It’s been some time since I read a slightly larger book in one sitting (okay, two, had to sleep through the night, but you get the point). The Rook, Daniel O’Malley’s first novel, concerns the story of an amnesiac main heroine who one day wakes up surrounded by countless creepy, dead dudes and who has absolutely no idea who she is or what brought her to this point. A few letters (okay, quite a lot actually) by her former self brings her mostly up to date, but overall things gets from bad to worse.
Myfanwy Thomas is a Rook, employed in a secret British intelligence organization that deals with supernatural threats and is host to quite a number of supernaturally gifted people themselves. The history of the Chequy goes back some time and one of the oldest threats from the past is rearing its head again. As well as betrayal from the inside.
I would be lying if I said this was an original setting or an original plot (it’s a clever mix of various elements you’ve probably seen countless times over the years), but on the other hand I won’t lie when I say it’s also totally enthralling. Sure, a few scenes could have been cut, a few times I thought the prose was a bit on the amateurish side, but all in all it’s an easy and fun read.
The whole new character in old-body stick was handled okay, mostly. A bit less superficiality and more depth about the whole existential problem of the setup could have done wonders (its possible, cue Second Person, Present Tense), but since I knew that this was a story about a supernatural government agency, I wasn’t expecting the story to really go there.