By Sharon Cameron
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.
At first this was a very, very confusing book. The setting and time period are essential in understanding this novel. From what I could gather, Sophia and René live in a future where the French is called “Parisian” and not many speak this, Germany is called “Allemande” and it has taken over France, which is called the “Sunken City” There is a language called “Commonwealth” which may be either English or German, considering that “Allemande” has taken over the “Sunken City”.
Are you guys following me so far? This took me a quarter of the way in to understand this. There’s more…
The Rook time period is when everything we know now is lost, like they call a lighter (the ones used to light cigarettes) a “firelighter” and how a clock works is completely foreign to them. Our world is forgotten in Rook world. You get my drift? We are years and years into the future. The time period we are in today is called “Ancient” in Rook.
ONE MORE THING. There was a polar shift which caused world destruction. So Rook is kinda like the rebuilding of the world from this polar shift. The polar shift is explained as the nonalignment of the poles (North and South) and Cameron explored the possibility of life during and post-polar shift. The polar shift caused a epidemic called “Great Death” where the radiation from the sun causes disease because the shifting of the poles couldn’t protect the world from the sun’s radiation.
Along with disease, technology was destroyed post-polar shift. The government creates an “Anti-Technology Pact” to protect the people from corruption. From what I got, only the government used technology which makes them hypocrites.
SO THERE’S A LOT TO KNOW WHEN READING THIS BOOK. And this is only the beginning of my review… *sigh*
The amount of information to digest lowered my reading experience with this novel. It is the most frustrating thing as a reader when you don’t understand what is going on. However, despite this, Cameron countered the horrible story planning with extremely unique characters and story line. This is written in third-person omniscient with at least 10 characters telling this story. So yes, that is another thing to grasp: all the different characters which made it more frustrating and confusing for readers.
Sophia is exactly the kind of character I love to read about. She’s sarcastic, knows how to fight, and can keep her head together. She is not a damsel in distress and I love that. You can already guess that Sophia is actually the Red Rook, who is the symbol of rebellion.
LeBlanc, the antagonist of the book, wants the Red Rook to die. He is the leader of the Sunken City and happens to blindly follow this “Goddess” who he asks questions about making decisions to. He needs her approval for everything he does. The Goddess speaks through a coin, and many different mediums. LeBlanc is literally insane.
René works for LeBlanc and is arranged to marry Sophia. Sophia is not happy with this. Their relationship is one of the many layers in this novel that made things more interesting. I don’t want to spoil anything but René is on my list of book boyfriends. *Michelle approves*
(There are so many other secondary characters but I feel Sophia, LeBlanc and René are probably the most interesting.)
This book gets me on my toes. There was lots of action and suspense. I was on a rush of adrenaline right until the end. Cameron wrote a highly complex nove l(maybe too complex?), with many themes and messages spoken throughout. The symbolism made my inner nerd come out as I really loved how she incorporated red tipped feathers.
I could talk more and more about this book but this review might get long. I do have a very different opinion when it comes to this novel. I’ve noticed that the rating has significantly lowered since I last read Rook. For me, the book was extremely confusing and I think the author tried a little too hard in making it original. On the other hand, it was original, the setting was interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and story line.
Rook is not for everyone but can be appreciated through the creativity of the author. The characters really made this novel a good one for me so at least Cameron got that part right!
Keep calm and read on,