The Novel Strumpet Reviews The Rook by Daniel O’Malley! Secret Societies! Evil Brain Control! and Latex! Sounds Like My Kind Of Book Review!by The Novel Strumpet on Mar 25, 2012 • 10:14 pm 1 Comment
Ohhh The Novel Strumpet has graced us with a new book review kids! This one is called The Rook by Daniel O’Malley! It’s a supernatural suspense novel that opens with a young girl waking up in a park surrounded by all these men with latex gloves and oh yeah, they’re dead.
Sounds like my typical Saturday night… Or does it… (insert evil laugh here)…
Check out the Strumpets full recap after the jump!
The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
The body you are wearing used to be mine.
And so begins The Rook. I admit that at first I thought it was going to be like The Host or “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” but it’s a little more involved than that. See some poor girl opens her eyes to find herself standing in a London park with a ring of bodies surrounding her –all wearing latex gloves – and two letters in her pocket. The writer of the letters is Myfanwy (Miffany like Tiffany) Alice Thomas and she is a victim of an attack that has left her with no memory but Myfanwy Alice Thomas knew she was going to be attacked and loose her memory so she wrote herself letters. Lots, and lots, and lots of letters. But the ‘new’ self will only get them if she decides to take on her old life, otherwise she can take the gobs of money her former self left her and create a new life. Of course circumstances force the ‘new’ self to choose the bothersome issue of getting back into the former self’s life. Not confusing at all right?
So through the many letters and purple binder Thomas (as she refers to her former self) has put together, Myfanwy (as she refers to herself now) learns that she works for a secret organization that deals with people that are not normal humans, The Checquy. In fact she is Rook Thomas a member of The Court at The Checquy and it seems that Thomas was rather a mousy woman who could control anyone with a touch and a dang good administrator. She knows everything about The Checquy…everything…and she has put it all together in the purple binder with notes on each Court member, their status, the other levels inside The Checquy, etc.
Through her letters Thomas is chronicling the last few months of her life leading up to the moment when she will loose her memory. It seems Thomas had been warned by three people it was coming, but not when or who. That is the mystery. So now Myfanwy must learn who wants to kill her, maintain some semblance that she is the former Rook Thomas and not an amnesiac imposter, and learn everything she can about this world she’s awoken to.
A world where she can tap into a person’s central nervous system and completely control them. A world where Bishop Grantchester can turn himself into a poisonous inky gas. A world where Bishop Alrich hatched out of an egg. A world where Chevalier Gubbins is constantly contorting his body. A world where fellow Rook Gestalt is 4 different bodies with one brain. Let me run that one by you again…4 bodies…one brain…you’ll just have to read the book to get the creepy details of that one straight. Then there is the Lord and Lady, the Pawns, the Retainers and then the American contingent The Croatoans. It’s enough to make your head spin.
In fact this book is so mesmerizingly complicated I don’t know which story line, mystery plot, or supernatural explanation to tell you about. But it’s weaved together so well that you never get truly lost. Through Thomas’ letters and the binder we learn a lot about this world the way Myfanwy is learning of it. The only problem I really had was that there were times where it seemed that Myfanwy knew something or remembered something I don’t remember reading in Thomas’ notes, but I’m sure we didn’t read all of them, or it could be that little snippets leaked through and they were so slight it never crossed anyone’s mind that she remembered something on her own.
The book is a wonderfully wacky amalgamation of alternate history and modern day, secret agent societies (The Checquy is described as the supernatural MI5), disgusting creatures (the gigantic flesh cube still makes me gag), and sympathetic protagonists (because you can’t really count Thomas and Myfanwy as the same person). It’s one of those books where I was so caught up in the stories and way this world was put together that I forgot about the mystery, not that I didn’t put it together rather quickly since the signs are all there, but I didn’t care really because I was having so much fun.
It’s not the most amazing book, there are some things that could have been tweaked to make it stronger, but if a story is told really well I tend to overlook little things. I’d definitely recommend picking this one up, and I hope there is more Myfanwy, Thomas and company in the future.
**ePub Review Copy courtesy of Little, Brown and Company via NetGalley**