The Ruby Circle

The Ruby CircleIt’s a sign you like a series when you’re willing to try to overlook—albeit to ultimately still be largely infuriated by and not be able to forget—an incredibly annoying error on page one of the latest release.

The series? Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines. The new book? The Ruby Circle. The error? Having Adrian (the male protagonist) wish Sydney (the female protagonist and his wife) a happy anniversary.

‘Anniversary’ is a commonly misused term. It comes from the Latin anniversārius. According to the Macquarie Dictionary, it means the:

  1. yearly recurrence of the date of a past event
  2. celebration of such a date.

So, a yearly celebration. Mead had Adrian wish Sydney a happy one-month anniversary.

I get that Mead might not have understood she was misusing the word. But I don’t get that her editor didn’t. Especially when there was an easy out if Mead was adamant she wanted to use the word even though it was wrong: Sydney—grammatically and punctuationally astute Sydney—could have explained the year-related Latin origins of the word.

Now, legions of tweens will continue to mince anniversary’s meaning. It might seem like a small nitpicky thing to pick up on and something to be relegated to the realm of pet hate, but the incorrect application of anniversary is an annoying, avoidable error nonetheless. Reading it on page one? I was incensed.

The Ruby Circle doesn’t exactly start happily either, which didn’t help my first page-induced harrumphs. ‘Married life wasn’t what I expected’ is the first line. Adrian and Sydney are holed up at Moroi HQ, avoiding the Alchemists, who are outraged about Sydney’s escape from their re-education camp clutches. Oh, and her marriage to a vampire. The couple’s relationship isn’t exactly accepted by the Moroi and Dhampirs either, so it’s a miserable existence all round.

But Mead did manage to make me smile on page 3, where she includes jokes about possible songs Adrian and Sydney could have: ‘She Blinded Me With Science’ is deemed a better option than ‘Tainted Love’.

The Ruby Circle admittedly felt a bit samey as the previous Bloodlines books, but that’s not always a terrible thing. It picks up one month from where the last book left off, so the sameness could arguably be considered consistency.

For those of us (read: me) who’d forgotten how the previous book ended, Jill has been kidnapped and Sydney and co. have no idea who has taken her or why. With no leads to follow combined with Adrian and Sydney being cooped up, the characters are desperate to break out, solve the mystery, vanquish the enemy, and rescue Jill. In the interim, they’re all doing battle with their inner demons and doubts.

So, in all, reasonably compelling storylines. And, despite some of the usual plot holes so large you could drive a metaphorical bus through them (The Olive storyline with its tenuous reasoning? Pah. The fact that Sydney, the character that analyses everything and formulates a plan for every iota of her life sticks her hand in a weird robot dinosaur box with nary a second thought? Please.), I did for the most part enjoy The Ruby Circle.

There are the usual (and appreciated) zingers: ‘Has everyone decided which brave roles they’ll be taking on?’ Ms Terwilliger asks as the group concocts an insane scheme to go find and rescue Jill. ‘I can’t wait to see his nunchucks,’ Eddie says, as he and Sydney go to collect some weapons amid a herd of attack Chihuahuas.

Also, Rose and Dimitri finally make an appearance, which is what we’ve been waiting for all along. Strangely, I’d finally given up hoping and had actually been enjoying the Sydney and Adrian storyline, so I wasn’t as beside myself with excitement as I’d have otherwise been. Still, I’m not complaining. Moar Rose and Dimitri is always welcome.

I’m unsure how many books Mead has planned for the Bloodlines series. The Vampire Academy series was six in total—a number Bloodlines has, with The Ruby Circle, now equalled. While the book’s ending was final-ish, there was plenty there that would facilitate Mead picking up and running with it.

Which is obviously what I’d like her to do. I’m not yet ready to say goodbye to Sydney and Adrian, or Rose and Dimitri, especially if they’re about to start going on adventures together. I’d just like Mead and her editor to check the meanings of the words they employ. Another ‘anniversary’ annoyance and, frankly, I’ll maybe, possibly be out.

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Fiona Crawford

Fiona Crawford is a freelance writer, editor, blogger, proofreader, and voracious reader. She regularly appears as a book reviewer in Australian BOOKSELLER+PUBLISHER magazine. Fiona is also (unfairly) known as the Book Burglar due to her penchant for buying family members—then permanently borrowing—books she wants to read herself.