Friday, May 13, 2022

"Rook di Goo" by Jenni Sauer

As much as I loved Rook di Goo the first time I read it... I loved it even more this second time through.  The first time, it was my introduction to Jenni Sauer.  Now, I've read three more of her books.  The first time, I didn't know if I could trust her to give me a happy ending.  This time, I had the joy of already knowing the ending, and being able to trace how she set it up.  The first time, I didn't know I would become an actual Gibbs fan when I read Yesterday or Long Ago, and I found him kind of meh in this one; this time, I found him endearing.

Although A Little Beside You remains my favorite Sauer book, this one really is a close second.  El's journey from disillusioned military deserter to fierce and loyal team member is just... beautiful.  It is.  The fact that this is also a Cinderella retelling is secondary for me, because El's story is so much more interesting than that.  Yes, the Cinderella elements are there, but they're... not the point, you know?

The point is that broken people have worth and purpose.  That hurting people can find healing.  Joy and friendship and love are not reserved for the whole and healthy.  And I LOVE that message.  Fiercely.  It's exactly what God offers to us when he says, "Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."  And when the Isaiah says, "A bruised reed, He will not break, and a smoldering wick, He will not extinguish."  And the Psalmist, when he says, "A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise."  There's so much depth of truth to this book, bearing out Biblical truths even though it's set in an imaginary sci-fi world and the words 'God' and 'Bible' and 'Jesus' don't appear.

Anyway, totally love this book. So much.

Particularly Good Bits:

Cyrene was advertised as a melting pot, but most knew it to be a dumping ground (p. 2).

"Ginger says I have an eye for seeing lost things, and I guess you could say that's true" (p. 73).

She would die down here, suffocating in her own cowardice because she was too afraid of standing up for what was right and facing the consequences.  And the worst part was she wasn't sure which fate was worse (p. 130).

Tulle and lace, wrapping every woman in the room up like a package (p. 217).

Hadn't her ancestors been willing to die for what was right?  Hadn't they thought fighting oppression more important than preserving their own lives?  Hadn't they laid down their lives for truth and justice to prevail?  Revolutions weren't fought by people who played it safe (p. 345).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG-13 for violence and trauma regarding remembered  acts of war.  No cussing, no smut, no other questionable content.


  1. Yep, I love Gibbs. Planning to read Yesterday or Long Ago whenever I get out of this reading slump I've found myself in. :P And then A Little Beside You because I think I'll really love Bender...

    1. Eva, you're going to really like YOLA, then :-) And yeah, Bender is kind of like... if Darry Curtis had to go work for a gang. He's so awesome.

  2. I'm really glad you loved the book as much as you did the first time--without you, I would never have discovered it! It's so cozy and healing and satisfying.

    It's interesting what you said about the Cinderella elements being secondary for you. For me, they are... and they aren't. El herself is one of my favorite "Cinderella" characters, I really love HER journey specifically as a Cinderella retelling. But the rest of the story isn't very Cinderella-ish for me, and I even think Captain Benham would be an even stronger character if he DIDN'T have that Cinderella/Prince Charming tie-in to his backstory. (Trying to avoid spoilers here, lol.)

    1. Katie, and I'm so glad I could make you aware of Jenni Sauer's books! Especially this one :-)

      What I meant, really, was that I would love this book even without the Cinderella elements. You know? Some retellings, the fun is in finding the little strands that connect it to the original. That's not the fun thing here, for me.


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