Hey all! Today I’m talking about a book I’d wanted to read for years. It’s called The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, and it was on a list of bestsellers/must-read books for the year of 2012, which was a hell of a lot of time ago. It had been on my Amazon list for years, and I just received it as a Christmas present.
It’s a pretty interesting subject that immediately caught my attention: a young English woman named Myfanwy Thomas wakes up in a London park, surrounded by dead bodies and with no memory of who she is. The only thing she has is a letter in her pocket, written by her former self, giving her instructions and guidance on the life she will lead. Myfanwy quickly finds out she’s not normal, obviously because of the bodies in the park, and she has to choose whether to run from her previous life or embrace it.
Myfanwy decides, after another attempt on her life, that she has to figure out who she was before she lost her memory, and so she learns she’s a high-level operative in a secret government program dedicated to fighting supernatural threats in the United Kingdom and abroad. Pretty cool, huh? Along the way, the new Myfanwy Thomas not only has to learn how to do her job and live her life, but she also has to learn about this world populated secretly with vampires, villains, and other supernatural phenomena. Oh, and she also has the ability to manipulate other people bodies, inflict pain, and control their movements! And of course, there’s a threat within this super-secret organization, a threat that betrayed her trust and may be planning to invade the country…
This book definitely seemed impressive to me when I first picked it up, and even though while I was reading it I very much enjoyed it, I do think it could have been thought out better. You know when you’re reading or watching a fantasy story and you feel like everything makes perfect sense, so much so that you end up fully believing this stuff could really happen? Harry Potter and Neil Gaiman books come immediately to mind, as well as something like Game of Thrones. Unfortunately, this book didn’t inspire those feelings. The writing was good, the voice is funny, and the tone is playful, but it all didn’t seem real enough–as if this were someone’s dream rather than an impressive instance of world building.
All the same, books like these were meant to be entertaining rather than immersive, so I took it for what it was. Myfanwy’s character arc was satisfying, and there were no distracting, silly romances detracting from her development as a character, all the more impressive considering it was written by a man (no offense). I also loved her name! So Welsh, very unique, and beautiful in an unusual way.
There is a sequel out, so even though it may not be high on my to-read list, it’s definitely a world I can return to in the future!