Ruby (Ruby, #1)

First Lines: The man ran through the woods.  He felt his heart beat quickly in his chest, not from exertion, but from fear.  He had failed and he knew the penalty, dealt by her, would be swift and permanent.

I was asked by the author to read and review this.  I was interested and, obviously, took her up on her offer.  When I find (or take) a better picture of the cover, I will replace it.  Probably.

In 1692, Salem was a dangerous place to be.  A particularly volatile witch named Natasha Sullivan trapped a demon inside a music box and made a prophecy saying he would kill the Lumen Child when the time came.  If the Lumen Child were to die, darkness and evil would quickly overwhelm the world, ruling it once and for all.  Natasha’s twin sister Sarah, after hearing what Natasha has done, creates a prophecy herself, foretelling the unity between three girls who would be the Lumen Child’s protectors.  These girls aren’t sisters, but they share a destiny.  Ruby is the first of these witches.  After nearly dying after her identity is discovered and her powers manifest, Ruby is saved by her grandmother, a powerful white witch.  Ruby must learn everything she can to protect what is good.

Most of that lengthy synopsis takes place in the first chapter.  All the historical stuff gets taken care of quickly.  It’s mostly just background information to the rest of the story, but the Salem aspects are what caught my attention.

Alright, so this could have been better.  At 170 pages, it seemed entirely too short.  This hindered so much: plot development, character development, etc.  I really wish it had been longer.  I don’t know if this was because of a page limit that was enforced or just how the story was.  But there could have been much more attention put into allowing the characters to blossom and allowing us to know them better.  Near the end, I realized I didn’t know Ruby well enough to tell you what kind of clothes she would normally wear.  Or what her favorite color was.  This made dialogue feel awkward and some of the action to feel rushed or out of place.

I did like Ruby.  She’s got spirit.  But I just didn’t know enough about her to forge a real connect to her.  The sympathy card seems to be the main one that is played here to get you to connect to her.  It would have been better if more of her personality was allowed to shine.

A few smaller plot points seemed to have been dropped as well.  They were wrapped up quickly or explained away in a sentence or two.  This again goes back to the shortness of the book.  I like to think that if it had been longer, this would have been fixed.

All that said, I saw some promise in this.  The writing style is good and parts of the magical world are inventive and charming.  There were little things that I was quite taken with.  I think that if the series is allowed to grow and flourish (and expand its page numbers), this could turn into an entertaining series.  Something to watch, at the very least.

I struggled a little with ranking this.  Somewhere between 3.5 and 4 is where I want to put it, but I’ll settle on a low 4.

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