwendolyn being officially named the Ruby.
When she and Gideon walk in, she asks him not to leave her alone. They tell her she will find her particular magic but, Gwen being Gwen, she doubts them and wants to know what the mission is. If you know the books, you know they’re not going to give her much of an answer.

This is Gwen taking Gideon out to have Indian food.
It’s pretty self-explanatory. But I do like Gwen calling Gideon “The Diamond. The toughest of them all” when he chokes on his Tandoori chicken a second time.

Here’s my personal favorite. Gwen and Gideon meet for the first time.
In the opening shot, Gwen narrates how insane her family is, how Aunt Maddy likes all things supernatural, how Charlotte thinks of herself as the eight wonder of the world. Then Gideon mistakes her for a waitress. I think it is because of things like this that every girl who has ever been called clumsy can relate to Gwen (or Gwyneth, depending on the language you read the book in).

This is Gwen’s first time travel (not youtube).
Her Aunt Maddy sends her to get her lemon drops and Gwen, feeling dizzy and strange, falls down the stairs and ends up… well, a couple of centuries ago, being accused of trying to steal some bread.

charlottegwen and lesliegwen and gideon dancing

If you still haven’t had enough of Ruby Red, you can check out the trilogy’s Facebook page. I’m sure it will cover all the news.

Kerstin Gier – Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue, Emerald Green

I’ve been reviewing a lot of well-known books and series and some recent publications, so I thought it would be time to explore some maybe not so well-known books. Being a German native speaker, I’d like to introduce you to a YA trilogy that is everything a novel for young people should be. Fun, thoughtful, engaging and equipped with beautiful covers. (And for those of you who are wondering: The name is pronounced CARE-stin GEER)

The first teaser trailer is up and you can watch it HERE.

RUBY RED
by Kerstin Gier

original title: Rubinrot
published: Henry Holt and Co. 2009
ISBN:0805092528
pages: 324

my rating: 8/10
goodreads rating: 4,14/5

first sentence: I first felt it in the school canteen on Monday morning.

Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth who, in the middle of class, takes a sudden spin to a different era! Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why she has inherited the time travel gene instead of Charlotte, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon – the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

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These books are just so much fun! Gwyneth (who is called Gwendolin in the original books) is a hilarious narrator and instantly lovable. While she is easy to identify with, she is not flawless, says really silly things sometimes and has no idea what to do with this handsome boy she has to work with now. Gideon, as the male protagonist, is seen through Gwyneth’s eyes, so the reader’s esteem for him will grow as slowly and steadily as does Gwyneth’s. But the love story is really not the main plot of this story. Although giggles and girly noises may ensue once you’re in book 2, Sapphire Blue.

Time travel and young adult books only go well together if the author trusts their readers to have brains. Who in turn are willing to use them. And Kerstin Gier clearly does. She thought up a wonderful idea of how and why time travel is possible, with its own set of rules, pros and cons. Not everything is peachy if you have to travel in time every single day due to a genetic mutation… Her language and wit makes this one of my favourite summer reads. You can just fall into these books and become a little girl again, remember your first love and kind of wish you could travel through time – though maybe in a less rigorous way.

I should warn you that while these books are sold as a trilogy, they are really one long story told over three volumes. Every book ends with a huge cliffhanger and scenes are simply cut in the middle. Lucky for those of you who hear about these books for the first time, the trilogy is completed and the mysteries are resolved. The ending, while a little overdone in parts, was highly satisfying and offers explanations for all questions raised. The epilogue even holds a little surprise that made everybody I know smirk for a long time. It’s like a goodie bag right at the end of the story. But I will say no more.

Kerstin Gier also has a knack for creating side characters that serve a certain purpose without feeling cardboardy. Xemerius is everyone’s favourite, he makes sure even the dire scenes offer some comic relief. This little talking gargoyle accidentally spurts water whenever he gets too excited. What’s not to love? Gwyneth’s best friend on the other hand is a smart girl who loves to solve riddles – and there are more than enough of those. But even random classmates who only get a couple of lines have their own personality and are, in their own way, memorable.

Gwyneth’s story takes place in modern London, a setting many authors have tackled. Kerstin Gier, as a German, has done a fantastic job of bringing the city to life in modern times as well as in the past. It’s not just wigs and fancy dresses (though there are some of those), it’s her descriptions of ballrooms and gentlemen, horse-drawn carriages and pianofortes that make for vivid surroundings. These descriptions are never too much and don’t stop the plot from moving forward with lightning speed. It’s very hard to lose attention – which is just as books for children or young adults should be.

If you read these books, you won’t find an extremely deep tale about life and death, good and evil, morals and humanity. But you will have uninterrupted fun, discover an original time travel idea, and fall in love with the cute characters. And you might even pick up some history – because light as the read is, Kerstin Gier did do her research.

There’s also a (German) movie in the making. For more infos, check out the homepage: Rubinrot, der Film.

THE GOOD: Adorable characters, a fast paced plot, great time travel ideas, suitable for young adults, highly accessible.
THE BAD: The ending was a little over the top.
THE VERDICT: The perfect gift for teenage girls, a gateway book into fantasy/sci-fi and just a fun and funny read you shouldn’t miss.

RATING: 8/10 Excellent trilogy overall (part 2 being my favourite)

The Ruby Red Trilogy:

  1. Ruby Red (also published as Girl About Time)
  2. Sapphire Blue
  3. Emerald Green

About that movie…

19th September 2012 RUBY RED MOVIE TRAILER

Yesterday I paid one of my very rare visits to the homepage for the upcoming Ruby Red movie. And there is an announcement for today at noon – when the movie trailer will be shown for the first time. I do hope we’ll get to see it right away because the few pictures you can find on the homepage look quite promising. My faith in German movie-making is not exactly overwhelming but I am starting to hope that this will actually be a good film.