Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Rook by Sharon Cameron
they seek her there,
they seek that Red Rook everywhere...
This rhyme doesn't appear in "Rook" by Sharon Cameron, but it ought to. For this tale of a young girl seeking to rescue the unjustly condemned of of a dystopian future Paris is a clear homage to "The Scarlet Pimpernel" if not quite a retelling.
In this version, however, the role of the titular masked rescuer is played by a young woman (it's YA fiction, what else do you expect?). Sophia Bellamy, English gentlewoman by day, Red Rook by night, is devoted to both her family and the endangered citizens of France. Whether it takes a sword or a marriage proposal, she'll do whatever it takes to ensure that no one is left to prison--or worse. Yet she soon discovers that she is not the only one wearing a mask...
Initially, I picked this book off the library shelf because I confused it with another book of similar title. However, the moment I read the jacket blurb, I was hooked. I'm an old fan of "The Scarlet Pimpernel", always intrigued by things French and British, and fascinated by anything that lets me view history in a new light. In Cameron, I found an author with the same interest.
Although the world of "Rook" could be loosely cataloged as dystopian, this future world is not your usual sci-fi fare. After the shifting of earth's magnetic poles, all technology fails, leading many governments to declare machines 'evil' and require their citizens become self-sufficient. In consequence, the far off future of the Sunken City is no so very different than the 18th century of Baroness Orczy's tale of adventure and romance. And yet, set in a semi-wasteland where plastic artifacts like 'diet' bottles are highly prized, humanity has not changed so very much.
I appreciated the set-up for a future that mirrors the past, but was even more delighted to find the writing and plot well above your average YA book. There is a love triangle, sort of, but the real love story in the book manages to be sizzling, sweet, and sincere. Worthy to follow in Orczy's footsteps, in my very humble opinion.
So if you're looking for another Parisian adventure to tide you over until my next book is released, you may just find this worth checking out.