"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 Checquy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain.
She also discovers that she possesses a rare and deadly supernatural ability of her own. Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, The Rook is a richly inventive, suspenseful fantasy. An astonishing debut from a brilliant new voice.
©2012 David O'Malley (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
Some reviews make out that the underlying concept of this book ventures into previously unknown territory, which is not correct - the most obvious comparison being Ben Aaronovitch's "Rivers of London series". That said, the concept is sufficiently different that there can be no accusations of copycatting.
Overall, I enjoyed listening to this book and will buy the next in the series if there are any (which I hope that there are). The reading was done well.I liked the overall plot concept and the back-story and the device of the heroine's predecessor writing her informative letters worked well.
My major criticisms are thus: First, there several what I thought to be continuity errors, which I found irritating. For example, the heroine works for a super-secret, illuminati-esque organisation that has managed to stay secret for centuries, but one character almost immediately manages to track her down in about 20 minutes. Actually, the whole plotline involving that character had me shouting at the car speakers at one point because it just seemed so unlikely (but don't let that worry you too much, it's still a good story).
Second, some of the super-natural elements of the story are just a bit silly. The main ones work ok, but some of the people or events referred to in passing are just thrown in without any real thought appearing to have been given to whether they contribute towards a believable universe.
One of the secrets of great fantasy is that although the author can invent the rules, there must be rules and the story must stick to them. An attitude of "it's my world so I can do what I like" doesn't really work. This can be a particular problem, as JK Rowling discovered, if the author is hoping to produce a series, where throw-away gimmicks in early books can come back to bite the author on the bottom in the future.
Also, the limits of the heroine's own abilities seem to ebb and flow like an unpredictable tide, which is slightly distracting.
Third, the author makes a little bit too much use of "deus ex machina". If the heroine finds herself imperilled by a giant fire-breathing moth (which she doesn't) then the next minion that comes along would just happen to have the ability to spit asbestos mothballs, etc. Remember the old James Bond films, where you just knew that every gadget given to him by Q was going to be exactly the right tool to get him out of just one sticky situation, just once? A bit like that, but in reverse.
In part, I get the feeling that the author has not quite decided upon his target audience. Some of the little things that bugged me would not really matter if the book is aimed mostly at children (who are less sophisticated or nit-picky, dependent upon your viewpoint, than I am in my 40s) but some of the concepts hinted at are quite adult.
In summary, I enjoyed the book, I will follow the series and recommend it to others - but I hope the author settles down to give a bit more attention to his world-building in the future.
did not know what to expect from this as not my usually choice but have been totally immersed and thoroughly intrigued. The narration is superb and brings to life a book that has really cheered up a miserable cold january week.
I am 35 year old who loves writing & reading and listening to anything! But I do adore the classics, crime fiction and anything paranormal.
James Bond meets The X men with a splash of Harry Dresden and the wit of Bridget Jones all wrapped up in a whodunit!! All in all this fabulous work of fiction is just wonderful and even more so if you are a fan of the supernatural. If you like Jim Butcher and or you would just like to try something new then I rather suspect you will love this. The narration is everything it should be and the actress should be proud of her performance.
The book is left open, so please, please Mr O'Malley spin some more tales of Rook Thomas!
Audio Addict - Love to listen when going to work or working out, waking up or passing out.
Great audiobook, I'd just finished the rivers of london audiobooks and was looking for something new, definitely didn't let me down.
It opens at full steam and keeps it's pace, a great supernatural spy thriller which keeps you thinking... It is actually funny too when it wants to be which is a bonus. Well worth a credit, I'm looking forward to more from O'Malley.
I defy anyone to not like myfany as a character I liked her so much she was endearing, powerful but lacking confidence and somewhat uncoordinated, interesting secret government type world created too
Had been waiting for this one for a while - had heard about it on a podcast and like the idea of a character waking up in someone else's body.
The story begins at a quick pace and then settles down into large chunks of exposition as the character unravels the story.
O'Malley has created an intriguing landscape - a ministry of magic that seems more realistic and plausible than Rowling's version.
The characters are fulsome and varied and the pace is varied and interesting.
The narration is very good - I've never read with Katy Carmichael before but she's good with accents and keeps the energy up. Very enjoyable.
However - the end of the story seems to fall a little flat. Once the 'traitor' is unmasked in a most unsatisfactory way, the story slides into a scene which is an unexpected as it is convincing.
The hook for me was the premise of the 'new body' - plenty is explained about what the character once was - that is central to the plot - but I'm still no clearer on who the character actually is. I'm assuming the answer passed by my ears at some point but I missed it completely.
I notice there is a sequel listed on Audible - Stiletto. Not sure yet...
I really enjoyed this book as it was so different. The main characters were really well written and I liked them. The majority of the narration was good but some of the voices were weird and I was surprised at that as it seemed unnecessary.
I look forward to listening to the next book!
Mother of three, Nana of one. Self-employed from home so Audible is invaluable, particularly when walking the dog.
Dire, just dire. A sort of Bridget Jones meets X-Men Lite.
I know it's written by a man but it definitely feels like chick lit to me.
The narrator almost drove me round the bend with the squeaky voices she did for young men.
The rave reviews for the book are an utter mystery to me. It was personally recommended as on a par with the Rivers of London books but it really isn't in the same class.
If you like the Chronicles of St Mary's series this may appeal though.
I would 100% recommend this book, to anyone! It is well plotted and very gripping. Listening to it on my commute to and from work made it very difficult to go into the office and very eager to leave in the evening. There are alot of intricate threads that leave you wondering how it will all fit together in the end and everything is finished off very nicely. All of the characters are given interesting backstories without it seeming like a dry lecture and the memory loss makes a fabulous plot device for introducing us into this world. It is a good length and so you really get your moneys worth too. The narrator was a little annoying at first as some of the voices didn't seem quite how you would imagine them but after the first couple of chapters you are so into the story it doesn't even cross your mind.
"A fun listen"
I've seen this book described as M15 for wizards but I think it might be more X-Men for bureaucrats. That said, I really loved it and found it highly entertaining. Can't wait for the next book.
"Really fantastic "
This is one of the best books I've ever read! And that's from someone that reads as an Olympic sport. It gripped me from the first sentence , " the body you are wearing used to be mine", till the very last. The story is very different but utterly compelling. It's a great story, extremely well read and totally captivating. I simply can't recommend it highly enough! Miss it at your peril!
"Excellent Narration of an Excellent Book!"
The story bought a new approach to both the Supernatural and the Spy genres by amalgamating them into this fantastic book. This was the first book in a while that I immediately started again for a second read!
I can't wait for the second book and hope that Katy will be narrating it.
Katy's narration of the story bought out the protagonist quirky nature in an enjoyable to fun way. There were several times onlookers would have looked at me strangely as I laughed out loud walking down the street listening to the book.
"Read it and listen to it!"
Totally absurd, smartly written, entertaining and unexpected! The narrator was GREAT! I really hope there's a next one and that is just as good as this one, because I felt a mix of sadness and anticipation when I was about to finish this one.
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