4.5 stars, book reviews, Reviews, Uncategorized
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Book Review: The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

What’s it about: A high ranking bureaucrat in a government agency dealing with the paranormal wakes up with no memories of who she is, but a trail of letters outlining that someone else in the organisation is trying to kill her.

What did I think? Oh my goodness. What a fantastic read. So, I’ve had this on my ereader for AGES, but never started it until I saw the trailer. Yep that’s right. A book trailer actually made me want to read a book. Curious? Why not give it a little look-see then:

This book centers around Myfanwy Thomas, a bureaucrat in the Checquy, a secret government agency that deals with the paranormal. Although Myfanwy has some pretty serious superpowers, to the dismay of her superiors, she has a rather nervous disposition, making her unsuitable for field work. However, her ability to push papers almost rivals her supernatural powers and have allowed her to excel in the Checquy anyway, until someone takes away her memories. However, in true Myfanwy fashion, she is too organised to let that stop her.

So new Myfanwy wakes up, surrounded by a bunch of bodies, with no memories. All she has is a letter telling her about her old life and a bunch of bad guys who want her dead. So new Myfanwy has to insert herself into her old life to find out who’s trying to kill her, and becomes a rather bad ass agent.

IMG_8809 ps

This book is so funny. I was laugh-crying in some bits (maybe this isn’t one to read on public transport if you’re sensitive about strangers staring at your like your a lunatic). It’s deliciously full of completely random humour. For example:

“According to Thomas, the city had once been a veritable hotbed of manifestations, with every sorcerer, bunyip, golem, goblin, pict, pixie, demon, thylacine, gorgon, moron, cult, scum, mummy, rummy, groke, sphinx, minx, muse, flagellant, diva, reaver, weaver, reaper, scabbarder, scabmettler, dwarf, midget, little person, leprechaun, marshwiggle, totem, soothsayer, truthsayer, hatter, hattifattener, imp, panwere, mothman, shaman, flukeman, warlock, morlock, poltergeist, zeitgeist, elemental, banshee, manshee, lycanthrope, lichenthrope, sprite, wight, aufwader, harpy, silkie, kelpie, klepto, specter, mutant, cyborg, balrog, troll, ogre, cat in shoes, dog in a hat, psychic and psychotic seemingly having decided that this was the hot spot to visit.”

See random. And amazing.

This book alternates between old-Myfanwy (referred to as Thomas) through her letters, and new-Myfanwy (referred to as just Myfanwy) and I really thought the contrast between the two characters gave this book an awesome dynamic, even if the letters did seem to always pop up at just the wrong time in the story. Oh someone’s about to be eaten by a huge tentacled beast? Looks like it’s time for a letter! Yeah, it got a bit annoying, but they needed to go in somewhere, and were always entertaining enough that the tentacled beasts weren’t missed for long.

“Yes, Minister, it turns out that there was a mysterious force that caused that plane to crash. We call it gravity.”

Myfanwy (the new one) is an awesome character. She’s powerful, intelligent, witty, and kind, and a fantastic protagonist. She’s also an absolutely delight to read about when she’s angry. Myfanwy makes paperwork look like the most interesting job in the world.

“I’m going back to sleep,’ she said, lying back down. ‘I shall see if there’s anyone interesting asleep in America.’
‘That seems rather like a contradiction in terms, ma’am.'”

I also found out that the author lives and works as a public servant in the city I live in,  which was literally designed to house public servants. Nearly every adult living here has been one at some point. And this book is definitely either a love letter to the Australian public service or a massive middle finger at it. I can’t decide which. But whatever it is, I love it.

The second book in this series, Stiletto, has just been released and I will be picking that up really soon.

I rate it 4.5/5 stars

Find it here:

Goodreads. Amazon. The Book Depository. Kobo.



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