Expected Publication: April 28th, 2015 by Scholastic
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
*I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion.
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.
Rook was a breath of fresh air. In a time of cookie cutter dystopians, Rook breaks the mold. I want to spend days talking about this book, telling you about all the fantastic things happening. But I don't know how to say anything of substance without spoiling anything!
Our main character, Sophia, is absolutely incredible. She's wild, reckless, but clever and so, so brave. Entertaining. Strong. Caring. Real. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love her. I think her recklessness is what really draws me to her. She's not reckless in that frustrating way, when you want to take a character by their shoulders and shout at them. She's reckless in a calculating way, in a way that says she's got nothing to lose if she can't get her brother back. Does that even make sense? Either way, Sophie is a character you absolutely cannot miss. She's quickly becoming one of my favorites.
And, in an odd turn of events, René is quickly becoming one of my favorites as well. This never happens to me. But his banter with Sophia was so much fun, and while I do think he could have been explored just a little more, we get plenty of glimpses into his head. He's just as strong-willed and fun and brave as Sophia, but more than that, he truly respects her. He doesn't put her down or make her feel less than she is, make her feel small and insignificant and incapable. René is definitely worthy of some swooning. His relationship with Sophia is truly heartwarming.
"Beneath the shiny metal, Sophia Bellamy was very breakable indeed."
There are dozens of other characters to enjoy, too, each well written in their own way. There's Tom, Sophia's brother. Their relationship was another favorite of mine. They support each other, protect each other. And - again - he respects Sophia in a way that all women should be respected. There's Spear, a close friend of Sophie and Tom. (And WOW, you guys. WOW. Cameron really shocked me there. With all of it.) Orla, Benoit, René's mother and uncles, Sophia's father, losing his mind. LeBlanc, who is so, so crazy insane. I loved it. I loved the interactions between René and his family. No character felt flat to me. (Also, Sophia had a pet fox. WIN.) My only complaint is that as the novel goes on, we switch perspectives quite a lot, and it was kind of overwhelming. Suddenly I'd be reading from Gerard's perspective and be like - wait, who is Gerard?
And the plot. THE PLOT. Rook is such a unique spin on this genre, and I was literally always kept on my toes, so to speak. Cameron has weaved an incredible and intricate plot - I'm obsessed with it. Actually obsessed. It's sort of a quiet but powerful story of rebellion. (Okay, quiet probably isn't the right word for it. But it's not as in-your-face as something like Divergent or The Hunger Games, which I really loved.) Rook kept me guessing until the last page and was a truly captivating story.
"Nothing made René Hasard suffer more than information he didn't have. It was a good thing he wasn't aware of just how much she denied him ."
The writing was just as lovely as the rest of the book. Detailed, beautiful, but not too overdone. There were a few times, when the characters were speaking, that I barely understood what they were saying, but I think that's more me than anything else. Sharon Cameron has written a world in a futuristic Paris that's gone backwards - hardly any technology. And she's written it well.
I do wonder though - where was everyone getting the feathers?
Overall: Rook is definitely a 2015 favorite for me. I wish I could do it justice with this review, but I know I can't. I laughed a lot, I wanted to bite my nails and hug a pillow a lot. It's a book driven by both incredible characters and an incredible plot, and if you have a pulse, pick it up. Immediately. I just ordered my finished copy and am probably going to hug it for ten minutes when it gets here. 5 stars.
"He was making free with her hair on one side now, letting the strands spiral around his fingers while he ripped secrets from her soul."
*Quotes subject to change