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.
Inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel as a dystopian version of the story, I had really high hopes for this book. The Scarlet Pimpernel is my absolute favorite book since I read it in middle school for the first time. It’s the genesis of the hero with a secret identity; a proto-Batman. This novel turns Sophia into the masked hero saving people from this futuristic version of the French Revolution. While she’s a fairly fitting replacement for Percival Blakeney, the novel drags in the middle after a fast start and breakneck ending. Another issue is the side character of Spear, whose childish behavior as best friend and rejected lover of Sophie is completely overlooked by her. You’d just expect her to catch on about how badly Spear was taking being spurned and be a bit less forgiving of some of his actions.
Maybe the problem was the fact that I love The Scarlet Pimpernel so much anything less than it falls short. Rook is definitely readable and I didn’t dislike it, it simply didn’t become a favorite. It’s light and enjoyable and I found it a pretty fast read. Rene is a charming match for Sophie and has some of the best dialogue in the book. It’s a pleasant afternoon read of a book that isn’t bad, but isn’t really earth shattering either.
3 out of 5