genre: young adult dystopian, post-apcolypic
In a future Paris whose turbulent society looks remarkably like the turbulent society of its' past, the residents of the Upper City are being sent to the guillotine. The loss is tremendous and hope would be dying if not for the intrepid Rook, who manages to smuggle as many as possible out of the prisons and off to freedom - leaving a red tipped feather in their place.
Meanwhile, across the channel in the Commonwealth, Sophie Bellamy is negotiating her own troubles, what with her family's estate on the verge of collapsing unless she can marry a man to save them. The chosen fiancé, however, leaves much to be desired and when the exploits of the Rook arrive on her doorstep, things get very complicated indeed. In a world where technology is outlawed and Fate rules with an iron fist, the slaughter across the channel and the antics of her fiancé will affect Sophie's choices in ways that even she couldn't imagine.
I can honestly say that this book pretty much knocked my socks off, in a good way. As a decades-long devotee of The Scarlet Pimpernell, from the first few pages, I was hooked. There is something so glorious about the intrigue and the selflessness - and then you toss that plot up into the air with a post-apocolypic world, some fantastic romance, solid and interesting characters and great writing? I wanted this book in my hands all the time until I finished. It just never felt dull to me - the bad guys are so bad and the good guys are so multi-dimensional with that Robin Hood vibe that the plot just roared along. I just believed it and let myself be drawn in for the ride.