October 25, 2016

Rook, by Sharon Cameron

If you enjoy history--particularly the French Revolution--retellings of well-known stories, or dystopian worlds, try this combination of the three!

Rook, by Sharon Cameron

5 stars: Clever and atmospheric. A worthy retelling of its predecessor.

In the Sunken City, everything old is new again. Peasants are rioting, the upper class fear for their lives, and The Razor--a guillotine in the public square--has been shaving more and more heads from bodies lately. The prisoners' only hope is that the mysterious Rook will rescue them before their number comes up. When the guards come to the cells thus emptied, all that they find are the black rook feathers, tipped in red to show whose handiwork it is.

Meanwhile, Sophia Bellamy--who lives across the sea in the Commonwealth--has a ball to prepare for. In fact, she is supposed to meet her betrothed tonight. It's an arranged marriage; an effort to save the family estate, in fact. She is not looking forward to it.

Then she meets him: Rene Hasard, vain empty-headed fop, and is even less impressed. However it's not long before she realizes that there is more to her fiancé than meets the eye. Well, good. Same goes for her, too. She must play her best game now--his cousin is LeBlanc, the man responsible for the bloodbath in the Sunken City--and she suspects Rene may be in league with the him. It really is too bad he is so darned attractive.

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This one hit all the right buttons for me! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It's set in a future world where the Ancients (that would be us) are a distant memory, though our plastics, cement, and satellites--among other things--continue to outlive us. In fact, anything plastic is a prize. Much of the knowledge and ideas of the Ancients, however, have been lost. Paris (The Sunken City, in case you missed it), and England (the Commonwealth) are still around, though with a few alterations here and there, of course.

It would have been a solid read if it was just the dystopian world, which I found entertaining in its own right. Throw in the retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel, and the parallels to the French Revolution, and it bumped up a notch to fascinating. Strong side characters with complex motives didn't hurt a bit, then as the icing on the cake, clever Sophia and possibly even more clever Rene trying to outwit each other and not fall in love. It was just delicious!

I had one quibble, but since it involved the ending I will not discuss it here. Once you read it, let me know and I'll see if the same thing bothered you!

Plus, I have to say--whoever designed that cover deserves a bonus! It set just the right tone going in.

Content: Some passionate kissing. Also, some gruesome scenes involving LeBlanc and his victims--though most of it happened offstage and you just got the results. For ages 16+.

(Finished reading October 8.)

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Have you read The Scarlet Pimpernel? Or seen any of the movies? The only movie version I've seen is the one with Jane Seymour in it, but I really liked it! "Sink me..."

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