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.
This novel is an homage to The Scarlet Pimpernel, and even though I’ve never read it, I found this story to be enjoyable and interesting. Even though this is a dystopian novel, I still thought it brought something new to the genre. I think my favourite part of it was the blend of the future and the past.
In this novel, the magnetic poles shift, which cause all our electronic devices to stop working essentially sending us back to the Middle Ages. This novel takes place in the far future where all knowledge of today is regarded as myth and all technology and plastic is outlawed. This was a really unique twist on the end of world scenario. The book takes place in the Sunken City (formerly known as Paris), and is run by a dictator who turns the lower class against the upper class and executes his prisoners with the use of the Razor, which is a large guillotine. Sounds a little familiar, right?
The main character, Sophia Bellamy, was a really likeable protagonist. She was strong, smart, brave, and willing to do what was right even at the cost of her safety. She did have some insipid moments when she was thinking more about her love interest than the problems at hand, and she was a little moon-eyed sometimes, but it was never so distracting that I disliked her. She also never seemed to make the classic mistakes that a young-adult female protagonist usually makes, and she was never a damsel in distress. She always saved herself. I found her to be fierce, cunning, and pretty remarkable.
Her love interest, René Hassard, was also surprisingly well-written. He was highly intelligent and a pretty good match for Sophia. Their relationship was a little drawn out, and there was a love triangle, which I always find odious, but the resolution was unexpected. At least it wasn’t boring.
The book does have its flaws. The beginning was extremely slow and it took at least 50 pages for me to understand the world and the characters’ motivations. I also disliked the weird religion of Fate and Luck. I found it to be really strange. There were also weird shifts from one character’s perspective to another and it was often done very clumsily. It seemed like an unnecessary writing tactic. While the plot was enjoyable, it dragged sometimes and did become a little dull and repetitive toward the middle. However, I still really liked the blend of history with dystopia, and I found all the characters to be very dynamic.
Overall, I highly recommend this novel. It’ll take a while to get going, but I think it’s worth the slow start.