Review: The Rook (The Checquy Files #1) by Daniel O’Malley

Genre: Fantasy
Format: Trade Paperback
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (January 11, 2012)
How I got this book: Bought
Links: Amazon Goodreads

Blurb from Goodreads:

“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: 4/5 Stars – A good read. I really enjoyed it.

Review: 

What a delightful surprise!  The blurb gave me the impression that The Rook was going to have a dark, gritty tone, but it’s actually laugh-out-loud hilarious.  Even though I guessed the culprit early on, I loved watching Myfanwy put the clues together.  The old Myfanwy’s letters to her new self really made her feel like a person to me, which made the loss of her identity acutely painful to read; it was like watching a favorite character die.  But despite my sympathy for the old Myfanwy, I quickly came to love how the new Myfanwy makes a place for herself and establishes her own, distinct personality.  It’s extremely funny and satisfying to watch her shatter other people’s expectations by being everything the old Myfanwy was not – a bold, brash leader who isn’t afraid to use her abilities to their full extent.

On the downside, the plot line centering on Myfanwy’s long, lost sister felt kind of random and unnecessary to me (and led to a TSTL moment for our otherwise savvy heroine). It also seemed that some things came too easily to Myfanwy such as her insta-friendship with Shantay and the relative ease with which she navigated the office politics and supernatural dangers of her new job. Still, these flaws didn’t significantly detract from my enjoyment of the story.

Finally, I can’t end this review without mentioning the wonderfully creative, complex worldbuilding. If you’re looking for an urban fantasy with a well-thought-out and unique premise, then I highly recommend this novel.  In short, The Rook is an incredibly fun, entertaining read.  I didn’t expect it to be so funny, which caught me by surprise in the best possible way.  I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel!

4stars

Reading Order:

  1. The Rook
  2. Untitled sequel, expected publication TBD

Also reviewed at:

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About Lesley

I love big dogs, ravioli, and all things nerdy. Books are my crack.
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