Ever wonder what it would be like to be a Auror after graduating from Hogwarts? Or what exactly one does after leaving Charles Xaiver’s School for Gifted children? The book, “The Rook” by Australian author Daniel O’Malley gives you a purview of what life is like for a person with special powers who decides to work for the government. Now while at first glace this might not sound that exciting to anyone who’s not Hermonie Granger, add to it a bought of amnesia, some espionage and an organization ranked like a chess board, all set in back drop of England and you have a spy mystery that’s a must read.
This book starts with one of the best opening lines I have read in a while “Dear You, The body you are wearing used to be mine”. We meet Myfanwy (with a silent w) Thomas, but is it the real Myfanwy? We spend the rest of the book trying to figure it out the mystery of what happened to her along with the threat to the organization she works for, the Chequy. This is a secret group that works to fight the supernatural and unnatural forces that cause threats to the United Kingdom.
The organization is ranked by the pieces of a chess board with the higher ranking members represented by pieces such as the King, Queen, Bishops, and Chevaliers. Myfanwy due to her super powers is a Rook and is a field agent. Through her “new” body she has gained a new sense of self and this allows her a new confidence. This helps her discover that the Grafters group are hatching a secret plot against her organization and the book takes us on an interesting ride to help solve the mystery.
Along the way O’Malley does an excellent job of world building. The author shares so much information, from the history for the countries the governments and the organizations, to the background of the main characters. Still, the author makes it information and out protagonist and witty and very engaging. This book is not for the faint of heart or stomach. It’s got a bit of gore, creepy crawlers and monsters, it is a super natural book after all. However, at its heart is a book about a young woman who is dealing with her past, as she tries to remember it, as well as a good old fashion mystery novel.
The character development is some of the best for a first time writer. Kudos to O’Mally for writing a full story for the first part of a trilogy and not just part of the story. The characters that fill the Chequy are vibrant and interesting. With just enough mystery to make you wish you could hear the story from their perspectives too! The book is well paced, the story is fully engaging and the story is not overly predictable.
This book is available on kindle and audible as will and paperback and hardcover. I listened to is on audible and was preformed by Susan Duerden, her accents were perfect and spot on. For me this was helpful with some of the spellings and pronunciations. Over all I give this book 5/5, it hit all the notes for me. Have you read The Rook? I’d love to hear your thoughts!