The Rook

My two favourite reads of 2016 were science fiction. This is surprised me. It is not a genre I usually pick up to read, but maybe I should. The first was The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North which I reviewed earlier. The second was The Rook by Daniel O’Malley.

The Rook starts with Myfanwy Thomas waking up in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. She has no recollection of who she is. All she has is a letter in her pocket; a letter that begins with “The body you are wearing used to be mine.” She soon finds herself trying to figure out how she lost her memory and how to manage the basics of Myfanwy’s job (a Rook) at the secret agency known as the Checquy Group, a secret organization that deals with the supernatural forces in Britain.

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.

O’Malley has written a clever plot which delivers a great balance between humour and drama from both Myfanwy past and Myfanwy present. O’Malley has a great imagination and developed some creative characters including the creepy Rook Gestalt, her counterpart in the organisation

“Three boys and one girl. Two of the boys were identical. That’s not the weirdest thing, however. The weirdest thing was that when all four pairs of eyes opened, only one mind was looking out from behind them. This was Gestalt.”

 

Let’s just say a few of my friends will be receiving this book for Christmas this year.