Friday, January 11, 2013

SAPPHIRE BLUE


Review of SAPPHIRE BLUE by KERSTIN GIER
(second in the RUBY RED trilogy, review based on an advance reading copy, translated by ANTHEA BELL)

While I enjoyed SAPPHIRE BLUE and definitely intend to read the third and final book in this trilogy, I do think this installment suffers a little from middle book syndrome. I liked RUBY RED and I have high hopes that EMERALD GREEN will impress me, but SAPPHIRE BLUE feels a little like the bridge you must cross to reach your destination. It might very well be a pretty bridge, but it's still more a bridge rather than a location worth visiting in its own right.

In my review of RUBY RED, I didn't yet mention that I found the pace of the romance rushed. Why? Because Gwen and Gideon actually only kiss at the very end of the first book and I didn't want to spoil anything! Even then, on the last page, I didn't feel ready for that development and the kiss felt too soon. Of course, both books - and I assume the third - take place over just a couple of days each. On the upside, this structure helps with the strong voice since we're so embedded in Gwen's perspective. On the downside, I feel the romance really suffers in the short time frame. I wasn't ready for the kiss at the end of RUBY RED and I also found myself frustrated with all the talk of love in SAPPHIRE BLUE given that the characters haven't even known each other a full week. For that matter, Gideon's mostly just rude to Gwen and her eagerness for any attention from him (usually in the form of making out) irritated me. Granted, it's a very real dynamic, but I wished the story weren't quite so fixated on that element.

As my review implies so far, not much else develops in SAPPHIRE BLUE beside the romance. We have more peaks of potential bad guys with added hints and warnings of doom to come, but I have the feeling that the really good stuff, including more character development, will be in the forthcoming third and final book, EMERALD GREEN.

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