By Sharon Cameron
Summary: 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.
Source: I purchased a paperback
Rook was basically a futuristic France where technology failed society and they no longer trust or use it, living in a society that resembled time before technology. It was quite the unique situation and I enjoyed the blend of historical with post apocalyptic. It wasn’t so much a retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel, but there were certainly elements that were obviously inspired by the classic. While I have not read the classic, I was familiar with the gist, and the book paid homage to it in a way I enjoyed.
It was thought that the fall of society was due to their complete dependence on technology, unable to do hard labor or make difficult decisions because of their dependence, so when the world fell, so did most of the world. The exact details weren’t given, but the overall result was a society that was anti-technology, punishing and executing those who used and cherished inventions with many societies adopting Anti-Technology Laws. While I don’t know that I agree with the conclusions and I wonder why, if history was all but lost, they’d so closely adapt to a time period. Instead, I would’ve expected a blend of pre-technology societies and habits, but I’m not picky about the result. I understood the point and the reasoning, even if I don’t find it all that plausible. I think the author did well with her setting, despite whether I agree with the plausibility of that setting.
I enjoyed Rook. The story was compelling. Sophia acted as the Red Rook, saving prisoners with elaborate plans, while everyone chased who they thought would most obviously be a man. Her arranged fiancé was intriguing, but related to the man who sought the Red Rook, which created a major conflict full of miscommunication, mystery, and adventure. My only major complaint was that, despite the short length, it took longer than expected to get through. Something about the writing made it difficult and slightly boring at times, but other times I was completely sucked in. I’m not completely sure if the author was using a lot of passive voice, but that’s kind of what it was like.. not a whole lot of straight and to the point action, but elaborate Ah-ha moments that took forever to uncover, like the end of a Scooby-Doo episode where they sit around and talk about how they knew what was what. Which was fun in it’s own way, but it certainly made for a less engrossing book.
Still, I’d recommend Rook to fans of historical fiction and YA dystopian who feel like they’d appreciate the unique blend and aren’t afraid of the somewhat slow pace.