Ah, September is finally upon us—which means very soon we will have crisp weather and fiery-colored leaves, but it also means (for those of us in school) that we’ve been working our way slowly through mounds of required reading for our classes. From experience I can say that textbooks have a tendency to turn your brain into mush, and the only way to un-mush it is to take a break and read something completely not-school related. So, here’s a book to check out: The Rook.
Written by Australian author Daniel O’Malley, this debut novel combines conspiracy, humor, and unforgettable characters. The novel falls into SciFi/ Fantasy—and more specifically, under Urban Fantasy. Okay, stop. Before you dismiss this novel because you are fed up with the entire vampire-werewolf craze that seems to have taken over the world, give it a chance… because this is far from your typical supernatural tale.
The story begins with the main character waking up in a park, in the pouring rain, surrounded by a slew of motionless bodies, all of whom are wearing latex gloves. (You totally want to know why, right?) The protagonist, Myfanwy Thomas (yeah, try pronouncing that one), wakes up without her memories and without knowledge of why someone wants her dead. She quickly learns she’s a “Rook”: a high ranking official of a secret government organization located in Britain, known as the Checquy (think CIA/ FBI hybrid, but whose sole purpose is to handle supernatural occurrences). Take this organization, toss in a conspiracy and a few very unusual supernatural characters, and you have one of the best supernatural thrillers out there. The Rook follows Myfanwy as she tries to uncover the plot in the Checquy and discover the identity of the mole, all the while balancing her job—the one she can’t remember anything about.
The novel stands out because the characters aren’t your run-of-the-mill supernatural creatures; there’s a man who can inhabit four bodies at once, a woman who conveniently enters people’s dreams, and even the protagonist has a kickass ability (but I won’t spoil that for you). The characters are well-rounded, unique, and provide the reader with a new perspective on paranormal characters. Also (and a major plus, BTW) the novel is incredibly well-written. O’Malley blends reality and the supernatural so flawlessly that there’s no question about the authenticity of the world in which The Rook takes place.
Still iffy on whether to pick this book up? If you go to the author’s site (www.rookfiles. com) there’s even a trailer-like Youtube video for the book. In case you end up loving this novel like I did, it will make you happy to know that the second Checquy novel is in the works. If you don’t want to start a series, don’t worry; The Rook can act as a stand-alone novel too, although I can almost guarantee that readers will want more adventures and intrigue from the world of the Checquy. The Rook is a mystery—a supernatural thriller that will keep you turning the page well into the wee hours of the morning.