09 May 2015
Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars
In a young adult genre so full of trilogies and series, it's hard to find a decent stand alone novel. It's even more difficult to find a decent one that isn't contemporary literature. But Rook is a breath of fresh air in an often stagnant, overpopulated genre.
First, we have our main character, Sophia Bellamy. She isn't content with the hand that fate has dealt her. She isn't satisfied with the father who mentally checked out when her mother passed away. And she refuses to sit idolly by while hundreds, if not thousands, of citizens are killed as a vicious ruler sets to overthrow the powers that be, along with his zealot right hand man.
Sophia, along with her brother and her dear friend, Spear, lead a rag tag band of rebels as they work to rid the tunnels of the poor souls set to die at the slice of a blade. She does it out of compassion, but she also has another, more interesting, motive as well. Sophia lives for the adventure, the excitement, the adrenaline rush of the daring cause. She can't imagine her life without it. And so, Cameron introduces us to a strong, independent, and determined young lady that is a sight to see compared to her rival female main characters in her genre.
Since this is a young adult novel we are talking about, it does have its share of romance and even a dash of a love triangle for good measure. But instead of letting the romance be the plot, the romance is only one aspect of a very intricate, thoroughly detailed plot. Even the romance added to the uncertainty readers feel as they make their way through this novel. Who is Rene Hasard? Is he the womanizing, air brained man on display at their engagement part? Or is the clever, reserved, hidden man she plays chess with? The entire novel is a game of cat and mouse, or more precisely cat and cat, between the two characters while readers try to ascertain Hasard's true motives. Even Spear has hidden secrets that unravel in this story where every character's motives and true intentions come under scrutiny.
Rook is a well developed, well written, and well executed tale. It grabs the reader's attention from the start, and holds it all the way through the conclusion. And in a genre full of never ending, dragged out series, it's a well concluded novel checking in at 464 pages. It is certainly a book I will be adding to my personal collection to read again.