Scholastic Press, May 2015
This review has proven to be as stubborn as Sophie Bellamy. Therein lies the ultimate compliment. To me, it is only when I’m consumed by furious joy and almost dumb with delight that writing a review becomes a seemingly insurmountable challenge. I’m torn between simply carrying this tome everywhere I go so that I can thrust it into someone’s hand and simply say, “This.” and gushing like a new grandparent.
Rook is a remarkably enjoyable, engaging read. Each of the colorful, captivating characters has his or her own agenda. Engulfed in a time when a coin stamped with the year 2024 is considered ancient and satellites are machines from the Time Before, enamored with and eagerly enthusiastic for Sophia, I could not keep myself from guessing who was true to Sophie and her most honorable cause, and who was true only to himself…..or herself, for that matter.
Instead of moving forward, it seems that we’ve only gone backward…all progress has been undone. Rather than gender equality, women are reduced. Instead of a democracy, a dictatorship, topped by the illogical, egotistical insanity of narcissistic men that are only up when holding others down.
Against unimaginable odds, The Red Rook devises a daring plan including a mass release of those wrongfully imprisoned to be followed by the triumphant toppling of the terrifying regime. Action is aplenty, alongside conflicting emotions, witty banter and immediately intriguing ideas. It isn’t possible to read this story without taking pauses to consider and ponder points. Not in a “what the ……?” way but in an “hmmmm…..interesting, I couldn’t have conjured….” way.
While appropriate and appealing to Middle Grade readers, I would be remiss if I limited my recommendation to that group. Like a giant bag of Hershey’s miniatures, there is something for everyone. Enjoy.
Reviewed by jv poore, February 2016.