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.
I am usually wary of middle books in trilogies because, like the middle child, they’re just there. Not as intriguing as the first book and not as satisfying as the last one. They are a bridge between the beginning to the conclusion and are often just a set up for the conclusion and do not have a story, a solid narrative, of their own. Usually. However, I was very pleasantly surprised by Sapphire Blue. I think I like it better than Ruby Red and I liked Ruby Red a lot.
Sapphire Blue begins with a kiss and it took a moment for me to orient myself because it has been a year or so since I read the last novel but once I did, the story took off with me hanging on by the skin of my fingers. Oh, that sounds painful but what I mean is that the novel is a rollercoaster ride. There are lulls in between but mostly it is a thrilling experience. I love stories about secret societies, the proverbial underdog finally winning the day, dashing love interesst and, most of all, a main character you can uninhibitedly cheer for. This book’s success is due to its main character, Gwen. She is such a wonderful, protagonist, you guys. I remember mentioning in the review for Ruby Red that Gwen seemed very young for her age but in Sapphire Blue, there is an actual sense of Gwen growing up as you read her. She is changed by what she has experienced and it shows in the way she talks and/or reacts to situations. She is still very much the underdog, not even suspecting what I do about her origin and who her real parents are. I’m just speculating but I am thinking that she just may find some truly interesting things in the next novel.
Anyway, Gwen is a normal teenager with time traveling abilities and a very large crush on her “partner.” The handsome, mysterious Gideon. I am still not sure how I feel about him. But back to Gwen, what endeared her to me was her reaction to Gideon. She likes him, a lot, but she doesn’t let her like turn her into a ninny. She remains witty, contained (more or less) and just generally herself even when she is going through her heartbreak. Such as it is.
There is also a gargoyle who looks like a cat. And you all know how much I love cat characters. The friendships portrayed in novel feel genuine and there is no harem or even a triangle. I don’t think Gwen would appreciate the complication, anyway. There is a creepy count who is the proverbial villain of the piece and a couple of rogue time-traveling deviants who are way more than meets the eye. The narrative is compelling and the plot construction serves to deepen the mystery. There are several new characters and the whole idea of time traveling is addressed sufficiently.
I thought this was a fantastic novel. It had be laughing in some parts and thinking in others. If you haven’t yet started this trilogy, I recommend that you do so. And if you have started it and are wibbling about whether or not to read the second one, I say that you need to. Get your hands on a copy as soon as you can.