I don't know what drew me to this book, but I'm so glad that I downloaded it. It's definitely high up on the list of best books I've read this year. It's very fresh and funny, managing to set itself apart from most of the genre. In general, I don't find it very hard to figure out where a story is going or to puzzle out whatever mystery is presented to the main character. However, this book kept me guessing until at least 3/4 of the way through. I don't want to give anything away, definitely give it a try. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
That being said, please please please ignore how slow the narrator is to find her stride. The first hour or so I wanted to reach through my car's stereo and strangle her. She just has this very strange intonation to her sentences, like each sentence stands alone, there's no flow. Whoever edited it should have gone back after she'd finished and made her re-do the first few chapters. Please wait, because she does get better. By the middle of the book she had me laughing out loud as I drove down the road. Be patient, she gets better, I promise!!
It's wildly creative with everything from gene-splicing to telekinetics and mind-control.
While there are lots of stories about secret organizations of monster-hunters, this one is still quite unique.
All fiction is dependent upon the principle of 'suspension of disbelief.' In order for us to enjoy the story, we must suspend our disbelief that the events are actually happening or even possible. Anything that distracts us from the story can break that illusion and make it less enjoyable, or make us lose interest entirely.
In a book, it's bad writing; in a movie, it can be bad writing, acting, audio, or video; and with audiobooks it's either bad writing or bad reading by the narrator. In "The Rook," Susan Duerden proves to be a talented voice-actor, with a singular exception - tonality.
Most Americans speak within a small range of tones, and sentences ending with a question tend to go up in tone at the end, while simple statements tend to end on a lower tone. Ms. Duerden has the maddening habit of ending statements on the same tone as the rest of the sentence, right in the middle. While she does the various voices admirably, her inclination to end sentences on the middle tone can be so distracting that it pulls you completely away from the story and ends your 'suspension of disbelief.' I did manage to finish the book, but it was a relief to begin another book read 'normally.'
I'm a screenwriter, I don't do tag lines for free :)
As far as the story, it was enjoyable and imaginative. The only negative elements were the occasional slapstick scenes of Mepheny being clumsy. I found most of these wince-worthy as they were unnecessary and un-funny.
My advice is to listen closely to the sample audio, because she reads the entire book this way. I've been to England many times and know that this is somewhat of a Brit characteristic, but I've never heard it done to this degree. If it doesn't bother you, then it's worth the listen.
Yes I would recommend this audiobook as that's how I found it. It's witty, unpredictable, and engrossing.
books for all reasons
It is simply a good book. No raunchy stupidity to cover lack of a plot. A lovely narrator who really IS Myfanwy Thomas (or not). I keep thinking "What about this book was so spectacular?" Nothing. But it was solid, fun, entertaining, good and I didn't feel slimey after listening like you do with so many adult targeted books. The only thing I found troublesome is the movement between the written remembrances and the current situations. A more significant pause between the two might have helped signal the audio listener there was such a significant switch coming. I often found myself driving along saying "what!?!" and having to rewind a bit so that I was not lost by the sudden switch. Such is the life of an audio book listener.It is not to say there weren't a couple of times I thought, "For such a smart girl..." (like the fact that for someone who has no idea who her enemies are, long lost family and allies from other countries sure were taken at face value) but so much makes up for those couple of moments that they are well worth forgiving.Do I love it? YESDo I want another? YESShould you spend your credit? YES
Myfanwy. Well, really not much character development on anyone else except possibly Ingrid or Ulrich. The narrator really bought in to the character and you can tell!
This is not a stilted reading. The narrator is age appropriate sounding, and reads in such a way that it is like she is really going through it. No 'canned laughter' feel here. It really helps you buy in.
In my opinion this is the dumbest question for a book review. Seriously? Anouncers overly dramatic voice: "In a land of genetically engineered freaks, one brain addled woman must discover her betrayer before all of Britian falls prey to evil scientists."Wait are they evil?
3.5 stars. This book was good, but annoying at times. Myfanwy (pronounced Miffany, rhymes with Tiffany) Thomas is a meek but capable administrator in an undercover government agency that deals with the supernatural, and somewhere along the way, she gets caught up in a conspiracy within her organization. At the beginning of the book, she awakens in a rain storm, surrounded by a bunch of passed out people in gloves. She's got two black eyes, bleeding lips and no memory of who she is or how she got there. Seems that she knew that she was going to lose her memory at some point (thanks to several random prophecies) and has prepared for this moment by leaving herself loads of letters and instructions. And it was those letters and instructions that were alternately helpful and annoying.
In the new Myfanwy's existence, there is a good bit of action. But that action was continually broken up by stopping at the end of a chapter with a cliffhanger and then switching over to the letters of the old Myfanway detailing some pointless meeting she had or a particular day where she sat down to detail how spineless she had been in certain situations. Thankfully, the new Myfanwy wasn't quite so spineless and managed to muddle her way through situations, sometimes with cunning and sometimes with luck. In the beginning the letters were helpful and interesting, but by the latter half of the book, that literary vehicle was getting very old. By the end, I was alternately smiling/laughing and rolling my eyes.
I'm also very glad I listened to this on audiobook. I'm fairly sure that had I read any of this, I would have been butchering every name/title. I'm fairly sure that I wouldn't have pronounced the "Checquy" or "Myfanwy" correctly at all.
Overall, I enjoyed the book, but I doubt that I will listen/read it again.
Definitely, and already have. This book is a superb blend of terrific story writing, well-developed characters, superb narration and first-rate studio quality.
When Myfanwy discovers that her siblings are alive and she meets up with her sister.
Each of the scenes when the new Myfanwy discovers that she has a new (or new ability to control) power. In each of these, she surprises herself, nails somebody and produces a very positive effect in her circumstances.
Yes, I actually found myself cheering her on at several points. I must have looked silly during those moments in my car driving down the highway.
Yes, this story begs to be put on the big screen and the up & coming mega-star Brit Marling MUST play the lead (paying attention casting directors?). O, and my two loves? You already know that Myfanwy is the first... the second is narrator Susan Dueridan. I don't know why some previous reviewers criticized her cadence. That's what drew me in closer. Don't change a thing, Susan. I'd listen to you read a cookbook! Thanks to all for a great Audible experience.
Dances with the masses . . .
I do not think that a heroine who likes administration is an interesting choice. It seems like actual "action" is avoided by the author and when it is described it is awkward and hard to follow. I didn't like the main character and understood why the villains didn't like her and wanted to control her. I also didn't like the narrator's sing-songy way of reading. I won't return it so that I can remember I don't like this narrator.
She read prose like poetry, which I find annoying. Also, I didn't like the nasal "American" accent that she does.
The main character. You might have an interesting book if you explored some of the other, more nefarious, characters.
I must confess that I couldn't continue listening to this book.
The narrator has a lilting, iambic pentameter style that might work well for children's poetry or fairy tales but not for a 17 hour narration. I typically listen to audiobooks on my hour-long commute. I could really only take a few minutes of that voice every day without needing an espresso. I don't want to be lulled to sleep; I want inflection, emotion, and so on. The story seems interesting and I might read it someday, but I will not listen to it as narrated by Susan Duerden.
Just to be clear, it had nothing to do with the accent. Although I am an American, I have listened to many narrators from England and usually enjoy them.
I would love to hear this narrated by someone else. It seems like an interesting story.
I was blown away by The Rook, it has to be up for best new fantasy / mystery novel of the year. Incredibly well written, totally un formulaic, brilliant story line, I put this on par with Patrick Rothfuss Name of the Wind. Completely different, but masterful story telling. The Rook had a powerful mystery element that i loved as well.
The story draws you in from the first page. Which is great, if you're reading in on paper. If you're listening to audio, the performance of the reader is the other side of the coin that can either make or break the overall success of the book.
To me, the reader's non-stop sing-song intonation was so annoying, that I almost gave up on the book several times. She ends every... single... sentence... on the same note. It's teeth-clenchingly, mind-numbingly, nails-on-the-chalk-board irritating. Even her lovely English accent doesn't make up for it.
On the other hand, the fact that I managed to get through the story, despite my dislike of the narrator, is a testament to how good the book itself was and makes it worth an audible credit.