Rook, “an homage to The Scarlet Pimpernel” as the author calls it, creates an interesting melding of a tale set in the future with a historical fiction twist. Confused yet? So was I, at first, but once I got it all figured out, the concept for this book was pretty cool. Rook is set in our world (particularly Paris, as well as the English coastline) in the future. However, a polar shift has occurred, throwing everything into chaos. Entire cities have become sunken into the ground, huge masses of people have died, and all technology has stopped working. Society has had to start from scratch, and we find ourselves in a society reminiscent of the French Revolution, where the Razor (a reinvented version of the guillotine) is claiming heads as punishment for crimes committed against the people. Enter Sophia Bellamy and her band of misfits, bent on saving the world one wrongfully accused prisoner at a time.
The world that was created in Rook was so cool. I loved the idea of a future society regressing and reliving its past. This whole book was basically a lesson in “history is always repeating itself.” I loved the class divides in Paris between the Upper City, the part of Paris that remained unharmed during the polar shift, where the higher classes lived, and the Sunken City, the portion of Paris that had sunk into the ground, filled with the lower classes and brimming with the terror brought on by the Razor’s hunt for its next victim. It was also fun to see nods to items from the present day; things like CDs and video game controllers were looked upon as artifacts in this future world and were hoarded away and sold on the black market to the highest bidder.
The only problem with the world building in Rook is that there wasn’t enough of it. There were so many really interesting aspects to this world that weren’t explained. I wish we could have learned more about what had happened during the polar shift and how society ended up the way it did. There was also a new religion centered around the Goddess of Fate that played a role in this novel, but we didn’t get to learn anything about why this religion developed or what its tenets meant for its followers. Because there were so many things that weren’t explained, I was left a little confused about some of the events leading up to the start of the novel.
I had some pretty mixed feelings about Rook as I was reading it. There were so many elements to this book that I absolutely loved, but I felt like something was missing. The story felt pretty flat; it moved along at a consistent pace, without any real highs or lows in the action. This book seemed to take me forever to read, and I felt like I would read for hours and nothing had really happened to move the plot along. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but there was something missing from this book – that little something extra that takes a book from entertaining to engrossing.
You’ll notice that I haven’t really discussed the characters at all yet. That’s because I don’t have much to say about them. I don’t really have any strong feelings about the characters one way or another. They were fine, I enjoyed reading their stories, but again, something was missing. Something kept me from really connecting with the characters and wanting to learn more about them.
All in all, I would say that I really enjoyed Rook, even though it wasn’t what I expected and I think it could have been better executed. I am a lover of history, so for me the world was really the saving grace of this book. It was incredibly interesting to read about and I wanted more. I would recommend this book if your interests are like mine and this world intrigues you. However, if you are looking for a story about romance or adventure, this probably isn’t for you.
When you want to love a book, but something’s missing…..
…..blame it on the books.