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I'm just so curious

Cover of The Rook
A review of The Rook by David O'Malley

A week or so ago I saw a trailer for a new tv show and as it flashed across the screen in quick shots (as trailers do) it seemed so familiar and I thought, is it? Could it be? Yes it was. Starz has a new show starting at the end of June about one of my favorite fantasy novels, The Rook. I read the book a while ago but I'm re-upping my review to tie it in in with the show to come.

"Dear You, the body you are wearing used to be mine." So begins this incredibly original, inventive novel. Myfanwy (rhymes with Tiffany) Thomas wakes up in a London park with no memory. She's surrounded by a bunch of dead bodies, all of them with latex gloves on their hands. The note in her coat pocket tells her a bit about who she once was and gives her a choice about what to do now. She can resume the life that was Myfanwy's and find out who did this to her or she can take on a new identity (set up for her by the erased Myfanwy) and move on. The new Myfanwy makes the choice to investigate and finds herself thrust into a world of supernatural creatures, back-stabbing and conspiracies.

Myfanwy is a Rook. A high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy (Sheck-ha) that has served to protect England from supernatural creatures for hundreds of years. And not only is she a high-ranking member, she's one who has a powerfully dangerous supernatural ability of her own. But as she takes on her former life she realizes the Myfanwy who was, was a far different person than she is now. That Myfanwy was a whiz with organization, stats and numbers, but she was also reserved and afraid of her own talent. Not so new-Myfanwy. New Myfanwy doesn't have her former self's baggage. Though she struggles because she is learning her job and life on the go (all while keeping her memory loss secret), she does begin to make progress in figuring out just who, among her closest colleagues, did this to her. Someone she trusts. Someone she has worked with for years. Someone who is in close contact with the Queen and the Prime Minister and may be plotting the supernatural overthrow of England. I mentioned the inventiveness of this book and it is. Wildly inventive. But it's also a thrilling read with funny moments, both subtle and laugh-out-loud. Myfanwy comes through on the page in both her incarnations. In the letters she left to herself we see who Myfanwy was, and as the action intensifies we get to see who she becomes. 

Even as I read and edited this review to re-post today I got excited all over again about the fact that this book is about to appear on my television - though I'm definitely nervous about how well they handle things. Fingers-crossed it's as good as the printed word, which is well worth the read even if you're not going to watch the show.

June 13, 2019