(YA fantasy, time travel)
This first book in the Gem Trilogy is a lot of fun. For some reason it took a short while for me to get fully hooked, but after the slow start its pace really picked up and I found myself completely invested in the characters. I’m not really sure (other than the main few characters) who I like and who I dislike, though. And I think that’s intentional. The main character (Gwen) is told not to trust anyone, and since we see the world through her eyes, we shouldn’t trust anyone, either.
One of the secondary characters I do like is the dressmaker. She is a lot of fun, and – since I’ve met a fair few costumers during my years in theatre – COMPLETELY BELIEVABLE. She behaves about her outfits in a way that I’ve seen theatrical costumers behave. (Not all of them, granted, but enough of them.) It’s all about the clothes for her, and the authenticity trumps everything. Wonderful character.
The time travel aspect is fun, if a bit confusing. I guess it’s okay that it’s confusing, since Gwen doesn’t know that much about it and we learn most of it along with her. But still, I’d like a little more clarification. I suspect we’ll get more in the following books.
And the plot… there are so many layers to it. Great fun. I’m not really sure that I’m satisfied with this book as a stand-alone, because I’m so much more interested in the series plot than the novel’s plot – I’m so much more interested in the series plot that I’d be hard-pressed to define the book plot, but I could tell you tons about the series plot to-date. However, this is okay with me, since the other two books in the series have already been released and I plan to read them. ASAP. So I do recommend this book (among other things, it’s nice to find a good YA novel that’s NOT about a dystopian future) but I’d suggest you prepare for a trilogy and not a solo novel.