Fiction Recommendations WIT

Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier, translated by Anthea Bell

Stars: 3 of 5 

I’m reviewing these two together because I had the fortunate ability to read them in succession and am not even sure where the one left off and the other started. Of course, this wouldn’t have been a problem if I had stopped to write the review of Sapphie Blue before starting Emerald Green, but I also don’t think it takes away from the fun of the series to review them together. 

As mentioned in the review for Ruby Red, this is a really fun series. Is it a little ridiculous sometimes? Yeah, if you’re not a fan of YA romance it can seem a little too predictable and a little like the characters are too hormonal. Both of those things are true but there were still a few surprises and I don’t mind the YA version of romance. I don’t say this to be insulting to the YA reader or to people of the ages of youth, but first love tends to be a little more breathless and all that than what comes later. We ask a little more of our first loves and maybe haven’t learned to give as much either. 

That said, Gwyneth and Gideon and Leslie are still great fun, if not more so in the books in that carry on the series. They can be a little one dimensional at times, but that There are some shakeups but at the end of the story, it all pans out in a way that is both different and the same as I would have guessed at the beginning depending on the plotline we’re talking about. I love that. I love feeling like I could see where some things are going and be absolutely wrong about others. 

My favorite thing about these later books is the way that time circles back around to moments from the first book and we get to see what was going on. I felt like I spent the whole first book looking for these moments and the wait was well worth it in all cases. 

So far as the feminism of the books, there are some things that make me think some feminists could enjoy it and others maybe not so much. Gwyneth is strong and determined and calls out sexism at times, but sometimes only in her head before getting whisked away somewhere by the male characters. Part of where I feel like the book does well, though, is that she’s admittedly in a sexist organization and attempting to make headway against the men all thinking of her as childish and stupid from the start. That they underestimate her does work out to her benefit sometimes. Still, the nature of the way her hormones can overtake her concentration on the work at hand when the love interest is around can be problematic and could turn off feminist readers. 

It relates to that subgenre of sci-fi that Mindy Kaling mentions in Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? where the rules are different from the regular human world even in the romantic bits. Or maybe there are places where boys act like Gideon and girls act like Gwyneth when he’s around. Either way, I enjoyed the premise and the adorable naivete of the love story and would recommend it to anyone else who likes YA romance with a twist, or even YA science fiction or fantasy, but maybe not all feminists.

Remember the Precious Stones trilogy for Women in Translation Month in August!  Here are links to add these two to your Goodreads TBR: Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green

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