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.
A fresh and different story, love the completely new original thought. Not just another sci fi book.
the narrator has the best british accent that really makes you feel the story and get the humor
This book started out well with an interesting premise and characters, but then takes a turn into cartoon land and never recovers.
I liked the first 4 or so chapters of this book (you can read them on the website. Amnesia, special powers, boarding school, I love that stuff, but then the limitations of the book start showing, and soon they've taken over.
The book is divided into present narrative and flashback diary entries. The flashbacks are large infodumps that have little to no bearing on the present events. It's obvious the author put a lot of thought into the backstory of each minor character, but by the time I'd heard the life history of the 4th office colleague, I couldn't remember or care who any of these people were. In spite of the numerous details, the vast majority of characters have negligible roles in the present-day action, so it was hard for them to hold my attention or for me to care any about their childhoods.
With the frequent flashbacks, the novel is series of strung-together vignettes. This works well in some books, but in this one, the main character is mostly watching other people do things, so we don't learn what is interesting about her, and she can't hold the divergent stories together. There is a lot of time spent in worldsetting, but the characters and events in the world are not enough to hold the story.
This all would be ok if the writing style held my interest. While the beginning is intelligently written and very polished, the further into the book, the more cartoon situations and juvenile bathroom humor appear. The increasing inappropriateness turned me off completely.I can see why this book would be classed as young adult. The juvenile humor and inappropriate and cartoonish ways the characters act, along with gratuitous violence and gore, seems very young.
I really wanted to like this book and gave it chance after chance to impress me, but it failed on all accounts.
Note on narration: The narrator has a strange speaking style where her intonation rises at the end of every phrase making it sound like a question. This was very strange and took a while to get used to, but by the end she either gets better or I got used to it.
Immigration lawyer in Kansas City. I like Character driven dramas, fantasy (monsters, magic and witches oh my!) and coming of age stories. Favs include: The Book Thief, The Game of Throne series, Harry Potter Series, Dresden Files, Nightside series, anything by Neil Gaimen, 100 Years of Solitude.
I was engrossed from the beginning. There were so many twists and turns and surprises it kept me guessing until the end. I love the extra creative twist that the protagonist/detective is suffering from amnesia in addition to trying to solve a mystery. I can't wait to read more from this author. The narrator was excellent and really added to the experience. I admittedly have a thing for narrators with accents, but she was excellent nonetheless. Highly recommend. It is a highly unique story.
I have not read the print version, but Susan Duerden, who narrated another of my favorites, The Tiger's Wife, is wonderfully talented. She captures both male and female voices with realistic inflection and had great comedic timing. I'm sure it would be a hilarious read, too, but the narration makes it come alive.
Myfanwy is the main character and likely to be any listener's favorite. She is a sassy badass.
Keep calm and kick paranormal ass! It's the X-Files, British style.
Fun, complex, fast-paced story with smart twists and compelling characters. O'Malley writes great women and the type characters are also tremendous fun. He's a skilled writer with an edgy wit that made me laugh out loud as people stared at crazy earbud lady. Not just silly fun--he's got great sentences, plot structure, images. A real live writer's writer.