"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, the word on the title, has nothing to do with chess as one might think. It is greatly likely refers to the bird, thus the feathers on the cover. The feathers are dipped in red paint, which completely explains the color and appearance of it. The book is set in the future where technology is forbidden and the society has taken hundreds of steps backwards into the Medieval Times. It is a greatly interesting setting, though the world building unfolds the exact descriptions rather slowly and carefully.
Sophia Bellamy is the Red Rook. Proclaimed as a saint and a man by the general public, she is neither. She is a woman, and she is human. She is cunning, and she believes she is at the top of the food chain until she meets René, who somehow manages to tick every bit of her off and light her up in the stomach and the heart. She is an easily likeable character to cheer on, and readers will definitely love her or envy her (or both).
René is a very exciting character, who has an amazing introduction. Sassy, pompous, conceited, handsome, and highly arrogant, he is all that and more. He is one of those who hides behind multiple masks, and he is absolutely delicious to read. His multiple layers hides one of the most amazing characters in Rook.
The plot unravels slowly, and we start from one of the Red Rook's missions. Sophia frees thirteen prisoners rather brilliantly. The real meat of the book is when René's cousin manages to catch up to the Red Rook. That is when the politics and hidden agendas start messing everything up and throwing everyone into a huge pit of slimy worms. Boy, it is awesome to see everything unfold wildly and hilariously. Though there is a sense of urgency and suspense, the humor of the book isn't lost somewhere between the lines.
Some random ramblings: 1) The ending is one of the best parts of the book. Everything closes up nicely, and more about the world of Rook is revealed. 2) René's mother proves to be the best character of the entire book, second to none. René and Sophie are tied to a close second. 3) The villain is worthy of hate.
Overall, Rook is a long, long read. It has about four hundred and fifty pages, and despite some minor setbacks, it is a whirling book with lots of actions. There are some great characters, and for once, the mother-in-law is an amazing businesswoman who is ten steps ahead of everyone, not the old hag who dislikes the daughter-in-law. Rook is recommended best for those who wish to stick their heads in a new world, enjoy some nice and light (or heavy) banter, and a bittersweet ending.
Rating: Four out of Five