Book Review: The Ruby Locket – Intertwining Destinies in a World of Secrets

Book Review: The Ruby Locket – Intertwining Destinies in a World of Secrets

The Ruby Locket by Melissa Wray is a dystopian, science fiction novel with a dual narrative about two strong characters, Kerina and Saxon, whose destinies entangle when Kerina, a girl with special abilities, runs for her life and is saved by Saxon who, although has lost so much already, risks the safety of himself and what’s left of his family to protect her. This unexpected meeting leads them to a journey of discovering truths about who they are, the people around them and the world they live in.

This book is an easy, fast-paced read. The short chapters make it easier to read, while the captivating story encourages you to keep reading. Although I read through the book quickly because of the fast-paced events and writing style, at times I found things to be passing too quickly or occurring too sudden. Especially the ending, I believe, happens too sudden that the reader does not have the time to digest what is happening. Similarly, some parts of the book happen without much leading up to the event or they happen too quickly for the reader to digest or indulge, depending on the event. I would’ve not just wanted to see some parts slowed down and the ending being expanded but this story being split into a series, at least a trilogy. That would’ve given space for the slow pace for certain parts that needed, as well as a more satisfactory ending.

Each character is well-developed with distinctive characteristics, interesting backstories and quite a few strong-willed characters. Again, relating to my previous comment, I would’ve liked to see more of them and learned more about them which a series would have allowed us to. I would’ve liked to learn more about their pasts and their futures. I would’ve liked to see more complexity of the villain, Governess, through some backstories, as well as learn more about characters like Vera and Anastasia.

One important thing that this book lacked for me, though again is probably because of the lack of space, is strong relationships. By that, I do not only mean romantic relationships, which I also didn’t find sufficient enough. The revolutionary connections and the support Kerina receive from various people is quite admirable, the cause-related relationship, the trust, support and bravery are well-established. However, I would’ve liked to see multiple romantic interests, a developing brotherly bond between Saxon and Ryen who had a common father figure, as well as similar past experiences, developing friendship between Kerina and Vera, the rather sisterly bond between Kerina and Constance, the emerging father-daughter bond of Kerina and her new-found father and more of Kerina and Saxon’s relationship. I believe these kinds of books attract the reader’s attention the most with the complex characters and relationships that they connect with.

It would’ve also been interesting to see this book going more fantastical with more to discover about the Okodee abilities. After the hype in the first half of the book, what we find out is rather underwhelming.

The best thing about this book, apart from the characters, is the story itself. It’s full of adventure, quests of self-discovery and sense-making of the world as it is, has been and should be. It carries a very important message of warning for humanity of what the future could hold for us if we don’t change our present. The scorching of the earth and the illness that wipes out a great proportion of the human population remind me of the effects of climate change, the Australian fires and the current pandemic which is an important reference that reminds us that that possible future may not be too distant. The lack of a specific time period stated in the story also contributes to this message that this may be closer than we think. Additionally, the vaccine story reminds me of how little we know about the long-term effects of some of the Covid vaccines. Though there is hyperbole with the vaccines in the book used for the story’s sake, it is still a reminder that we may not know what the future would bring. These connections of the world of The Ruby Locket and our current world are an intriguing aspect of this novel.

With its interesting characters, captivating story, shock and mystery elements, and the well-established dystopic world, though it could’ve been improved at some parts, The Ruby Locket was an enjoyable and easy read.

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