The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
Published by Little Brown
5 out of 5 stars
Book/Series Website: http://www.rookfiles.com/
I’ve put this in YA, but its not really a YA book, Myfanwy is 28 or so, and the writing is generally a little more ‘grown up’ than some teen books, however thats not to say teens won’t enjoy it – its a good read for anyone that likes a good fairy tale.
There were a few negative reviews on good reads, I don’t know why. I LOVED the Rook, I’ve recommended it to everyone I can think of.
I dont think the synopsis does it any favours in finding readers – it really doesn’t explain what the book is about.
Yes the opening scenes include a girl with no memory in a field with a load of dead people around her. But thats not really the theme of the book (for me anyway). The theme for me was a combination of the philosophy of ‘are you your memories’ and the supernatural MI5 world that O’Mally wrote.
So as above, a young(ish) girl suddenly comes ‘to’ in a field with a ton of bodies around her. She has no memory of who she is, all she has is a note beginning: ”The body you are wearing used to be mine’. Guided by the old ‘Myfanwy’ (said miff-any, like tiffany) the new Myfanwy starts to put together whats happened, and who (or what) she is. Its not long before the past catches up with her and drags her down into a supernatural rabbit hole and into a secret MI5 type organisation, which is the key to Myfanwy getting back to herself (so to speak). Throw in gore, puss, magic, vampires and a four bodied colleague (yes, four bodied – one mind…) and your in for a fun filled ride.
I read shades of pratchett and rowling (in harry potter, not the casual vacancy), whilst the story could get quite dark and moving, there is humour happening in the back ground, filling in the world that the story is set in. The only complaint I have is one that I only noticed after reading the reviews on GR, the use of american-isms in a British set book (ATM seems to be the most common one). It didn’t annoy me during the book, but once it had been pointed out I noticed it more!
The Rook keeps you guessing, its one of the few books that I genuinely didn’t know ‘who dunnit’, I even started suspecting Myfanwy at one point! I think I mistrusted everyone at some stage, and when the big reveal happened, it was unexpected and at the same time sooooooo obvious (you feel rather daft for not realising before).
My mum read it, and didn’t ‘get it’ which may be the major issue with getting the book to a larger audience. She asked at the end ‘so who was the new person in her body’ – the whole ‘she is still myfanny’ bit was missed completely.
I’d still recommend the book, its an non-stop action piece that makes you stop and think – about who you are, who you’d be without your memories and of course – whens the next instalment coming out!