If J. K. Rowling had written an adult level book about the Ministry of Magic, especially the Auror department, it would be a lot like this--except no one in The Rook needs a wand to use their unique powers. This story is humorous, action-packed, filled with world-building detail, and populated with many interesting characters that I hope to get to know better in future books. O'Mally was able to create a very interesting way of handling a character with amnesia so that it isn't at all like anything I've read before and made me care very much about the main character--both in her before and after manifestations.
As good as it is, there is room for improvement as this writer continues to grow. The Rook ended with extended double denouments of too much talk and, while very interesting and humorous, some insertions of letters from "Thomas" broke up the pacing. Also, like many such books, I felt there were one or two too many harrowing moments packed into too short a span--but that's just me. A couple of times the action became a little silly--Myfanwy trying to answer her phone--and I feared it was devolving into farce, but those few moments passed and the humor returned to clever rather than silly. Still, overall this is a very good story that is well written and worth every minute of listening time.
The narrator did a very good job, in my opinion. Some reviewers complain about the sing-song nature of her voice, but I found it to be a lovely and lyrical accent. I must admit that the narrator's tone was so even and matter-of-fact at times that I nearly missed the fact that what she was saying was humorous, but it only meant I needed to pay closer attention to words because if my mind drifted I might miss something.
All in all, this is a great beginning to a new series--please let it be a series!
Very seldom am I tempted to listen to a story again. Though I know the second time, when enough time has elapsed, can be pretty good. Rook would be on the list for consideration, though next time I may read it. I was not as impressed by the delivery of the reader.
I liked the interesting world the author created, and the uniqueness of the superhero like characters.
reading grocery list
the very beginning, surrounded by bodies and no memory. Fun and gripping.
please don't ask about my dissertation
I read this book in print last year and fell in love with it. I chose this book as my inaugural Audible purchase precisely because I had read the book and because I enjoyed it so much. I wanted to see what listening to the book would add to the experience.
In terms of the story itself, it will be very hard for you to find a genre-bending story that is more inventive than The Rook. The story is fast-paced, well-written, and chock full of fascinating characters with fascinating stories and abilities. The plot starts off strong and holds your attention throughout. The story is part murder mystery, part thriller, part fantasy. O'Malley is great at developing both the story line and the characters, and I appreciated the wry humor here and there. He also does a great job describing things that are hard to describe, specifically some of the more fantastical characters, objects, and capabilities of said characters and objects. This has the effect of really drawing you into his world.
Others reviewing here and on amazon.com have provided a plot synopsis, so I won't do that here. I do strongly believe that if you like thrillers, but aren't into fantasy, or vice versa, you should definitely give this story a try. It is a thoroughly satisfying read!
In terms of the narration, while I feel it was generally good, there were a couple of features of the narration itself that did detract from the story. The narrator's voice (or choice of voice) had a breathy quality, and she often ended sentences or phrases with a shift downward in tone. The problem was that this technique was used too much. Unfortunately I was unable to get used to it. During the quieter times in the story line, it got a little distracting. I also found her characterizations of the Belgians to be overly grating. I appreciate that it may be difficult for a woman to perform a voice characterization of a Belgian man having a hissy fit, and also appreciate the need to differentiate a wide variety of voice characterizations from a variety of cultures, but I just wanted her to be done when she was voicing just about all of the Belgians.
Please, please, please, do not let that dissuade you, however! My boyfriend also listened to this book, and he did not have the same reaction to those aspects of the performance as I did. The book is more than worth your time and credits / money. Very highly recommended!
I loved this book and I loved listening to it. Susan Duerden did a fantastic job reading it. I have listened to it several times, and have enjoyed it every time. It is the perfect blend of government mystery and fantasy - two genres I love. I am waiting for more from Daniel O'Malley. This is fast pased and keeps you guessing. You will not be disappointed. I am an avid reader in both audible and written formats and I will say there are some books I refuse to listen to because I can not stand how the reader interprets the book. This book I believe is enhanced by Susan Duerden and I'm sure I would like it in book form but I love it in the audible format.
This story is one some people will love and others will hate. Think X-men plus Alias plus Men in Black. I enjoyed it.
There have been lots of criticisms of the narrator, and I don't understand it. I can be picky, and I thought she was fantastic. One of my most important assessment points for good versus bad narration is whether the narrator's differentiation of the voices of characters helps me keep them straight, or confuses me who is talking. I thought this narrator assisted me greatly to get to know the characters and keep them clear.
I bought this without knowing much about it on one of the sales. I loved it, the story is good but the narrator Susan Duerden is great. My daughter listened to it and really enjoyed it and she doesn't like to listen to books, she would rather read a book. I hope others will enjoy it as much as I did.
humorous, captivating, entertaining
The scene in the limo with the skinless villain
A wild ride
I loved the narrator
This was the ideal marriage between an excellent literary debut coupled by a stellar narrative performance! I was immediately hooked on this book from start to finish and would often linger in my car after work because I did not want to abandon the listening experience! I loved the main heroin, Myfanwy Thomas and the author's ability to evolve her character which starts with her total amnesia then a gradual unfolding to re-invent and come to terms with her personality and the expections of her charater's roll in the story; meanwhile surviving in a dangerous and political world dominated by peers; mostly men with their own agendas. Ultimately she succeeds in eluding the efforts of someone or things who want to murder her while solving an imaginative plot. The Myfanwy character might be compared to the heroin Lisbeth Salander who stars in Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, however Myfanwy is much more likable, funny and believable!
I listened to The Rook narrated by Susan Duerden and thought the story in combination with Duerden's narrative was perfect ... this fresh and original material was delivered with great pace and fun and of course Duerden nailed all of the eclectic personalities in combination with the dynamics between the individual characters in the story!
I hope that in the NEAR future that we can expect more books from Daniel O'Malley paired with narations from Susan Duerden!
Im a big Dresden/Marsters fan. I enjoyed this very British take on the urban fantasy genre. Very funny and smart. Takes a little while to hit its stride, but a good story, great reader. Lead character written so well, it's hard to believe the author is a man. Worth a listen.
I'm a bear that likes honey, climbing trees, stealing picnic baskets and listening to audiobooks.
I think it is a good book for casual fans of science fiction. The author creates an interesting premise and an engaging main character, and the story speeds along (even with a lot of exposition).
The beginning of the book, where the main character wakes up with no memory of her past life and has to quickly adapt to a series of threats. Pretty compelling start.
I haven't heard this narrator before, but I thought she did an excellent job of giving each character a unique voice without overdoing it. I would be encourage to listen to more books knowing she was the narrator.
No extreme reactions. It was just a good, consistent and entertaining sci-fi story.
I'd encourage the listener to pay careful attention to the introduction of each character since so many of them are introduced in a short time that it can be hard to keep them straight.