Review of ‘Beyond the Ruby Veil’

Beyond the Ruby Veil looks to be something exciting, but it, unfortunately, fails to bring to life the story.

Story Fails

Beyond the Ruby Veil

Beyond the Ruby Veil
by Mara Fitzgerald
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

The most misleading thing is the title of the novel and the opening pages. Fitzgerald creates this mystery surrounding the veil, this shade that covers the sky, keeping it red. I expected there to be more exploration regarding that. However, it feels as though the author decided to scrap her initial storyline and go with something different somewhere along the line.

As a writer, I understand. When you write, you have this idea but then as your writing, the imagination takes over. It just feels like the story ran away from Fitzgerald.

Beyond the Ruby Veil was difficult for me to get into because I had this nagging thought in the back of my head, asking what the mystery of the veil was. I am still wondering what the mystery of it all was.

It was also poorly paced. I love fast-paced stories, but this novel was just so short when I got to the end, I was left flabbergasted. My reaction was: “that is it? That is how this story is going to end?” There was development to the story and plot, but given the pace and the length, it fell short of depth. There was nothing to ground me into the story other than my need not to add this novel to my DNF pile

Poor Characters

Another challenge in reading this novel was the fact that it was difficult to connect to the characters. I was not too fond of Emanuela. Well, that is not true. I loved her at times, and then most of the time, I hated her. Emanuela has a strong personality and many dreams that can make the reader gravitate towards her. That was what I loved about her, her resilience, ferocity, and need to make a name for herself in a world governed by men. All of those qualities made me want to love her, and in those scenes where it is just herself and her thoughts, I did like her.

However, then there was her treatment of her lifelong friend Alessandro.

Let me start by saying I was not Alessandro’s biggest fan, mainly because of the dialogue. I am not too fond of it when authors use so many ellipses in dialogue; it is my biggest pet peeve. A few times, sure it works, but whenever he talks, there are ellipses. I could not stand reading his dialogue because he never got a sentence out without long pauses.

However, Emanuela, she treats him so poorly. He is a punching bag for her. He never stands up to her, until the end, which was excellent character development for him. Nevertheless, she is cruel to him, continually puts him down and calls him names that it was hard to believe they were best friends.

So, when he does turn his back on her, it is to be expected. One cannot treat someone terribly and then not expect them to bite back one day.

Final Thoughts

Beyond the Ruby Veil does deal with many issues such as power, self-harm, abuse, and sexism. Many of the characters are part of the LGBTQ community, giving the community some representation. However, despite those themes, the novel was just one I could not get into. I found it hard to connect to the characters, the story was lackluster to me, and the ending left me unfulfilled.

Will I be reading the sequel? Yes, simply because there was development in the characters near the end. Emanuela finally understood that there were repercussions for her actions, that she could not just do whatever she wanted. However, more than that, I need to see how this story plays out. It had many excellent elements; it just needed more depth.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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Product Details:

Pub Date: October 13, 2020Page Count: 288ppAge Range: 12 & Over
ISBN: 978-1-3680-5213-9Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersList Price: $17.99

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