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The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

October 31, 2012

From the author’s website:
“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.

I first heard of The Rook when Raych reviewed it and it sounded way too fun to pass up. So I immediately added my name to the hold list at the library. That was in March. By the time it became available for me in October (once the copies the library ordered finally arrived), I had no longer had any idea what it was about or why I’d been so eager to read it. And seeing as I had just dropped off a book of similar heftiness unread (and two weeks late) I was a little wary about something I doubted I would have the time or interest to finish. But I figured I would at least give it a start on my commute home from the library.

I was hooked after the first two and a half pages.

In The Rook you’ve got supernatural beings, a secret government agency, and a story that does not take itself too seriously, and I gobbled it up. We learn about the Checquy, a secretive yet powerful organization, as the new Myfanwy Thomas does, who is thrown into the deepest of deep ends. Thanks to the preparedness of her predecessor, she’s able to manage her way through everything from an executive meetings to battling mutant fungus.

Since I’m rusty at this reviewing thing, I’m just going to list some of the things I loved about this book:

*New Myfanwy (rhymes with Tiffany). She steps up to the challenge of submerging herself into old Myfanwy’s life and then some. And as if the challenge of being someone else isn’t enough, she also has to figure out who she is – since she really is a brand new person. Also, she kicks a lot of butt and is very good at it.

*Old Myfanwy, or as she’s referred to by new Myfanwy, Thomas. At first Thomas’ inclusion in the story seems to just be to provide background details for Myfanwy, but she really does come into her own as a character. She is someone in a position of power, but blatantly aware of her shortcomings and the lack of respect others have for her. And now she has to deal with the fact that someone she trusts is trying to wipe her out.

*The Checquy (Sheck-Eh) Group. Secret government organization! Full of tradition and a longstanding structure that no longer makes sense in modern times! Run by people with supernatural abilities! O’Malley has created a really fun world for him to play around in, and the Checquy is at the centre of it. There are layers and elaborately simple cover stories. Extraordinary people performing extraordinary tasks, and then trying to fit into normal society. Everything you want to curl up with on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

There were times when The Rook slid fully into plain silliness, but for the most part it was extremely entertaining. I would actually get a little giddy every time I opened it, because I couldn’t wait to see what O’Malley had in store for me.

I believe this is the first in a series, and you can bet I will read the next instalment.

Source: Library

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. October 31, 2012 8:04 am

    Interesting! I had this on my TBR list for a long time and just purchased it the other day. I’m excited to read it!

  2. October 31, 2012 12:05 pm

    I just heard about this book the other day and it sounded really good. I might have to give it a try. =)

  3. October 31, 2012 1:30 pm

    Ooo… I have this on my list. :) Now I can’t wait to get to it.

  4. October 31, 2012 8:35 pm

    I think it’s best when I put a book on my wishlist, it stays on there long enough that I don’t remember much about it, and then I get blown away by it! Looks like this worked for you :)

    • November 1, 2012 7:27 pm

      Starting a book with no idea what it’s about is one of my favourite things.

  5. November 1, 2012 3:27 am

    Ooh, not normally lured by the supernatural but this does sound like so much fun – going on my wish list now.

    • November 1, 2012 7:26 pm

      Neither am I! But this was worth stepping out of my comfort zone for.

  6. November 4, 2012 9:40 pm

    I am glad you enjoyed it too. It was a fun read and lots of twists.

  7. November 9, 2012 8:06 am

    I didn’t know this was supposed to be a series! I’m not sure why, but I only liked this one, even though it had everything to make me fall in love with it. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it more!

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