Summary: 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.
Rating: ★ ★ ★
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction – Dystopian, Fantasy
Review: I was so intrigued by the synopsis of this book. Anything based on the French Revolution is exciting to me, and this seemed like the perfect retelling of the Scarlet Pimpernel while still remaining original. Unfortunately, this book is nothing like what I was expecting. While still Revolution-esque, it’s more of a dystopian than anything else, and an underdeveloped one at that. This was a decent book, but nothing particularly stood out to me that made it amazing.
The book started off strong, with an introduction that drew you in, but began to drag very quickly. I felt like the majority of this book was filler, and that if it had been shorter, I would’ve enjoyed it immensely more. You were given a world so completely different from ours, which I loved, but there was no introduction to the setting. There were characters introduced, phrases used, places mentioned, that you had no explanation of. You jumped right in, which is typically a good thing in novels, but this book seemed underdeveloped in that way.
I liked the characters, especially as you began to see more and more of their motives and feelings towards others and the situation at hand. Sophia and Rene were amazing characters, but they fell flat sometimes as well. Their romance grew on me throughout the course of the book, but I wasn’t immediately on board with it. In all honesty, these characters fell flat because of a complete lack of plot consistency. You were introduced to elements that seemed like important plot points, and they were skimmed right over when there should’ve been a reason for their appearance. I was downright confused about the plot for the majority of the book, and even with a big revelation of the truth towards the end, it felt like it didn’t line up with everything that had just happened for 400 pages.
I was more interested in how this world came to be than what was going on in the first place. I loved the idea of a world without machines, where machines were blamed for death and a shift in the way of living. I wish that had been what this book was about, but unfortunately it wasn’t. The concept was amazing, it was simply poorly executed.
This was a good book, and I’m more than glad I read it, but it was nothing special. It fell victim to a lot of “classic YA tropes” that I normally have no issue with, but they were underdeveloped here. After reading the author’s note at the end, I was provided with the context that I needed, but I wish that note had been placed at the beginning of the book so I could better understand the setting I was entering into. All in all, this was a good book, but it will most likely fall to the recesses of my mind.