Myfanwy Thomas awakes in a London park surrounded by dead bodies. With her memory gone, her only hope of survival is to trust the instructions left in her pocket by her former self. She quickly learns that she is a Rook, a high-level operative in a secret agency that protects the world from supernatural threats. But there is a mole inside the organization - and this person wants her dead.
As Myfanwy battles to save herself, she encounters a person with four bodies, a woman who can enter her dreams, children transformed into deadly fighters, and an unimaginably vast conspiracy.
Suspenseful and hilarious, The Rookis an outrageously inventive debut for listeners who like their espionage with a dollop of purple slime.
©2012 Daniel O'Malley (P)2012 Hachette
When I like something I'll let you know. If I don't, I'll let you know that too!
The Rook is a wonderful book. Just enough strangeness and mystery to keep you wanting to hear more and not needing to make crib notes about which dastardly evil entity Rook Thomas is facing.
The Rook starts out with someone waking up with amnesia and finding they have a sudden choice to make, assume their old life or abandon it and start totally over. Fortunately Ms. Myfanwy Thomas, decides to resume her existing life after her memory was rebooted and takes us all along on an enjoyable journey. We discover the many wonders and challenges she faces as a domestic section chief of a secret 'government' agency charged with protecting Brittan from abnormals. It is a challenging task with some great twists and turns O'Mally deftly switches between monsters du jour and the letters from her old self helping to teach Myfanwy about whom she was/is, the life she led, and how it all helps her face this day's challenges.
Daniel O'Malley has written a solid first novel and a great foundation that could support one or a half dozen more. The pacing of The Rook kept me enjoying every passing minute, especially with the detours of the letters from ‘Me’ to ‘You,’ Myfanwy's prior and post memory reboot alter egos. O'Mally moves these passages along and, although they suddenly leave one story arc, I don't remember ever wishing he would just hurry up and get back to the main plot.
Whoever selected Susan Duerden to narrate this book is an absolute genius. She is a perfect Myfanwy Thomas and has such an ability to bring each of O'Malley's characters solidly to life (even the slimly / barely alive ones)! I am looking forward to enjoying the work of each of these artists again and again (including an instant replay of The Rook).
Say something about yourself!
Rook opens on a rather cliché note, amnesiac hero, who's tabla-rasa for any personal memories but retains her instincts. From the Bourne Identity beginning to an X-men like world, Daniel O' Malley dances along being trite to actually clever. Its a mish-mash of supernatural beings, shadowy government organizations and a world unseen by the public, and schools for the unique of talent. While not a book about super heros and super villains , The Rook certainly takes cues from X-Men.
Susan Duerden is one hell of a voice actor, but she fails at the narrative. Her voice switches into a repetitive cadence, strangely melodic and robotic, that sounds strangely like a high level text to speech algorithm. The words are there but the inflection is the same, regardless of content. Its strange and annoying. Early in the book, when narrative parts extend minutes, I found myself annoyed, which is unusual for me as I'm not the most demanding of listeners. Fortunately, as more characters are introduced, Susan Duerden spends less time in her repetitive robo-speak.
That said, for a rookie writer, Daniel O' Malley proves himself a worthy read. About the only complaint I had is it seemed that every character of substance was described as being "Beautiful"... how many beautiful people can occupy a single novel? ;)
I'm an artist & a Community Manager and an avid reader and audio book addict. Thanks to this community for your reviews!
This is the first time I've ever returned a book on audible - the narration was completely horrid - I could not focus on the content at all because of the weird sing-song cadence of the narrator. Every sentence was just an arpeggio - with her voice going up and down with each syllable. I have no idea how people gave the performance anything above one star. It's completely bizarre.
I have only made it through part of the first chapter , i listened to parts of some later chapters and it doesn't get better. The narrator has a sing song cadence that is really annoying. I have tried to get into the book and hope that Ill stop noticing this. Im giving it another little bit. I wonder why theres not some quality control for this.
If I can't get past this i'll return the book.and read it the old fashioned way!
First a confession. I normally shy away from female protagonists. In fantasy worlds they so often end up as either the ultra sexy master of everything caricature of femininity or a man that the author insists on referring to as "she". Myfanwy however is neither of these stereotypes. She is a highly competent and complex character that is powerful enough to be the main character of a fantasy novel, but maintains realistic human limitations as well as distinctly feminine characteristics. I know and love woman just like her and it was wonderful to read about a woman like that taking on extraordinary circumstances in a fantasy world.
I must also recognize the wonderful job done by the narrator Susan Duerden, this was one of those times when narrator and story were perfectly matched.
This book had everything. Suspense, originality, And a Dr Who kind of kookiness.
Not sure. It was suggested to me after liking the Hunger Games but there is more humour and supernatural elements. I told my husband it was like a dr who episode told by the shopoholic.
Honestly, the first chapter was so well written I've gone back to listen to it again. But all the scenes have such a sense of place and suspense, I have no idea how he kept it up throughout the book.
When we find out how the herine lost her memory. I thought it was going to be just a simple reveal but it was quite heartbreaking.
Enjoy. I will definitely listen to this a second time. The only downside is I'll be waiting two years for the next installments.
Interesting, captivating, quirky
Accents and and she is very emotive with her voice. Does the characters well.
Suspenseful Captivating Entertaining
Rook Thomas is suck into a flesh cube and is struggling to hold on.
The story was all about Rook Thomas, but I can't wait for the follow up and hopefully we get more graphtor info
Amnesia can be deadly.
I don't right reviews normally, but this is one that was so good I had to.
Sci-fi/Fantasy geek :)
I really did like this book! I wanted to like it a lot more, but two things brought it down. First, the narrator is really good, but during the parts of the book with no characters speaking, she gets very sing-songy and it drove me just a bit crazy (not hard to do) if I thought about it too much. I can't find it anywhere, but I swear she also did some narration on The Golden Compass audiobook. I like everything about her except that every sentence has to end going....uuuuup. This was actually more minor than the second thing.
The second thing I couldn't get past was the antagonists, the grafters. Their capabilities are supposedly based on pure science, but they can do things that go far beyond the people who have super abilities! I LOVE science, so I was just unable to accept this concept of a totally secret group of people who have the scientific abilities attributed to them in the book. If the grafters had some supernatural leader that was channeling supernatural energy to make all of their stuff possible, I could even buy that, but to say it was pure science, bah! To say there were people who centuries ago could men who could craft flesh and organs with capabilities beyond what we have available even today, nope. For me, this all but ruined a really good book and since it is clear that they will have a part in a sequel, I doubt I'll be buying that either.
Sci-fi, History, Police Procedurals and Science
Another of those science-fiction-set-in-familiar-places-and-times like Halting State. Not centered on space or jump gates -- not even sure it is really science fiction.....but it is GOOD fiction and certainly not based in what we normally think of as reality. Unlike my usual reviews -- I'm not going to say a lot more about this one. No comparisons or discussion. You should listen to it because someone put an awful lot of thought and work into making this fascinating. They did quite the job of it. I also liked the narrator generally, but she has an intra-sentence rhythm that I found hard at times -- just saying for next time.
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