Thursday, July 2, 2015

Book Review: Rook by Sharon Cameron

Pages: 456
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.  


16 comments:

  1. I love The Scarlet Pimpernel and if I'd known this book was based on it I probably would have added it to my TBR list. Your review gives me pause though about the pacing but maybe I can check out a copy from the library to give it a try.

    Have you read Diana Peterfreund's Across a Star-Swept Sea? It is futuristic scifi based on The Scarlet Pimpernel (the first book For Darkness Shows the Stars was based on Persuasion by Jane Austen) and I really liked it.

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    1. You should check it out if you are a fan of The Scarlet Pimpernel...although I heard the connections are pretty loose. I loved Across a Star-Swept Sea! Much better in terms of world-building than this novel. Thanks for visiting, Christina!

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  2. Yes! The pacing was my main issue with this one too Christina! I wanted to like it so much, but it took me a long time to get into, and then just like you said, it would pick up a bit and then slow right back down. I ended up not finishing it even though I really liked Sophia. Lovely review:)

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    1. I am so glad to hear this as well, Jenny. I thought maybe it was just me. The fact that you DNF'd the book definitely make me feel validated. Thanks for visiting!

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  3. Well, it's a shame that this one didn't pan out too well because the story sounds pretty enticing. Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Christina; hope you're having a great day!

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    1. Yeah, it's a bummer when that happens, especially when the book has so much potential. Thanks for visiting, Tara!

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  4. Always fun to have a fearless and determined MC! We need more of those. Shame about the worldbuilding / pacing, though.

    Great review :D

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    1. I really enjoyed Sophia...it's a shame! Thanks for visiting, Lea!

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  5. Oh man. That's just too bad. I feel like the synopsis gave us a taste of what's in store only to let us down. Especially when it comes to the world building. I mean, how could it not deliver?!

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    1. I know, right?! If an author creates a really unique setting, I am going to need a lot of world-building, a map, the works...you know? And that wasn't the case here. Thanks for visiting, Joy!

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  6. Thanks for your honest review!! I'm still intrigued by this one! I don't mind a slower moving story :)

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Carrie. I hope you do read it and let me know your thoughts.

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  7. Ugh. I DO like my stories to move quickly. I don't mind a slow burning book every once in a while when it is consistent, but I hate it when books are too long for no reason. I have this book, and was planning on trying to get to it, but I'll probably skip now. Great review!

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    1. I don't blame you....I powered through it, but not really sure why I did. There were some good moments that sucked me in, I guess. Thanks for visiting, Natalie!

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  8. I agree there was definitely some slow moments in Rook and I definitely felt the same way about Sophia and Rene--he was a bit shifty at first, but definitely grew on me!

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    1. Yeah, the pacing was really off for me at times, but I completely enjoyed the character of Sophia, so I was really torn. I'm glad you felt the same way. Thanks for visiting, Becky!

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