The Rook by Daniel O’Malley- Review

Cover- The Rook

Rating: 5.0/5.0 Stars

Synopsis:

“The body you are wearing used to be mine.” So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Checquy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.

In her quest to uncover which member of the Checquy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.

Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, THE ROOK is a richly inventive, suspenseful, and often wry thriller that marks an ambitious debut from a promising young writer.


I picked up the Rook on a whim- I had never heard of this book or the author, but the blurb made it sound quite exciting. I was hooked by the end of the first chapter and spent the following several days reading it at every opportunity. If I could write a novel a quarter as well as I think I could, it wouldn’t be half as clever as this book!

The Rook is written in through the eyes of Myfanwy Thomas, who has lost her memory and finds a series of letters from her pre-amnesia self. I’m honestly not a 100% sure that she isn’t a completely different consciousness altogether, but that’s a tangent for another day. Anyway, Myfanwy (Miff-a-nee) reads these letters and shows up to work on Monday aware that someone she works with is trying to have her whacked Mafia-style. Now mind you, work isn’t some traditional office job- she’s working for the supernatural secret service of England (or U.K?) called the Checquy.

The reader also gets some info-dumps via letters written by pre-amnesia Myfanwy Thomas. These really help the reader to get a sense of how much she has changed since the memory loss and give a good summary of the other members of the Court of the Checquy. The letters show a painfully shy girl who really did not like making use of her ability to control people’s bodies. Yeah, that’s right, I said control people’s bodies. She was incredibly, fantastically suited to her role as an administrator in the Checquy so she never really had to exercise her supernatural powers, only the bureaucratic ones.
The other characters are well done and they have interesting backstories that are conveniently provided through the letters and notes Myfanwy left for herself. And yes, she did know she would lose her memory. In fact, several people and a duck predicted this would happen and that a member of the Court would be behind it. The story begins with her trying to get her life together, uncovering who tried to kill her, and trying to keep everyone else from getting killed by a particularly malevolent group of supernatural baddies from Belgium.

The Rook is definitely in the Top 10 Reads of 2015 for me. I loved the dry humor which made me laugh out loud on several occasions, thus garnering odd looks from coworkers. The plot was great, the characters were really interesting and pretty well developed, and lastly it was addictive! I could have ready the entire book in one sitting if I had the chance! I think that fans of the Dresden Files could really appreciate The Rook. There will be a sequel titled Stiletto, which will hopefully be released January 2016.

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