After seeing a few rave reviews of The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, I went into it with fairly high expectations. And let me tell you, THEY WERE MET. This book basically rocks and is by far one of the best fantasy novels I have read in a long time. If you’re a paranormal/fantasy mystery fan? This is an absolute must-read.
“The body you are wearing used to be mine.”
THAT is how to start a book, my friends. How awesome is that first line? Good lord.
Basically, Myfanwy Thomas wakes up in a park surrounded by a bunch of bodies wearing gloves. She has no idea who she is or what she is doing – good thing her former self left some clues behind, right? As she starts discovering more and more about herself (her old self/her former body’s occupant/whatever is the politically correct way to refer to someone in this situation?), The Rook just gets cooler and cooler. Like, mysterious secret society, lots an lots of paranormal/magical things that include her own extraordinary powers cooler.
You guys, all the paranormal elements in The Rook are so awesome that the mind boggles. Seriously. The mysterious paranormal governmental agency that Myfanwy discovers she now works for is The Chequy. Then she discovers that she doesn’t just work there, she is one of the bosses. Her job is to basically save the world on an hourly basis by organizing raids and making decisions about all the various paranormal hijinks going on.
Bummer that the former Myfanwy also dropped a bomb before leaving – that someone within the agency is the reason she died and the new Myfanwy has taken over. So, now she has to juggle a super stressful job while trying to decide who is out to get her. The drama abounds, y’all.
Also, one more thing on the magical front before I stop gushing: THERE IS A NARNIA REFERENCE! She sees something about a mysterious wardrobe in an old manor home in a report and I basically whooped with the awesome.
As for the characters? Yeah, they are pretty great too. Both the new Myfanwy and the old one are extremely well-developed. I loved seeing all the ways they are different – because boy were they! The old Myfanwy’s letters don’t take away from the plot surrounding the current Myfanwy AT ALL. As the mystery unravels, both parts continued to have me dying for more. Brilliant brilliant writing, Mr. Daniel O’Malley.
I’ll mostly let all the fantasy and paranormal aspects remain a surprise – because THEY ARE SO COOL. Like one consciousness that shares its brain amongst four bodies?!?
Basically the best news I’ve had all year so far is the fact that there will be another book (despite the fact that this one wraps things up well enough to where I wouldn’t have shaken my fists at the Heavens if it was a stand-alone).
To Sum it Up:
- I pretty much need my fingers AND toes to be able to count the buzz words (buzz phrases?) found in this book, you guys. Mysterious secret governmental agency! Very awesome and original fantasy elements! A character waking up in a new body with letters left from its old occupant!
- I have absolutely 0 complaints in regards to this book – the plot, characters and magical system are all out of this world brilliant.
- Let me just remind you again: ONE BRAIN IN FOUR BODIES! A REFERENCE TO NARNIA!