Sunday, 12 March 2017

book review: The Rook

Daniel O'Malley.
The Rook.
Head of Zeus. 2012

Myfanwy Thomas wakes up in a London park surrounded by bodies, with no memory of who she is, or how she got there. She needs to find out in a hurry, as unknown people are trying to kill her. She has three advantages: letters from her previous hyper-efficient self explaining the situation, a senior position in a sinister secret organisation, and superpowers no-one believes she can use.

It is difficult to categorise this, but I enjoyed this immensely. The puzzle of what is going on, explained in turns by the letters and Myfanwy’s own investigations, is interesting. The sarcastic tone of the protagonist as she encounters her colleagues’ attitude to her previous timid self, and the increasingly bizarre situations and revelations, make this in turns intriguing, a little scary, very funny, and occasionally a bit gross (in a good way).

The single off note for me is that this is written in the third person, but from the style I kept feeling it should be first person. But I assume the author knows best.

Just as I was finishing this, I was delighted to discover a sequel had just been published. Reader, I bought it. On the one hand, I don’t have to wait the five years that readers who discovered The Rook in 2012 have had to wait. On the other hand, can O’Malley keep up the clever and bizarre content? I do hope so.

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