Author: Suzanne Young
Blurb: When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she’s grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother’s death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.
Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions—including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey’s pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn't have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel’s dark past.
The more Audrey learns about the new people she's met, the more her curiosity grows. She’s torn in different directions—the pull of her past with its overwhelming loss, the promise of a future that holds little joy, and an in-between life in a place that is so much more than it seems…
Welcome to the Ruby.
"The sparkle of the chandelier sets everything ablaze with magic, timeless and alive. A never-ending party at the Ruby - where you can stay tonight or stay forever."
I didn't much know what to expect going in to Hotel Ruby. I loved Suzanne Young's Program duology but this seemed entirely different. And it really was. Not in an entirely good way.
Audrey was a character I did grow to like, though never love, and I found she behaved in ways that seemed very odd to me. And from the start she annoyed me with the absolutely constant flirting. For a girl whose mother just recently died and who just broke up with her boyfriend this seemed a bit weird. Although maybe it was her way of coping. However when, in the first chapter alone, she has flirted or been flirted with three times by three different people it starts to get frustrating.
The romance was not to my taste. It was a definite case of insta-love which I almost always dislike and I found that, though I liked Elias they never really had enough of a connection to convince me that theirs was a timeless true love. It always felt like more of a rebound. She talked about her ex-boyfriend a lot, especially at the beginning and although I do believe she was no longer in love with him I do not believe she was ready to jump into something serious with someone she had only just met.
"We're all hormones as we sit at a small table on the back patio, gazing stupidly at each other."
I would have liked more time spent on her family relationships. She had a really good, though complicated relationship with her brother that I would have liked to read more about. Not least because her brother Daniel was probably one of my favourite characters of the book. And her Father I felt didn't really progress throughout the book. I'm not asking for a major attitude turn-around but some development or conversation or something would have been nice.
The plot was intriguing although it was fairly obvious from the start what was going on and who the guests/staff really were. But I was still excited to see how it all resolved and I did, for the most part, like the ending. I would have liked a bit more resolution as to what happens next though. Although I liked the ending it felt like once the "evil" was defeated it was all just done and I would have liked some wrap-up.
As I mentioned - Audrey and Daniel's mother has just died and there are a few flashbacks and mentions throughout the book to before her death and to just after her death. However I didn't really feel connected to her Mother. I get very attached to characters very easily and I cry at the drop of a hat so it's kind of surprising to me that I never really felt sad about her death. Daniel definitely seemed to feel more grief than Audrey so perhaps reading a book from his perspective would have felt different.
Overall, I was just a little disappointed with Hotel Ruby. Suzanne Young did such a great job with The Program that I was just expecting a little more engagement in her characters and her plot. I did enjoy the plot but the lack of a connection with the characters and their relationships really let the book down for me.