Rook 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. Summary from Goodreads.

Rook | Sharon Cameron | Young Adult | Action & Adventure | April 28, 2015 | Scholastic Press

Sharon Cameron's new novel Rook is one of those books that brings together a mix of successful qualities that had my rubbing my hands together in delight.

A Reimagined Tale of The Scarlet Pimpernel - Historical Meets Post-Apocalyptic

The setting of Rook feels much like a historical, think Georgian-era, yet is actually set in the future after a decidedly chilling catastrophe has struck Earth giving the book a grittier, post-apocalyptic feel.  The story takes those fascinating elements and adds to them a sort of retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel.  From the hellish catacombs beneath Sunken City to lavish country estates, from the blades deadly edge to a symbolic feather, Rook is a fantastic read! 

The Razor, Sunken City, and the Rook

The action and drama are what you would expect during a revolutionary time and is the main thread throughout the story.  The danger of The Razor (the guillotine) is ever present as a fantastic and creative sense of past and future mix in the Sunken City of former Paris, and where survival from the Razor comes in the form of a new heroine to cheer for.  Known as The Red Rook, our heroine champions those in need and as she dangerously walks a line to save those threatened.  Little does she suspect she's about to meet her match with a surprising opponent that is not at all what he seems.

A Clever and Bold Heroine 

Sophia Bellamy is both clever and bold. She can wield a sword as easily as taking a spin around the dance floor. I was immediately intrigued by her as she brazenly went into the very heart of danger and got herself out in the most clever of ways. Along with the help from her brother Tom and her childhood friend Spear, Sophia takes on the persona of the Rook and fights to free prisoners before they meet the Razor. 

Engagements, Swords and Tantalizing Games of Cat and Mouse

What completely sold me on the story besides the unique retelling The Scarlet Pimpernel and wonderful atmosphere is the fantastic exchanges between Sophia and René.  They had the best verbal banter that created such delicious sparks. A romance that just builds slowly in the best of ways. It's like watching a game of chess as each makes their move and I loved the attraction and tension between Sophia and René build. Sophia has just met her match in René and must decide if she can trust him. Sharon Cameron knows how to write a tantalizing game of cat and mouse that made me love the romance all that much more.

Third Person - Let's Get Into Each Others Thoughts

Using third person the story is told mostly from Sophia's point of view, but switches to René as well as a few secondary characters, including some terrific villains, which I felt really added to the story. The transitions were so smooth between the characters, I hardly realized what was happening as I felt no jar and I loved how one character would be for example tearing a piece of paper and then the scene would cut to another character who was doing something in a similar fashion, yet whose actions were for something else entirely. Very creative, yet smooth.

In the End

Rook ended up being a fantastic read and completely satisfying as a standalone story. A unique nod to The Scarlet Pimpernel, danger, thrills, and romance made for one terrific story.

My Rating: 4.5 Stars. I really like it!

PLEASE NOTE: A courtesy review copy of this book was provided by Scholastic Press in exchange for my fair review. Thank you, Scholastic Press for the review opportunity!