Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ruby in the Smoke

Title: Ruby in the Smoke
Author: Phillip Pullman
Genre: Mystery
Published: 1985
Series: Sally Lockhart Trilogy (Book 1)
Next in Series: Shadow in the North

Puzzled by a mysterious letter after her father’s death, Sally sets out to find out what the Seven Blessings are and how they’re connected to her father’s last days. Little does she realize that she’s tossing herself into two different mysteries. As if that weren’t enough, Sally is troubled by a lifelong nightmare, an old biddy out to kill her, and a lack of money for rent Sally’s days are never free of stress, but she handles it well and finds friends along the way.

Sally Lockhart certainly has her strengths and weaknesses, but does her best to turn everything to her advantage. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. Still, I felt like I never really got to know Sally herself: that she didn’t really let her guard down. And that’s how it was for most of the characters. Perhaps that will get better later in the series.

Victorian London in Ruby in the Smoke is not quite what actual Victorian London was. Everyone was far too ok with Sally, a single and unescorted female, roaming around places she shouldn’t have been.

This story is told from third person omniscient point of view.

My Thoughts:
While it is entertaining, I found Ruby in the Smoke a bit historically inaccurate as to how women were expected to act in Victorian England. The characters were a little flat, but that doesn’t detract from the story. It was a worthwhile read overall, and I’m planning on getting the next book soon.

Favorite Scene:
Sally telling off Mrs. Rees was great. Reading about people not taking guff when they don’t deserve it really makes my day.

Who this book is best for:
Middle school kids, boys and girls, who want a fun romp in the past full of intrigue and suspense.

Violence: 3 of 5 for murder and opiate use

Stars: 3 of 5


Bobbi Drake said...

I've been curious about this book for a while. didn't realize you'd read it.

Book Dame said...

It was alright. Not stellar, didn't stand out in any way from other books I've read... Go with the Lady Julia Grey over Sally Lockheart if you want a female Victorian Detective.