The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
Series: The Checquy Files #1
Published by Little, Brown and Company on January 11, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy
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"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.
The Rook was a breath of fresh air! I had such an enjoyable read and I am anxiously awaiting the next book in the series (Summer 2015?).
The Rook – to me – is like “Homeland Security UK – Supernatural Division.” It’s sort of a cross between a [very, very] secret Homeland Security and the TV show Supernatural. The Rook starts by catching your attention from the very first page – Myfanwy Thomas, the heroine, opens her eyes and she’s clueless as to who she is but she’s standing in the rain in a circle of dead bodies. I was immediately hooked.
Myfanwy was aware that something – someone – was going to happen to cause her to lose all of her memories and what made her Myfanwy Thomas, so she prepared for that circumstance. The original Myfanwy was not a very strong or aggressive person but although she was meek she was intelligent, resourceful and an excellent planner. She was able to plan as much as she could for the “new person” who would inhabit her body. So when new Myfanwy opened her eyes, she had a letter from old Myfanwy in her pocket. This letter told her who she was and gave her instructions.
Myfanwy learns that she is part of a secret organization named “The Checquy.” The Checquy protects England from attacks of supernatural creatures that would destroy England and then the world. The Checquy does this by creating it’s own group of supernatural human soldiers and administrators who have been groomed for this task from birth. The Checquy is organized like a game of chess and the highest ranking members of the Checquy are given chess style titles. Myfanwy is a Rook – one of two Rooks – and she is tasked with the administration of the majority of the organization.
The entire book is a series of events interspersed with (lots of) letters from “Thomas” (as new Myfanwy called her old self) to Myfanwy. Via these letters Myfanwy learns who she was – who she IS – and how to accomplish important tasks. The most important task of all: discovering who is the traitor to the Checquy that tried to kill her and why.
The Rook follows Myfanwy as she (re)learns her job and searches for her potential assassinator. The new Myfanwy is very, very different than Thomas – she is pushy, she is strong and she has no problems asserting herself. It makes the reader wonder if Myfanwy and Thomas were the same person, two totally different people OR if the new Myfanwy is who Thomas would have been if she had not joined the Checquy.
I had a blast reading The Rook. I loved nearly every single second of it – except for the few times that Myfanwy makes godawful decisions – and I will purchase a copy of Stiletto when it’s released.