Rating: 4.5 Spaceships
I FINALLY GET TO FLAIL ABOUT ONE OF MY FAVORITE READS OF 2020 EEP!!!
Strap yourselves in because we’re going for a ride. A spaceship ride, that is.
The author of Rook Di Goo, Jenni Sauer, and I have been friends since my documentation of my writing journey began on social media. We were fast friends, and she was always such an encouragement to me, whether through comments on my posts or through messages in my DM’s. And when she started posting more and more about this space-opera, sci-fi retelling of Cinderella she was writing, I was like, “Jenni, I’m so in.” Cue my overwhelming obsession over this lady’s book and the way her characters exploded into reality, even just with the mini sneak-peeks she was sharing on her personal account. When she finished rewriting and editing and felt ready, I was part of her early beta reader team. (Beta readers help authors look for discrepancies in the manuscript, so it’s an excellent source of editing when you have a great team behind you!)
Guys, I thought it was good then. But it got better.
Jenni took the feedback she was given, wove it into the story, and then asked me to be her proofreader, which I gladly accepted because I love this girl and this book. And then I about cried, because the level to which this story was taken was absolutely magical. Never once was I bored; in fact, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, even after knowing what happens. And I fell in love with Jenni’s characters even more than I already had.
“So, Rook Di Goo?” you say. “You’ve been raving about this book for paragraphs now, Savanna, but what is it really about?”
Well, let me gift you the synopsis, as I don’t want to butcher a summary with my fangirling…
“Cadet Elisandra Elis is haunted by the things she’s done.
Fighting on Taras, El has done things that go well beyond the call of war. So when she sees a chance to run, she takes it, joining the Aderyn. The ship is quite literally falling apart but the crew — a pilot with an easy sense of humor, a medic with a heart of gold, and a captain who makes her feel a lot of confusing things — make her question what it means to belong somewhere.
But when she’s faced with an opportunity to save her kingdom — and in turn the galaxy — El is caught between the planet she loves and the crew that has welcomed her as one of their own. Left to question just how much she’s willing to give up for the kingdom that broke her, she must decide if throwing her life away is worth it. Or perhaps she should just keep running; thus far, that’s what she’s proven to be best at.
It’s Cinderella reimagined in this science fantasy retelling about a disenchanted idealist looking for her place in the galaxy.”
Hi, okay, yes, I’ll just be over here sobbing forever about how fantastic the synopsis is. (*whispers* Jenni, Jenni – can I just pay you to write my synopses for me forever please and thankye? *disappears*)
Alright, so I’ve already wooed you with my summary of how amazing Jenni is and how awesome I think this book is and also have I mentioned that synopsis??? Once or twice? Okay, fine, moving on. But what did I really enjoy about it?
First and foremost, it felt FRESH while still nodding to the original fairy tale. Guys, given my personal experience with THIEF, that’s crazy hard to do. Half the time, you have retellers sitting back going, “Okay, you only need the bare bones of the original tale and you can change everything else,” while you have the other retellers shaking their heads and saying, “No, no, you need to tell the exact same story, but maybe in a different setting and with just a couple things changed. But not too much!” It’s a fine balance to discover, and while Jenni took liberties with her characters and the story setting, there were loads of aspects of the original Cinderella that were included. For example (non-spoilery, of course), the dead mother, and there are three balls that the main character El has to attend. I won’t say anything more because of spoilers, but Jenni did a fantastic job with that. There are a ton of Star Wars/The Lunar Chronicles vibes while still being her own thing.
I feel like I say this every book, but the characters are PHENOMENAL. Characters are the whole reason I read, guys, and they’re my make-or-break in a book. Each has a personality all their own, and the dynamics between the cast is just wonderful, like something you’d see in a movie. El is a heroine that is raw and real and one you will fall in love with, and you will definitely swoon over Captain Leiv. Ginger needs a long hug and lots of tea, and her sweet personality is a breath of fresh air whenever the others are lost in their own heads. Trapp is a sassy bean that I will love forever. And Gibbs… Let’s just say Gibbs holds a special place in my heart. You need to read about him to see what I mean. Truly, all of these characters could probably use a hug and some tea, so yeah…there’s that.
Which leads me to my third favorite aspect! The tea! Tea is one of Jenni’s favorite drinks, and between her and my eldest sister-in-law, they’ve made it into one of my favorite drinks, and now here we are. Whenever there’s a problem in Rook Di Goo (or at least, whenever there’s a problem that involves the whole cast being on the ship at the same time without issues), tea is served because tea solves everything, yes? At least most everything. Basically, tea is a fundamental part to this book, and while it may be a minor detail, it makes me so happy.
I could literally rave on and on about this book, but really, you need to go read it for yourselves. As I said in my Goodreads review, “You’re destined to fall in love with it.”
Have you read Rook Di Goo yet? Do you have a favorite Cinderella retelling?