Author: Daniel O'Malley
Format: Hardcover, 496 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (January 11, 2012)
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Thriller
Review Copy: Provided by Publisher
"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.
When I think of The Rook the first word that comes to mind is 'fun.' Great fun actually. But to simply say that The Rook is 'fun' would be facile on my part. The Rook is a terrific read for a lot of reasons.
Foremost The Rook is very well written. The mystery of why Myfanwy Thomas is without her memory and who did what to whom is hard to crack. As soon as I'd thought I'd figured it out, the story proved me wrong. Not because of authorial plot shenanigans, but because the unraveling of the mystery was very well handled. I really enjoyed how this is done with new Myfanwy being aided by information left behind by old Myfanwy. Myfanwy is a wonderful character. She's trying to figure out how to do her job as Rook and racing against time to find who in the Chequy harmed her and why. The Rook is not a short read (nearly 500 pages), but I barely noticed the length.
The Chequy is itself amazing. It's a fantastical governmental agency. Think FBI/CIA rolled into one that handles supernatural threats. Yes, other supernatural agencies exist in literature, but none quite like the Chequy. How the Chequy functions is explained well, but never bogs down the story. I really enjoyed seeing how the Chequy works, how threats are handled, and meeting the people with whom Myfanwy works, despite that fact that one of them wants her erased. Mr. O'Malley's scrupulous attention to detail creates a believable, if somewhat unusual, governmental agency.
The upper echelon of the Chequy are fascinating characters themselves. Because Myfanwy is trying to figure out which of them might be after her, we get to know each of them well. I certainly enjoyed learning about them and their powers... and trying to figure out who did it and why.
Mr. O'Malley has infused The Rook with wry humor, unusual supernatural beings, and a deeply absorbing mystery. The Rook made me laugh out loud, entertained me, and kept me fascinated from start to finish.
I give The Rook 5 Qwills.