Genre: YA Science Fiction
Pub. Date: April 28, 2015
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "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."
Imagine the Earth's magnetic poles have shifted and the result leaves us with a dystopian world where people shun technology and revert back to a simpler time. The world is more like the 1700s than any dystopian future in this science fiction novel. Sophia Bellamy leads two lives. At first glance she may appear to be a gentlewoman in high society, but she leads a secret life. She is also the "Red Rook" or a hero of sorts who rescues people from the Razor, which is run by the corrupt LeBlanc. Sophia, her brother, and their friend all work together for a common goal, but what if they are caught? The consequences would be devastating. To make matters more complicated, Sophia is engaged to Rene Hasard, LeBlanc's cousin, with the hopes that his family's fortune will be of benefit to the Bellamy family. Sophia's family pretty much needs to be saved from ruin, thanks to her father's mismanagement. As Sophia gets to know Rene, she realizes there may be more to him than she initially thought. Sharon Cameron's Rook has so much potential. There were many moments when I was on the edge of my seat and completely enthralled, but there were too many other moments that were extremely slow. Ultimately, this lengthy tome left me feeling indifferent.
Sophia is my kind of heroine in Rook. Right off the bat, I knew I would really like her. She's tough, she's smart, and she's outgoing. I loved her fearlessness and her determination. The whole concept of pretending to just be a socialite amongst family and friends, while secretly living a different life as the Red Rook is wholly captivating. I was also on the edge of my seat wondering what she was going to do next and wondering if she would be caught.
At first Rene really didn't strike me as a swoon worthy romantic interest, but as Sophia gets to know him more, I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about his back story. I also wanted to know what secrets he was hiding as there are many! Plus, his relationship with his cousin, LeBlanc, also kept me on the edge of my seat.
The world building was lacking in Rook. I felt that I needed more of a back story from Cameron as to how the characters ended up living in this future world that is more similar to the French Revolution in the 1700s than a dystopian future. I wasn't completely buying that.
I also felt the pacing was off in Rook. When a young adult novel is over 400 pages, it is essential that things keep moving, but that wasn't always the case in Rook. The beginning was very slow and then things would pick up, but then slow down again and my interest would wane. This was my main issue with the novel.
Rook is based on The Scarlet Pimpernel and while I am not too familiar with the story, I like the idea of a retelling of a classic set in a dystopian world. Nonetheless, Rook is not for everyone, especially if you like your stories moving quickly with not a lot of downtime.