What a delightful book! It wasn’t brilliant, but it was well done and enjoyable, with one of the most REAL heroines I’ve read in a long time, a character who was genuinely a teenage girl, a normal one with a healthy but realistic self esteem. Brave, but who would admittedly prefer to be eating crisps in front of the telly with her best friend Lesley than off having adventures with a gorgeous but annoying older boy. I found her relationship with Gideon totally appropriate for her age and believable too. Anyone who calls this insta-love doesn’t remember being 16 and being around the most gorgeous older boy imaginable. Of COURSE she was attracted and hopeful. But given how obnoxious he could be, she advocated for and defended herself pretty well, with an appropriate level of (im)maturity for her age. Even more importantly, Gwyneth was likable, and I was rooting for her from the beginning.
Aside from Gideon, who can be a pain from time to time, and one or two of the other Guardians, many of the other characters were likable too. Especially the irrepressible, curious Lesley, who, with her inquisitive nature, was not only a character’s best friend but also an author’s clever expositional device. Gwyneth’s mum and her siblings are also charming, and even Lady Arista seems to me to have hidden depths. I’m curious for more about Lucy and Paul as well.
I didn’t realize until I was significantly into the book that it had been translated from German. The only reason I even realized that was because the tone seemed so authentically British, with its loos and underground and crisps and all, that I checked to see if the book had been published in England first. Imagine my surprise when I saw it was published in GERMANY instead. Exciting! The translation work was brilliant–even the poetry flowed and rhymed in English, and I never felt like I was reading some awkward, lesser version of an original work.
The ending caught me by surprise–I wasn’t ready for the story to end yet! This book just flew by, and I can’t wait to start the second one, Sapphire Blue. Waiting for Emerald Green to be released in its English translation is going to be difficult.