Rook by Sharon Cameron
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.
Sacré bleu, this book was incroyablement fucking terrible. Pardon my French.
This book starts off with an execution on the guillotine. Very reminiscent of the French Revolution. And yes, the entire book had a French Revolution feel for it, which is cute, but still fails utterly because it doesn’t take place during the late 18th century France, but in a French-inspired dystopian world that, like many of its YA predecessors, makes no sense whatsoever.
Neither the past nor the present is explained in any detail, and subsequently, the book is left like an unfinished jigsaw puzzle of a Picasso painting. Which is to say it doesn’t make any fucking sense. It’s…the future? Some people speakParisian (whatever happened to French). There was some…Great Death event that…I don’t know what happened, but it’s mentioned rather ominously. Technology and shit are banned, for no reason, without any explanation.
The Parliament of the Commonwealth did not choose to print the Wesson’s Guide. Because a printing press was a machine, and machines were technology, and because technology clouded minds, weakened the will, and took away the self-reliance of the Ancients—or so their Parliament said—such dangerous items could be used only by a special license.
So how did we get to this point?
“At the university in Manchester they teach that when the magnetic poles of the earth shifted, the protective layer around the earth was damaged, allowing the radiation of the sun to destroy the technology that the Ancients depended on. What I think, though, is that this same solar radiation caused the first wave of the Great Death. Sickness killed the people first, technological dependence second, that’s what I believe.”
800 years ago this happened. *throws up arms in disgust*
Marriages are still arranged. Young ladies come out and get betrothed to eligible gentlemen. They wear BODICES!!! It doesn’t look like women have any rights at all. There are no cars! There are no iPhones! *clutches her pearls in horror* OTHER NATIONS HAVE SIMILAR ANTI-TECHNOLOGY LAWS.
“Do you not believe that machines made the people weak, that the Great Death, as you call it, came about because the Ancients were dependent on technology, and did not know how to survive when they lost it? That making heat and light, traveling, fighting, that these things were impossible for them, because of their dependence?”
So apparently somehow along the way we lost the ability to fucking do anything because we love technology too much? Does that make sense to anyone with a sense of the rational?
Aside from the ludicrousness of the setting, the book itself commits the unforgivable crime of being excruciatingly dull.The whole thing could have been told in half the length, with half as many POVs. Dieu Merci, je suis fait.