Author: Sharon Cameron


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Review: Rook by Sharon Cameron

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Review: Rook by Sharon Cameron
Rook
Sharon Cameron
Genre: Dystopia, Retellings, YA
Publication date: April 28, 2015
by Scholastic

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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.
-A copy was provided by Scholastic for review-

I really can’t shake off the feeling that this book would have been 5 times better if it wasn’t as long as it was.

Yeah, it was only, what, 464 pages? 6000 Kindle locations? But let me tell you that reading this felt like it took bloody eternity. Not even my love for anything French could have prevented the yawns this book made me do… oh, every 5 minutes. If it wasn’t for the fact I needed to read and finish this in the next six hours just in time to write this review for today (I like to live dangerously), I would’ve set it aside to take a well-deserved nap.

But, hey, I did it, friends! I survived! Even though most of the time in the last six hours I was like this:

and like this:

It would be harsh to say it was torture, but not taking that nap when my eyes desperately needed it was pretty painful.

First of all, let’s get one thing straight: this book was boring, which could honestly be attributed to the writing/narration in general because it often talked about the most mundane of things in a really long-winded way. It would talk about the setting, what the characters were doing, why they were doing what they were doing, over and over, spanning countless paragraphs and pages. If the writing was beautiful, lyrical, poetic, and had meaning and purpose to each word, I would have gobbled all that up because I’m not a stranger to dense books in third person (hi, Brandon Sanderson), but the ones here just did not have the substance to engage me. So many descriptions about almost everything and yet each one felt so empty. I had to skim so many pages, sometimes even reading just one paragraph or two, before going to the next page.

Guess what I missed? NOTHING. 

Guys, you could literally cut this book to half and you can still get the same story and with the necessary descriptions. The “build up” was too much that it became stagnant quickly. Before long, it felt like it was just going in circles.

As for the main character, Sophie Bellamy (which is a pretty nice name, if I do say so myself), she could’ve been a great character if only she didn’t make me want to put toothpicks in my eyes just so my eyelids could stay open. I get that she’s someone who loved challenges, who wanted to save the people from the evil LeBlanc and save her brother from his clutches, but she just didn’t click with me. On paper, yes, she was someone flawed and perhaps a li’l complex, but I never really saw it in the book explicitly, especially in the first 50% in which I skimmed not a single page. She felt so flat.

I blame the narration for this, though. The writing in general was just so muddled, sloppy and long-winded that it failed to portray the depth of her character. Plus, there were also too many POVs, usually used in order to tell us why a side character did what they recently did. Which is a damn shame because not only did it limit the MC’s character development, the book was then forced to show those characters’ developments, too, which became even more limiting.

Plus, come on. When we’re talking about motives and agendas, it’s better to show it to us than tell. When one needs to use countless other POVs to do that, I think it’s a sign that maybe something else needs to be done. Something that involves not needing countless other POVs. x_x

And another plus, I wasn’t a fan of certain scenes where the MC wnet puppy eyes over the love interest, ESPECIALLY AFTER huge, important events. “OMG MY BROTHER GOT ARRESTED BUT oooohh I wonder what it would feel like if I touch René’s stubble…” (non-verbatim, but I swear there were too many of this kind of scenes in the first 50%. I mean, girl, seriously?!)

The same could be said for the plot. I love stories about vigilantes toppling evil governments and figureheads, but it was hard to get excited for the action when the book took its damn sweet time getting there, dragging unnecessary scenes to kingdom come. At this point, I was skimming a lot because GOOD LORD CAN WE GET TO THE MEAT OF THE STORY ALREADY?! 

So when the climax happened, I was so relieved because this meant the ending would come, too. I mean, they have already achieved whatever their goal was. Usually, after that, you wrap things up and end the book in a (hopefully) promising, satisfactory note.

But jesus h. christ, this book really took “tedious” to the next level because that wrapping-up part? IT HAPPENED FROM 90% TO 100%. Do you see that? 10% of the book to wrap everything up.

If you want any idea of what my face looked like then, it was this:

(cue groans of “oh cooooome oooon!”)

I am bloody serious. Just when the climax happened and what should have been the ending, the book then decided to make one last anti-climactic hurrah true to its “dragging” fashion – 10% of drama and filler and pretty much scenes that should have been ELSEWHERE and not at the end of the book. At least that’s what I felt because they seriously looked ill-placed.

I don’t even care that this was set in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian France. This book needed some serious editing.

2 Stars
2 Hot Espressos

Interview with Sharon Cameron + Giveaway!

Interview with Sharon Cameron + Giveaway!

Posted by on 04/20/2015 • 35 Comments

Sharon Cameron is on the blog today for a conversation on her newest release, Rook! First, let’s see what this book is all about:

Interview with Sharon Cameron

Hi Sharon! Thanks for stopping by today! I was a big fan of The Dark Unwinding and am looking forward to reading Rook!

Hello, and thanks so much for having me. So thrilled that you loved The Dark Unwinding!

Let’s start with giving us a brief description of Rook using a tweet (140 characters or less).

Okay!

In a future without technology Sophia rescues innocents from death during the second French Revolution. Outwitting her fiancé is not so easy.

What was the most interesting part of your research for this novel? Is there something surprising or fascinating that you…

Review: A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron – Blog Hop, Day 6

Review: A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron – Blog Hop, Day 6

Posted by on 09/16/2013 • 12 Comments

With the same atmosphere and wonderfully charismatic characters as the first book, A Spark Unseen is a good sequel to The Dark Unwinding, but I felt somewhat bored while reading it. Even though the pacing in the first book was unhurried, I still found myself entertained by the characters in such a way that I hardly noticed. A Spark Unseen, on the other hand, while it did have the same fun personalities, much of its time is spent expanding the now thicker political layer. Not being a big fan of strong political plots – especially in historical fiction – I had difficulty staying focused during this one.

I can’t say that there is any lack in character atmosphere in this sequel. We have our good old Katharine who…

Review: The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Review: The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Posted by on 09/06/2013 • 27 Comments

A decent dose of creepy, this was!

The Dark Unwinding started rough for me. For the first quarter of the book at least I had a very difficult time getting into it. My attention kept waning, my mind wandering. I think mostly caused by my own restlessness, though, but surely not helped by the ambiguousness of the plot by that point. It has a strong show rather than tell writing style; while it’s not always easy to initially situate ourselves in a story told as such, it does remain my preferred way of storytelling. I find it works especially well for this type of book, the eerie, gothic style, as it leaves room for our own imagination to creep ourselves out. This is where this novel excels, followed closely by…