by Sharon Cameron
Read: April 13 - 20, 2015
Published: April 28, 2015 by Scholastic Press
Source: ALA via Danielle @ Love at First Page
Category: YA, future/dystopian, history themes, Paris, England,
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound
History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. Is the mysterious Red Rook a savior of the innocent or a criminal?
Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.
As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse.
Set-up Sometime in a future time when the world is a different place - though maybe not so much, Sophia Bellamy is a socialite from the Commonwealth (formerly Britain) whose family is relying on her arranged marriage to save their home and her father from debtors prison. She's also secretly the Red Rook, rescuing families from death by razor (also known as a guillotine) in the Sunken City that was once known as Paris. Her fiancé René Hasard appears to be a fool whose favorite occupations are fine clothing and flirting, but of course, appearances can be deceiving. The question is, what is true and what is false, and can Sophie save her family and her loved ones from the razor before she or anyone else is killed?
My Breakdown The tagline on the cover of Rook is "What will be has already been…" and I love how author Shannon Cameron plays off of the The Scarlet Pimpernel and the French Revolution but with a fresh twist, setting her story in a future world that fears technology and is fascinated by the past. History has always been my favorite subject, especially when I can connect to it through stories, and I enjoyed the opportunity to see our current world as the distant past. Watching the characters emulate 18th and 19th century clothing styles, try to figure out the uses for objects they've found from our time, an also seeing how the landscape of the world has changed, fascinated me. But more sobering is the theme that history repeats itself in horrifying ways, as we witness the Sunken City undergo another blood soaked revolution against the wealthy.
Neither Sophia or René are what they seem, and watching them discover that about each other is one the best parts of this story. They do not like each other at first, but the more they work together, the more that changes. Even when he is playing a fool, I loved René, and the romance features some heart melting moments, but I swooned the most because René sees Sophia clearly, always supports her and never tries to change who she is. He is what great love interests are made of. Although it takes her more time, Sophie too, comes to love all of René's character. I really liked the way this story incorporates the theme of seeing and accepting all parts of a person, as well as the danger that comes when you try and make a person one thing or the other. People - and life - aren't black and white, but made up of a lot of other colors as well, an idea that carries through this plot in more areas than the romance.
This book is dense and not quickly moving, especially through the first half. I would read and read, and find I hadn't gone many pages. But I was never bored, and couldn't wait go get back to reading it again. Sophia is the main narrator, but we get a few glimpses of René as well as several other characters. The switching third person perspective slowed down the narrative, although I enjoyed digging into the characters and the setting, as this pacing allowed. However, it was in the last 100 pages that this pacing affected my reading experience. The dense text coupled with the continually switching perspectives through the climax became more tedious than exciting. Then once the climax is reached, the story continues for several more chapters. I think some of the drawn out action, and especially the after section, could have been condensed.
Despite the pacing and extended content issues, I enjoyed this book tremendously, and would definitely recommend it. You don't want to miss sword wielding Sophia or gold jacket, hair powder wearing René.
Love Triangle Factor: None - Another character is interested in Sophia and that does affect the plot, but she is always clear whom she wants and does not waver.
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone, as far as I know. The ending is settled, however, the last few pages set up the potential for a future story.