Shara's Reviews > The Rook

The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
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's review
Jan 25, 2014

really liked it
Read from February 09 to 15, 2012 — I own a copy

3.5 stars, technically.

The premise: ganked from "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 ROOK is a richly inventive, suspenseful, and often wry thriller that marks an ambitious debut from a promising young writer.

My Rating: Worth Reading, with Reservations

I'll say it again: the beginning was, for me, the best part of the book. That doesn't mean the rest of the book doesn't have anything to offer. It does. It passes the Bechdel test in spades, features a heroine who saves the day with intellect and diplomacy versus physical ass-kicking, and even better, doesn't have a hint of romance in it. For readers looking for a fun urban fantasy that isn't Buffy-lit, this is your book. Also, O'Malley's got quite a clever take on amnesia, though it requires a certain suspension of disbelief that not all readers will be able to accomplish (though considering the fact I hate amnesia stories and this worked as a whole? I feel qualified in saying it works well). That being said, the while the book does have plenty of good to offer, I felt a wee bit let down, partially due to my own expectations and partially due to the tone not quite ever figuring out what it wants to be. That's okay: this is a debut after all, but I found myself wishing I'd gotten the Kindle version instead, because the book itself is rather large, and I would've had more fun reading it on the Kindle. :)

Also, while this book certainly stands on its own two feet, I suspect this is the first of a series. I can't find anything on the author's website to confirm or deny this (though I didn't look very hard), but I wouldn't be surprised if we meet Myfanwy again in the future. While the story isn't really about recapturing her memory, it is about finding out WHY she lost it to begin with, and because this book answers that question, perhaps the next question is seeing what's next, and if she'll ever recover the memories she lost. However, I'm not sure the "letters to self" device would work for more than one book. Even in this book alone, there were places I had trouble buying into the concept, as clever as it was (and really, it worked on the whole).

Spoilers, yay or nay?: Yay. Given the particular pros and cons of the book that I had, I'll end up venturing into spoiler territory, so if you're wanting to remain surprised, do not read the full review. However, if you don't care about spoilers or if you've read the book, then feel free to read the full review, which is in my blog, the link to which I've provided below. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome.

REVIEW: Daniel O'Malley's THE ROOK

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Reading Progress

02/09/2012 page 62
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Yay!

Michelle ^ What Lisa said. Can't wait for your review of this!

Tobyleaf Oh I wish the full review hadn't been deleted. I would loved to have read your thought on this one.

Shara Tobyleaf wrote: "Oh I wish the full review hadn't been deleted. I would loved to have read your thought on this one."

Tobyleaf: how about the full review at my LJ?

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