Series: Edelstein Trilogy, #1
Author: Kerstin Gier
Reading Level and Genre(s): YA Fantasy
Features: Time travel
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: First in January 2009 in Germany
Source: Won from giveaway
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 her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, 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.
I think the most fascinating part of this novel was the delicate system of the Guardians. How each person's life may rely on another, but nobody really trusts each other. Which bothered me to no end. Not that it was bad on the book's part. It's just that I personally found it frustrating because I couldn't decide who was good and who was bad. That was probably intended by the author. To mess you up. To put suspicious thoughts in your head as you were reading, never trusting anybody.
I loved the author's writing style, which wasn't in the voice of a typical, emotional, sometimes immature teenager. It had this formality to it that went well with the occasional back-in-time trips the novel had. Gwen was quirky, and her funny comments lightened up the mood; which was nice, since the rest of the book is bit more dark and mysterious.
Gwen is smart, and knows how to use her brain. Which is good because she's thrown back in time with absolutely zero training, unlike her super gorgeous and brilliant cousin Charlotte. Speaking of Charlotte and Gwen's other relatives, I found myself grinding my teeth and nearly pulling my hair out with annoyance. Are some people really that rude to their own family? Unbelievable, really. The amount of hatred between their mothers and themselves shocked me and really got on my nerves. I also felt that Gwen, while clever in dangerous situations, sounded a bit shallow with her constant stream of questions. She sounded twelve. I was also extremely aggravated with Gwen's mom. While I felt myself smiling when her mother made dry comments while arguing with her sister (Charlotte's mother), I wanted to scream at the... well, stupidity of her actions. Why protect your daughter and keep her from getting any training? It would only endanger her more. You can't prevent fate just by changing the date on a birth certificate. Talk about a total "shake my head" moment.
The one thing that bothered me the most was Gideon. Sure, he seemed rather attractive, and I was rooting for him as savior of the day, but I just couldn't understand the attraction for him that Gwen had. She said several times he was a snotty, rude boy who actually insulted her, and while that made her mad, she got over it as soon as she saw his face again. Also, he seemed a bit bipolar. Stuck up one moment, and friendly the next. What happened?
One more thing: do people not notice that she talks to ghosts? I mean, some people think she's just talking to her imaginary friends. But others are completely oblivious and she's just going on and on with an unseen being, and the normal people answer her questions like she's talking to them. When she's not. That was weird.
Overall, this was a pretty well paced book, with good action and humor, and I finished it in a rather short amount of time. While its concept of time travel is a little different from what I've normally seen, it's interesting and will definitely appeal to younger YA fans. I thought it was an exciting start to an already popular and bestselling series. It was enjoyable, but not something that particularly stood out to me. I will, however, definitely look out for its sequel, because this book just kind of ended. I want more of this series, and I'm intrigued by what's going to happen next.
As she fell to her knees and burst into tears, he looked all around the park.
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