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The RookThe Rook
Daniel O’Malley
Young Adult – Science Fiction/ Paranormal
Little, Brown and Company
January 11th, 2012

“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.

General Comments

The Rook was a book I discovered while surfing through book blog after book blog. I can’t tell you much about the book blog I found it reviewed on, just that the background was brownish and that the blogger behind it all was a guy. What I can tell you is that the review made me want that book so much and now that I’ve read it, words cannot express how happy I am that that book blog and that review existed. Cheers to awesome books!


Critical Review

How would you feel if you were to wake up, bloodied and bruised, surrounded by dead people when you have no idea who you even are? Well that was how Myfanwy Thomas, the protagonist, felt at the beginning of the story. Not only does she not know who she is but apparently she knew she was going to be left memory-less and wrote herself letters as a precaution. Now this new Myfanwy must use these letters and her quick wit to navigate the dangerous and astounding world that the old Myfanwy inhabited. And she must do it while burdened with the knowledge that one of the people closest to her, is out to get her.

Written from the third person POV, The Rook is a story that starts off quite slowly, but deliberately and steadily gains in momentum until the reader is hurtling towards the end, eyes darting from side to side trying desperately to figure out who the traitor is before it’s too late. The story, while it appears to be lacking something in the beginning, quickly becomes all engrossing as readers are swept up in the great writing and flow.

The Myfanwy we meet at the beginning of the story is mostly a clean slate. She has a vague idea of what she likes, she knows what normal everyday things are, she knows that being surrounded by dead people is not desirable but that is where she ends. Her personality and her memories have almost been completely erased and she acts like it. Therefore, at the beginning of the story she is rather flat, rather two dimensional, which can make it hard to like her and hard to get into the story. However, as the story progresses we see her developing rapidly as a person, someone we can like, respect, and admire.

I really did love this book but I will be the first to say that the beginning was a bit of a drag. It wasn’t bad, not at all, but it makes it slightly hard to get into the story. However, my perseverance was rewarded and the story I found once I got past the beginning made up for it all.

Rating Conclusion

Overall, I really loved The Rook! I loved the story, I loved the protagonist, and I loved the world. However, there were a few things that detracted from my enjoyment of it. Mainly the beginning. Everything else, including what I considered inconsistencies regarding Myfanwy’s abilities, can be overlooked in the awesomeness of the story, everything except the beginning. It wasn’t horrible, but it felt like a let down and it does truly pale in comparison to the rest of the book. Therefore, I’m giving the Rook four out of five stars.

Happy Wednesday guys!


Disclaimer: This book was received from the publisher, Little, Brown and Company, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.