The Rook by Daniel O’Malley is a book that completely flew under my radar for which I am exceedingly chagrined. To be fair, it came out back in 2012 when I was just starting to pay attention to new books coming out, unlike my current obsessed state. However, this whole situation therefore made me exceedingly glad that the sequel showed up unexpectedly on my doorstep, since I went right out and grabbed The Rook from the library and proceeded to lose an entire weekend in a mysterious time contraction event.
The Rook by Daniel O'Malley (The Checquy Files #1)
Published by Little Brown on Jan 11th, 2012
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Fantasy
Page Length: 486 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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"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 Chequy 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 Chequy 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 Rookis a richly inventive, suspenseful, and often wry thriller that marks an ambitious debut from a promising young writer.
- Do I really need to say anything other than Supernatural British Secret Service? It’s like The Kingsmen but with more fantastical super powers okay?? I really wasn’t sure about the start with the whole body switching thing, but the real plot about all this supernatural stuff is where it is at so stick with it!
- As you would probably expect from a book set in Britain, there is an undercurrent of subtle and dry humor that absolutely delighted me. This book doesn’t try to be a comedy, but that makes it all the better when a character slips in a surprising joke out of nowhere that takes you a second to process.
- Myfanwy is a fantastic main character. I’m often skeptical about female main characters written by men, but this woman is the perfect blend of smart but fallible. She messes up sometimes, but she has enough confidence in herself to keep trying to figure things out. I would love to be friends with her as long as she doesn’t zap me with her powers.
- The Rook is a pretty thick book, but I found myself tearing through the pages. There is never a dull moment between Myfanwy trying to figure out what happened to the previous occupant of her body and the whole running of a secret supernatural police force thing. I literally got through this whole book in a weekend and loved every minute.
- Why does every wonderful book have to have one glaring flaw? I loved everything about The Rook except for some word choices that rather pissed me off. Words like “midget”, “anorexic” and “slut” were used to describe people inappropriately and I just can’t abide that. I kept reading, but clearly those words stuck out enough to royally annoy me first.
The Rook is a fresh and unique entry into the urban fantasy genre, though it can’t even really be classified with that term since it doesn’t fit most of the genre’s tropes. It’s British urban fantasy I guess? Anyway, it rocks and since the sequel is finally coming out in a few short months, it’s the perfect time to get caught up!
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
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