Synopsis: Soon after Sally Lockhart’s father drowns at sea, she receives an anonymous letter. The dire warning it contains makes a man die of fear at her feet. Determined to discover the truth about her father’s death, Sally is plunged into a terrifying mystery in the dark heart of Victorian London, at the centre of which lies a deadly blood-soaked jewel.
Title: Ruby in the Smoke
Author: Philip Pullman
I read His Dark Material’s trilogy at school and absolutely loved it, I also read The Ruby in the Smoke and, although I don’t recall loving it, I didn’t hate it. In fact, I didn’t remember it, and that was enough reason for me to pick it up again. Unfortunately, once I started reading I realised why I didn’t remember it … it wasn’t memorable; at least, not as an adult.
Like all Pullman’s books, this is an extremely well-written novel set in the world of Victorian penny-dreadfuls. The heroes are beautiful and clean-living and the villains are twisted crones; everything is as it should be which, for a children’s book, is fine. But I’ve come to expect so much more from books, especially after His Dark Materials. So when it came to this, I was left wanting.
To make matters worse, I wasn’t drawn to the cover (not the worst thing), and the text was just too small … yep, it’s official. I’m old.
Ruby in the Smoke is an enjoyable fast-paced and easy read. Will I forget about it again? Probably. Would I recommend it? Probably not.