Book Review: The Rook

The Rook (The Checquy Files #1)

by Daniel O’Malley.

The Rook Myfanwy (rhymes with Tiffany) Thomas wakes up surrounded by dead bodies, with no memory and a strange letter in hand. Through information left by her pre-amnesia self, Myfanwy learns that a) she has special powers, b) she’s pretty high up in a secret organization, and c) someone inside it betrayed her. Thus kicks off a romp through the world of British secret intelligence- if supernatural threats were a real thing and there was a government division to deal with them. It’s one part spy thriller, one part mystery, one part action-adventure, and a nice dose of wry humor to wash it all down.

This was a pretty enjoyable read. The characters were distinct from one another and consistent, if not particularly original. They were all recognizable types: American Who Likes Guns, Aging But Handsome Ladies Man, Snooty Upper Crust Lady. For the most part, they didn’t get much more individual than that, but I found I didn’t really mind. It was persistently entertaining, and the framework of British government bureaucracy was a new twist that lent a bit of absurdity. Myfawny is dealing with lost memory and a dangerous traitor, but still has to file paperwork and attend meetings.

As for the plotline, it was decent but not very subtle. This is not a mystery that will cause you a headache trying to sort it out. That can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your mood and preferences. I was listening to this as an audiobook while driving cross-country, so for me, it was a good fit at the time.

I could tell, however, that the author was male, even though our narrator was 1st person POV female. There were just some instances and details where that shown through clearly. But the author also managed to do two things which I always appreciate in a book: create a clear ending for the book even while nicely (not annoyingly) setting up for a sequel; and throwing in a few minor curveballs (a death and a heart- vague enough to not be spoilery?).

Overall, it was a fun read, and I’ve picked up the sequel to see what happens next.

I give it 3.5/5 stars.

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The Rook

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Tuesday Treasure Trove

Tuesday Treasure Trove

  Cartoon series of the week: They Can Talk. What animals are really thinking. Videos of the week: Penguins vs. A Rope, and Buddy the Rescue Dog and the GoDogGo ball thrower. Pro-choice advocates just won the biggest Supreme Court abortion case in decades. Woo! Feminism by Thoughtful Omission in Sci-Fi & Fantasy. Yes, this. My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard: A Mother Jones Investigation. A long read, but a really good one. The Case for Free Money: Why don’t we have universal basic income? Yes, why don’t we? How insane work hours became a mark of American […]

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Book Review: Steelheart

Steelheart

Steelheart (Reckoners #1) by Brandon Sanderson. I’m a fan of Sanderson’s Mistborn books, and his Stormlight Archives series so far. And while I never finished the Wheel of Time series (as of yet), I heard he did good things with it after Robert Jordan’s death. So I’ve long been meaning to try out his YA series, Reckoners. My recent roadtrip saw me armed with the audiobook version to see me through the first long drive. Let me just say that the narrator (MacLeod Andrews) did an awesome job. Each character had a distinct voice, and he carried off the female […]

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Taking Stock

Taking a page from Pip’s book and using this list to do a life snapshot. I don’t have any fun pictures to intro this, so we’re just going to jump right into the list: Making: cupcakes in the morning! Cooking: Nothing at the moment, but I made this for my mom and sisters earlier. Drinking: water. Reading: Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. Wanting: to go to sleep. Looking: at my laptop screen. Yes, I have a working laptop now! Playing: with my sister’s dog Suri, lately. Deciding: what to do about a certain situation with a client. Wishing: that I could […]

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Tuesday Treasure Trove

Tuesday Treasure Trove

  This week in You’ve Been Lied To: Sorry But Medieval Armies Probably Didn’t Use Fire Arrows. Ironic Serif: A Brief History of Typographic Snark and the Failed Crusade for an Irony Mark. Your romantic first dates? Restaurants hate them. Delusion at the Gastropub. “A few centuries into the future, inhabitants of a ravaged globe may look back on this time as the crucial moment at which delusional fervor around unremarkable, overpriced things reached its apex.” I Quit Showering, and Life Continued. I feel like this is probably easier to pull off for people with short hair (like the author). […]

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Book Review: Arena

arena

Arena by Holly Jennings. Arena is the story of Kali Ling, a gamer-gladiator competing in the elite RAGE tournaments. It takes place in the not-too-distant future, where virtual reality games are the latest sports craze. Contestants compete in to-the-death matches, then wake up in their pod, train so more, and do it all over again. They have Hollywood star-like fame, and the lifestyle that accompanies it. As you might guess, that combination of fame, partying, drugs, and an ever-increasingly blurry line between the real and virtual worlds leads to some problems. Add in Kali being the first-ever female captain to […]

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Tuesday Treasure Trove

Tuesday Treasure Trove

  If you only read one thing this week, read this: Female Rage Doesn’t Exist In A Vacuum. Girly Book Covers and Man Book Clubs In Defense of Unlikable Women (characters). “Like it or not, failure of empathy in the face of unlikable women in fiction can often lead to a failure to empathize with women who don’t follow all the rules in real life, too.” The End of Empathy. Stealing Books in the Age of Self-Publishing. *sigh* Why Do the Poor Make Such Poor Decisions? Despite the inflammatory title, a decent article. The Families That Can’t Afford Summer. Hey […]

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