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I Belong

Review: Rook by Sharon Cameron

RookTitle: Rook

Author: Sharon Cameron

Genre: YA Dystopia

Series: N/A

Publication Date: April 28, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 464 Pages

ISBN-10: 0545675995 (Scholastic Press)

ISBN-13: 978-0545675994 (Scholastic Press)

Reviewed by: Zed


A remarkable and utterly inventive novel bursting with intrigue and romance, from Sharon Cameron, acclaimed author of THE DARK UNWINDING, which USA TODAY called “spellbindingly imaginative.”

Centuries after a shifting of the Earth’s poles, the Sunken City that was once Paris is in the grips of a revolution. All who oppose the new regime are 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.

Daring intrigue, delicious romance, and spine-tingling suspense fill the pages of this extraordinary tale from award-winning author Sharon Cameron.

Quick & Dirty: This had me on the edge of my seat the entire 464 pages!

Opening Sentence: The heavy blade hung high above the prisoners, glinting against the stars, and then the Razor came down, a wedge of falling darkness cutting through the torchlight.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Being the feminist that I am, I enjoy books with a strong, unusual female protagonist. We see this in Rook with Sophia Bellamy, who happens to be a vigilante of sorts. She cleverly frees prisoners awaiting execution under the tyranny of the Sunken City’s leaders, but leaves behind a red-tipped rook feather as her trademark so that everyone who finds it will know that the Red Rook was responsible.

Sophia is smart, reckless and loves her secret life. The problem is that her other responsibilities require her to marry Rene Hasard in order to secure a marriage fee to cover her father’s debts. She’s willing to make the sacrifice but her unusual pastime has caught the attention of the villains (aka Albert LeBlanc) who are now searching to execute her and make the mistake of capturing her brother instead.

And she’s been more than willing to risk it, everything her forebears had struggled to achieve, for nothing better than adventure and a challenge to her wits. When it came down to it, Sophia Bellamy simply feared boredom more than she feared death.

I loved the suspense and twists the most, there’s always something unexpected around the corner, which had me reading late into the evening until early hours of the morning. The story is captivating especially when there appears to be no way out for Sophie or her brother until suddenly a loophole appears that saves them for now, but that usually ends up being a very short reprieve.

“Do you really wish that?”
Sophia thought for a moment. “No. I don’t. I suppose what I really wish is that the real parts had never happened, and the parts that never really happened were the ones that were real.”

Rene’s ever-changing personalities made everything funnier to read and there were countless times that he, Spear and Sophie made me laugh out loud. Although Sophia is brave and very independent, she often underestimates others and I found it hilarious when Rene outsmarts her so many times because she doesn’t think of him as anything more than a vain, rich Parisian.

Rene eyed the thread’s tiny hole before he looked up at her. “You are ridiculous, you do know this? I gave you twenty-two stitches, poured alcohol straight into the wound, an act that has earned me a fist in the eye from my uncle Emile, and you did not make a sound. And now you cry out like a child?”
She shrugged. “That was pain, this is discomfort. It’s hardly the same thing.”

One thing that saddened me was the little we saw of Tom. Clearly, his status was of great importance to Sophia, her father and Spear but it was unfortunate that for most of the book he was either tending his injured leg or slowly dying in the tombs. He didn’t come across as strong and brave as Sophia made him out to be, but I guess starving to death can do that to people! And to be fair to him, he did give himself up willingly to save his sister’s life so there’s a lot of credit due there. I just hoped for more spark from him, rather than the stern, disapproving elder brother I saw.

“Please, Sophie. It’s one thing for Father to sell you off to a prat. It’s another to sell you off to spend your holidays with the likes of LeBlanc. All in all,” Tom said, “if it’s between the land and my sister, I’m much rather keep my sister.”

This is another understated but fantastic book I’ve read this month. I hadn’t heard if it at all before Dark Faerie Tales but I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to read it. I don’t often give a book 5 stars but since this book had me reaching for my kindle at every opportunity possible. Even at 464 pages I felt the book was far too short so it has earned its rating well.

Notable Scene:

“I’ll be the one making my own rules, thank you,” she said, pulling out a knife. “And I think you both know I’m perfectly capable of enforcing them.” What was wrong with them? What was wrong with her? Since when had she ever wanted to marry anybody? “Spear, I’ll die happy if I never hear your opinion on this again,” she said mentally gauging the size of the firelighter. “And as for you, Monsieur…” The cloth of the underskirt made a soft ripping sound as she slid the knife through the seam. “Tomorrow we will be exactly as engaged as I say we are.”


FTC Advisory: Scholastic Press provided me with a copy of Rook. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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