The Rook

I read a lot. And I read a lot of different things. Because I read so much over such a wide range of topics I feel that I have disciplined myself very well to put down a book at any point in the story, whether it is because I want to or need to. So it has been a while since I have felt the whole “I couldn’t put it down!” feeling. The Rook turned out to be the first book in a long time where I really did not want to put it down.

The Rook started out as my night book. I like to read or listen to music at nights until I get tired, but if I read I hate having to bring whatever book I’m reading upstairs for the night and then having to remember to bring it back downstairs the next morning to take to work. Since I wasn’t sure whether I was going to like this book, but knew I needed to get it read, I made it my night book. That lasted about 2 days until it became my anytime book and I was taking it with me wherever I went.

I first discovered this book when it came into the library as a new book. It’s my job to process the new books at our branch so I cracked this one open to read the inside cover. It sounded…interesting, but nothing I thought I really wanted to read (thrillers have always been a big turnoff for me, I’m not sure why). I flipped it over to read the comments on the back and was also a bit turned off by the claim that it was “Harry Potter meets Ghostbusters meets War of the Worlds“. After reading the book myself I’m fairly certain this reviewer didn’t actually read the book at all, as there is really no similarity to those books/movies in the slightest. However, the very last review claimed it was “part Bourne Identity, part X-Men, and with a hefty dose of Monty Python”. Whoa, did somebody say Monty Python? Because I’ve been madly in love with those boys since my dad introduced me and my sister to The Holy Grail when I was still in the single digits. So I checked it out.

“Dear You” the book begins, “the body you are wearing used to be mine.” See Myfanwy Thomas has lost her memory. All she knows is that when she gained consciousness she was standing in the rain surrounded by unconscious men wearing latex gloves. There was a letter directed simply “To You” in her coat pocket with instructions on what she needed to do. The previous Myfanwy Thomas had planned two paths for her successor: to run away and hide or pretend to be Myfanwy Thomas and find out what has happened to her. It’s not a spoiler to say that Myfanwy decides on the latter choice and then has to deal with the consequences.

And there are consequences. Myfanwy Thomas is actually Rook Thomas of the Checquy, the British organization charged with protecting British citizens of all the supernatural threats to the realm. Many of the members of the Checquy have supernatural powers themselves and the organization has also dedicated itself to finding others with powers and raising them to be valuable members of the Checquy. Myfanwy Thomas now has to figure out how she lost her memory and why, while simultaneously trying to save the country from an old enemy and protect the Checquy from an interior threat.

It could easily become a confusing story. But O’Malley follows the present stream of events with Myfanwy, and then provides background information on her previous life through letters Thomas wrote before losing her memory. Hmm. I might be making this fairly confusing myself. But it is a detective novel of sorts and a thriller with plenty of silly and absurd humor thrown in when least expected. It’s a great read and one I found myself unwilling to put down.

And if this sort of thing is important to you, it is definitely a mix of MI-5 and X-Men with just the right amount of Monty Python and Douglas Adams.

Find out more on the official website for the book here!


3 thoughts on “The Rook

  1. […] Rook: I read this book back in March and fell in love with it almost immediately. Here are my thoughts on it. It’s definitely more X-Men than Harry Potter but if you’re […]


  2. […] be just as competent and entertaining characters as any man. Don’t believe me? Try reading The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. Or The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman. Or Guardian of the Dead by […]


  3. […] The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. One of my favorite books. Even better- a sequel, Stilletto, is coming out […]


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