Middle school students have reading interests that run the gamut from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Twilight. Sometimes as a parent it is hard to know what is age appropriate for your child. Through this blog, I will try to help parents make informed decisions about what is available in our library. I am hoping that this blog will be a resource for our parents, and that we can all work together to make our students life-long readers!

Sunday, July 19, 2015


by Sharon Cameron
From the publisher:
"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."

This book started out very slowly for me. In fact I kept asking my daughter (who read it before me) if it was worth it to finish it. She said yes, so I soldiered on. Then at about page 80, I was completely hooked and couldn't stop reading. I loved it!! I think one of the reasons it started out so slowly for me is that it was hard for me to understand the world-building. It is a post-apocalyptic book, but it feels like historical fiction. I had a hard time picturing a sunken Paris, especially with a big Eiffel Tower on the cover. However, once the story really got going, I didn't care what kind of world it was. 
Maybe I should mention that I love The Scarlet Pimpernel , so of course I made a lot of comparisons. I appreciated that the author didn't try to do corny things like using the same names as the original and just changing them up a bit. There was a nod to the names Marguerite and St. Just, but that was just enough to give The Scarlet Pimpernel fans a little thrill. 
I loved the characters from the beginning. Sophia is amazing, I LOVE that she is so courageous and loyal. I love the sparks that fly between Sophia and René from the very beginning. 
“I think you are very beautiful," René said, "especially when you are admiring mischief."

"You must think that every time I look at you, then.” 

René reminded me very much of Percy Blakeney from the original book. I liked that Sophia referred to his foppish character as the "magazine René", and I loved watching him change between his real side and magazine side. 
“So you carry needle and thread about in your pockets, do you?” Sophia asked.
“My tailor insists.” 

The action was breathtakingly intense, and there are several times in the book that you will wonder "how in the world are they going to get out of this?!"
The romance is lovely - these two have intense chemistry going on, and yet they are also very funny.
"Your maman was in my room last night."
"And I was not." His tone was glum.
"It is so frustrating not to be able to hit you when I want." 

This is one of those books that you just want to hug when it is over. And after looking up those quotes, I pretty much want to start re-reading it. It does start slowly, but hang in there, it is very much worth it.

Areas of concern:
I don't remember much bad language - maybe a handful of the *d* and *h* words.
Some pretty intense kissing, but nothing graphic.
A really evil enemy who tortures people and has them beheaded on a guillotine.
Intense action.

Suggested ages:
Booklist - Grades 8-12
Publisher's Weekly - Ages 12+

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