The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

Rating: 4.5 Stars ★★★★☆

Dear You,

The body you are wearing used to be mine. 


So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.

In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.



Alright so this book is awesome. It’s incredibly funny, the characters are amazing and the ideas are great!

Let’s start with the main idea: a supernatural MI6. I have a weakness for a story of that sort. And I absolutely loved the fact that the superpowers characters had were different. I’ve never read about powers like these before. There were the amazingly silly ones (there’s a guy with a psychic connection to flamingoes) and the ones of our main characters: being able to manipulate other people’s nervous systems.

And I loved the humour! Thomas, both her before-version and her after-version are really funny. There are so many great little bits and pieces.

Thomas seems like a decent sort, but she’s a glorified paper pusher, she thought ruefully. Even if she does work for a paranormal version of the MI5, she’s probably dealing with the boring bits. “Heavens! Some kind of werewolf is eating the Queen! Fetch some forms and ask her to fill them out in triplicate, and then perhaps we can attend to her needs at some point during the next quarter.”

And the characters! I loved them. There’s Gestalt, one person in four different bodies who is deliciously creepy. There’s the rest of the Checquy who are a mixture of creepy and bizarre.

She can walk through your dreams and he killed all those Nazis while he was naked, so we kowtow to them, but let me tell you, they do not have the best people skills.

Basically, all the characters, even the secondary ones are so incredibly interesting that I would gladly read a book about them.

And Myfawny is… I loved her to pieces. I mean, this is her reaction to a guy belittling her:

“I understand why it would frighten you,” he said to Myfawny, patting her on the shoulder, “but you can rest assured, it’s all very normal in these circumstances.” Perry’s patronizing tone set Myfawny’s teeth on edge.

“Indeed,” Myfawny answered, staring at Perry fixedly. “Thank heavens we have you here to tell us when your superiors should be listened to and when they should be ignored.” […] “I must confess, Perry, I don’t recall that particular responsibility listed as part of your office, but perhaps it is just a service you provide to the community for free.”

I think every woman has known guys like him. And who wouldn’t want to do just that to them? Go Rook Thomas!

Throughout the book, Myfawny reads letters from her past self and those are basically infodumps, but you know what? It does not matter. Because they are so well-written that I didn’t mind at all.

“You have a scary face?” Ingrid sounded sceptical.

“Yes,” said Myfanwy indignantly. “I have a very scary face.”

Ingrid surveyed her for a moment.

“You may wish to take off the cardigan then, Rook Thomas,” she advised tactfully. “The flowers on the pockets detract somewhat from your menace.”


Loved this book! Great humour, amazing world, really, really cool characters.


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