Series Review - The Ruby Redfort series by Lauren Child

Title: Ruby Redfort (#1-#6)
Series: Ruby Redfort 
Author: Lauren Child
Publication: 2011-2016, Harper Collins Children's Books
Pages: 1889 Pages, Hardback
Source: My library!
Rating: 4.5/5 cupcakes!

A collection of all 6 books in the super-awesome Ruby Redfort series!
Hey, buster! Normal life is a total yawn. So break out boredom with multi-million-copy bestselling author Lauren Child, and meet your new favourite heroine… Ruby Redfort: detective, secret agent, thirteen-year-old kid.
Here’s the low-down on Ruby Redfort: she’s a genius code-cracker, a daring detective, and a gadget-laden special agent. She and her slick side-kick butler, Hitch, foil crimes and get into loads of scrapes with evil villains, but they’re always ice-cool in a crisis.
An anonymous caller lures Ruby into the HQ of the most secret of secret agencies – SPECTRUM. They need her help to crack a code but her desk job soon spirals into an all-out action-adventure, as Ruby uncovers the dastardly plans of the formidable Fool’s Gold Gang…
This time it’s an adventure on the wide open ocean, and Ruby is all at sea… Can she crack the case of the Twinford pirates while evading the clutches of a vile sea monster, as well as the evil Count von Viscount? Well, you wouldn’t want to bet against her…
Tigers are roaming the streets, and it looks like someone has deliberately released some very rare and very dangerous animals. Things are going to get wild – and Ruby is going to get badly lost in the wilderness. The question is: will she ever make it out alive?
Ruby must pit her wits against a seemingly invisible foe. How do you set your sights on catching a light-fingered villain if you can’t even see him…?
There’s a lot to lose sleep over in Twinford: there’s the snakes and the bivalves, but they aren’t half as poisonous as the rumours. With so many twists and turns it’s hard to know who to trust, particularly when no one trusts you. Will Ruby make it out in one piece? Well, happy endings are for fairy tales, bozo.
All good things come to an end… Ruby Redfort is running scared, a whole bunch of people want her dead and worst of all one of them is on her team. But just who is this agent of doom? You can run, Ruby, but you can’t hide…
This year I want to try to do more series reviews. I've been reading for a long time, and I realised that 90% of the time, the only time I'll ever finish a series is if I binge read it in one go. I have a memory of a goldfish when it comes to books, so in order for me to keep my bearings, I have to read them all in one go - which is what I did here! Kind of. Mostly. My marathoning of this series was interspersed with other books so it took me awhile to finish the whole thing, but I did it! Yay me!

Me and the Ruby Redfort series go back a long way. If you're not familiar with the series or the author, Lauren Child wrote another series called Clarice Bean which was a big part of my childhood. If you're not familiar with Clarice Bean, maybe you're familiar with her other series Charlie and Lola. In the Clarice Bean series, Clarice Bean (the protagonist) had a favourite book series called Ruby Redfort. So, the author decided to actually write the Ruby Redfort books which was GENIUS and totally blew my twelve-year-old mind. I bought the first book in the series when it first came out...but I never read it. I was keeping it for a rainy day or a day when I really In the Mood™️, as I am such a mood reader. Well, that day eventually came eight years later (don't judge me). My original copy of the book is still in storage in South Africa but when I downloaded my library's ebook app, I saw the whole series was on there! So the binge-reading ensued! 

So even though I read the series recently, it's something sentimental to me and something inextricably linked to my childhood which is always a lovely thing to say about a book. 
Ruby is a thirteen-year-old genius. She cracks codes, notices things that most other people don't. She's highly perceptive. She's courageous and sassy, honest and undeniably loyal. I liked Ruby. She's a great role model for characters in the sense that she's very confident in herself and doesn't consider changing who she is to please other people. If I'm being honest myself, Ruby initially slightly annoyed me because she felt too perfect. She's amazing at everything she does, very privileged, and seemingly without flaws. HOWEVER, throughout the series her character was explored more and she became more complex and fleshed out. There was subtle exploration on how the near-death-experiences she had encountered affected her psychologically, as well as failure on certain missions and fears that arose. Initially, Ruby came across as unflappable and almost robotic in the sense that she didn't seem to actually fear anything nor fail at anything, so I liked that throughout the series she felt more relatable. Although I liked Ruby, she did irk me at times. I think this is probably due to me reading this as an adult instead of a young teenager, but she was too sassy at times and also very irresponsible, not thinking about risks. She thought she was invincible which was explored in the fourth book, did frustrate me at times.

Then there was Clancy Crew, Ruby's best friend. Clancy is also incredibly honest and unwavering in his loyalty. Clancy I could relate with more. He's more cautious about things and not as impulsive as Ruby. I loved how he supported her through everything. He's a wonderful character!

One of my absolute favourite characters was Hitch, one of Spectrum's agents who guides and assists Ruby as she works for Spectrum. He also works for Ruby's family as their "butler" after sustaining a gunshot injury. I LOVE Hitch. He's always there to help Ruby out and set her straight if she's too reckless or putting her life at risk. I love how he listens to Ruby when a lot of people initially brush off her observations. I love what a great mentor he is to her.

I also love Mrs. Digby, Ruby's housekeeper who has known her and Ruby's mother since they were babies. She doesn't take nonsense, she's direct, she's strong, she's wise and also a little bit sassy.

Ruby's parents were excellent additions to the story too! They were utterly hilarious. Slightly dim but affable and good-natured. Their dialogue was brilliant and they brought subtle comedy to the series.

There were other characters that added heart and dimension to the series: LB, Blacker, Ruby's other friends and, yes, even Froghorn. 

One of the things I love about reading a series is how with each installment, you get to know the characters more. With each book the emotional attachment to them grows and you feel as if you really know them. After I read the last book, I felt quite sad as I had spent so much time with the characters that they had begun to feel like friends. 
I really enjoyed the plots for each of these! The first three books were good, but they began to get really intense from the fourth book. I finished the fifth and sixth book one day after the other. The stakes are raised, loyalty is questioned, paranoia reigns and danger lurks around the corner. The intensity is amplified in the final three books and it had my eyes glued to the page. I quite literally couldn't put them down.

Each book has a separate mystery but there's a bigger mystery that spans the entire series. I loved working out the clues with Ruby and seeing how everything fit together. There were mysteries that involved poison, mysterious sea creatures, arctic survival was thrilling and completely riveting. 

These books are perfect for escapism. They're filled with secret agencies, incredible gadgets, chilling villains and entertaining story lines. It's perfect to get lost in. Another thing I love about this series, and which I believe adds to its charm, is that it has a vintage quality to it. I only realised in the last book that this book is set in 1974 (I did wonder why there was no mention of mobile phones). Dispersed among Ruby's sleuthing adventures are mundane activities that

Although the plot was the primary focus in this series, relationships between the characters were well-constructed and genuine. I loved the friendship between Ruby and Clancy. They trusted one another completely and were incredibly honest and loyal to one another. They had contrasting personalities and I believe that's why their dynamics were so well-balanced. 

I loved the relationship between Hitch and Ruby too. He was always there for Ruby, stuck up for her, listened to her, and advised her. He was like a cool uncle, I guess. I absolutely loved Hitch! 

I also loved Ruby's relationship with Blacker, one of the agents she worked with in Spectrum. I loved how they worked on cases together and also ate donuts together. I have a best friend who I eat donuts with - it's a good friendship to have.

I loved how the relationships grew and were tested throughout the series. 💕
I really enjoyed the writing. Ruby Redfort is a children's book that doesn't read like a children's books. There's no over-simplification of things nor childish humor. It's compelling and written with sharp wit and charm that readers of any age will appreciate.

I also adored the setting that Lauren Child created: the city of Twinford. I loved how the city sometimes played an integral role in the mysteries. I loved learning about the history of Twinford and the residents of the town. I love it when books create worlds or cities in them, it just makes the reading experience that much more interactive and enjoyable! 

I loved the Ruby Redfort series. It's a super sleuthing, secret agent adventure. I grew to completely love the characters, friendships, and mysteries that the series was filled with. It was compelling, riveting, and at times, unputdownable. If you're looking for a lighthearted, secret agent adventure then this is what you need!

I give it: 4.5/5 cupcakes