Format: E-Book, 464 pages
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: YA | Science Fiction
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 800 years into the future in a place known as the Sunken City, ROOK is a young adult dystopian novel that blends together a mix of the Dark Ages, without any of the technology that we enjoy today; with the French Revolution under Maximilien Robespierre and his ideas of banning religion, using the working class in an attempt to bring down the aristocracy, and putting people to the death by way of the Razor (Guillotine) who disagree with his revolution.
ROOK is Cameron's own flattering re-imaging of The Scarlet Pimpernel where a mysterious character rescues those who are scheduled to face the Guillotine. 18 year old Sophia Bellamy is the person behind the "Le Corbeau Rouge" or Red Rook mask. She is daring and courageous in her mission of rescuing the wrongly accused of being traitors under Premier Allemande. She also leaves a red-tipped rook feather behind in order to let Allemande know she doesn't agree with HIS or Albert LeBlanc's revolution.
Sophia is by far one of the most entertaining characters that I've read about in recent memory. She's a strong character who doesn't desire her father's help in guiding her life or her attempts to do good for those who are suffering under Allemande's rule. Sophia isn't a foolish character, nor does she run around every 30 seconds whining about how hard her life is. Sophia lives in the Commonwealth, which is basically England. The citizens are Luddite's who truly believe that technology destroyed the world during the Great Death.
History repeats itself in ROOK with 18th century fashions, hairstyles, makeup, and the idea of sending off your daughters to marry wealthy men in order to save your property from being taken away. When you think about Allemende's attempt at class warfare, and killing those that don't agree with him or his politics, well, we see the same ideas raising their ugly heads today, haven't we?
The romance was actually entertaining, which, yes, surprised me since I was prepared for an all-out twisted love triangle which infests the Young Adult genre. Sophia meets her match in Parisian Rene Hasard who she ends up betrothed to in an attempt to save her family's land, her father's life, and stopping the Commonwealth from taking the property away. Like Sophia, Rene has a few secrets of his own, and his family is definitely one of the most entertaining that you will read about, especially Emile and Maman. The romance isn't love at first sight. It is painful at times, and grinds up pages before Sophia and Rene find common ground. But, in the end, it works like a charm.
I'll say this about ROOK, it has so many different twists and turns and surprises that you will need to take notes to remember what happened and to whom. ROOK is an entertaining story, with a not so original idea of using a polar shift to destroy mankind and the resulting refusal of future generations to fall back on the technology they blame for the world's destruction. Although polar shifts are extremely rare occurrences, they have happened. Pole's reverse themselves about every 200,000 to 300,000 years. Add to the mix subsequent holes in the ozone and the resulting fall of technology, and here's hoping that we don't have a polar shift any time in OUR lifetimes!
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