Review: Rook by Sharon Cameron

Review: Rook by Sharon Cameron Rook by Sharon Cameron
Published by Scholastic Inc. on April 28th 2015
Pages: 464
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review

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.


I really, really liked Rook. Like, a lot. It has a lovely spot on my “4 Stars and Up” shelf, right above my desk. So I am going to gush in a minute, but there is one thing that is stopping me from giving it a full five stars, and one thing that I think is super important for readers to know: It starts off really slowly.

The first 50 pages or so were painfully slow to me, but I kept going, because I was interested in the characters from the start. The problem is, in the beginning, there is a lot of information coming, and a lot of names too. And a lot of these names are French, and I got a little lost. So for the first bit of the book, I was bored, and I was confused, and I didn’t think it was going to be a good experience. But, I am so glad I didn’t stop reading, because things got really good!

So pretty, no? Even the envelope! (Which I obviously kept, because again, pretty.)

What did I like about Rook, other than the obvious “set in sunken Paris” and “Red Rook saving people” thing? So very much:

  • Sophia and René were fabulous. Sophia had me from the first page, I knew I’d adore her. She is strong, and brave, and basically she’s pretty amazing. She isn’t perfect, not by a long shot, she has her flaws. She’s quite naive about so much, and she is stubborn too. But her flaws work for her, and she is believable because of them. René is… well, book boyfriend worthy. He is charming, and witty, and charismatic, and brave in his own right. Still, I was never completely sure that he was being authentic, which was good for the story. Very good.
  • The other characters were amazing too! Even the more minor characters were very well fleshed out. Sophia’s brother Tom and friend Spear were basically the people she’d grown up with. Tom was a good, if not particularly exciting guy, and Spear… I couldn’t quite figure him out a lot of the time either (again, this is a good thing). The villain… well, I spent most of the book wondering if he was actually insane, like, requiring a legitimate diagnosis. Dude is messed up! Obviously, anyone who gets their jollies from beheading citizens is probably not going to be in his right mind but… wow. He brings it as the villain for sure! This is seriously just the tip of the awesome-character-iceberg, but I could go on and on, so I’ll stop there.
  • The plot is very captivating, after the initial slow start. Of course you want to know all about the Red Rook. Why is this person freeing prisoners? Why are the prisoners there to begin with? There’s political turmoil, financial turmoil, and what is pretty much a guillotine. Basically, there are a lot of questions, and a lot of people who may or may not be what they seem (which, I loved trying to figure out)!
  • The world is incredibly unique and has a pretty fascinating message in itself. First, it;s in Sunken Paris. I don’t think settings get more unique or creative than that. This story is set years after a major cataclysmic event that basically decimated the Earth, and now, to try to prevent history from repeating, most people are very anti-technology. The setting is dark, and quite depressing, and it comes through very vividly. I love that we are getting to see a post-apocalyptic Europe too!
  • The romance is slow, and swoon worthy, and lovely. Sophie and René are engaged mostly because her mess of a father is about a day away from losing their house due to some bad financial decisions. He isn’t particularly concerned about Sophia in general, so it really doesn’t matter to him. And Sophia doesn’t trust René as far as she can throw him. This certainly makes things interesting, to say the least.

Bottom Line: Yes, it starts off slow, but give it a chance, because the slowness does not last. It is very worth it in the end!


Would you make it in the Sunken City? Would you be the rescuer, the prisoner, or the lunatic sending them all to their deaths? 😉 

Posted April 27, 2015 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Review , / 23 Comments

23 responses to “Review: Rook by Sharon Cameron

  1. Yeah, those first 50 pages would’ve killed me and I would’ve probably DNF’D it otherwise, so thanks for the heads up (but that info dump and lots of names are still going to kill me, yelp). I’m going to love Sophia and René, aren’t I? AND THE ROMANCE. My favourite. Now, it’s going to be fun to figure out who it might be and I NEED to read this now, dammit. Okay, I think I can make it through those slow chapters now. Because the awesomeness that awaits! I’d probably be the prisoner, unfortunately. 🙁

    • YES. Rene is total book boyfriend material. And their banter… yes. You are going to love them! And seriously, try to make it through- I read some other reviews, and everyone seems to agree- first 50 pages or so are rough, but worth it! I hope you enjoy it!!

  2. This book sounds amazing! I love books set in Paris anyway (it is one of my favorite cities). A book set in a sunken Paris sounds like such a great twist. And yeah, I would most likely be the lunatic sending people to their deaths. Bahahaha

  3. Thanks for the heads up on the slow start! I usually only give a book 50-100 pages before setting it aside so had I not read your review, that most likely would have happened with this book! I’m really curious about Red Rook now 🙂

  4. I am kicking myself in the ass because I was offered an opportunity to review this book, and I passed it up! In all honesty, I didn’t think it would be for me, ya know? I’m slowly but surely getting into Dystopian/Post -Apocalyptic books, so I wasn’t sure if I would even enjoy the story. Well looks like I’ll be purchasing this on Tuesday because HELLOOO, your review was amazing, and it’s really making me want to read it. Like asap lol. Rene sounds so cute, and I can’t wait to meet this crazy villian! I’m down for the craziness, so when you said he actually ENJOYS beheading civilans, I got really excited. Guess that says alot about me lol. Oh and who in their right mind would pass up a story set in Sunken Paris! (Well obviously I did, but that’s besides the point right now lmao) Great review Shannon, and thanks for making me spend more coins girl 😀

  5. I’m going to say I’d be the lunatic just because I want to try something DIFFERENT. =)

    I was really on the fence about this one because it sounds so good but at the same time I wasn’t really sure it was something I’d like. Now, I’m sure that I NEED this in my life! I hate slow starts, they bore me to tears, but a slow romance? Amazing characters? I completely insane villain? There’s so many things I love going on!

    • Bwhahahah. Beheading is definitely different 😉 I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d like it either. I actually went back and forth several times before requesting it- but I am SO glad I did! And yeah, I was scared with the super slow start, but thank goodness I continued! I hope you enjoy it if/when you read it 😀

  6. I probably would have given up into 20% of the book if it was really slow.. Glad you connected to the characters, most of the time I usually prefer character-driven books and yes to slow burn romance – wonderful review Shannon!

  7. I’ve REALLY been looking forward to this one. Thanks for the heads up about the slow start and it’s good to know that it gets much better. I’m so excited read this!!

  8. I was a bit iffy about reading this one, because, maybe you’ve seen, but the ratings and reviews aren’t that great on Goodreads. However, yours convinced me and I think I can get past the slow start, as you did. Awww pretty ARC!!!

    • I have seen mixed things on Goodreads, though a lot of bloggers I follow actually had pretty good things to say (except for the slow start, of course!) But now I am curious, so off to Goodreads I go! Hope you enjoy it if you do read it 😀

  9. So much yes. I had the same bit about the minor characters – I didn’t particularly enjoy how many of them there were, because I got so confused, but each of them had enough time devoted to them to flesh them out and I felt like they all had a purpose. LEBLANC WAS SO, SO INSANE. AND I LOVED IT. I love villains who are actually crazy and not just dealing with some traumatizing life event.

  10. I WILL GIVE IT A CHANCE THEN. Also of course I’m still going to read it because 1) My favorite blogger liked it, aka you (don’t tell Holly I said this, she’s already mad that you’re first on my blog roll) and 2) IT’S SET IN FRANCEEEEE. FRANNCEEEEEEEE.

    Lovely review Shannon 😀 😀 😀

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