Title: The Rook (Chequy Files #1)
Author: Daniel O’Malley
Date Read: 16/09/2016 – 20/10/2016
This book came highly recommended to me by fellow public service friends and colleagues, who touted its basis as “a supernatural public service”. And while it certainly was that, I did find that after a while, there was too much bureaucracy and not enough real action to hold my interest overall.
Myfanwy Thomas wakes in the rain surrounded by dead bodies, with no memories but a note in her pocket telling her who she used to be. She learns she is a Rook in a secret organisation known as the Chequy, which protects the people of the United Kingdom from supernatural threat. As Myfanwy tries to navigate the Chequy based on the notes that her predecessor left her, as well as trying to work out who is trying to kill her and who might have infiltrated the organisation.
Myfanwy is an interesting character in and of herself. While she has no memories of who she used to be, she still develops a fairly solid personality. The letters her past self left for her provide information about the organisation and other figures within. There was also evidence of a conspiracy that past!Myfanwy chronicled for memory-less-Myfanwy to continue investigating. Sometimes these were a bit too info-dumpy, but other times they fit well into the narrative.
The Chequy itself is set up very well, though to be honest, I did not find it easy to differentiate between most the characters, and the revelation at the end about who the traitor was didn’t mean much because I couldn’t remember who that person was.
While the author is Australian, he spent a significant amount of time living in America, and a lot of Americanisms snuck through, which was annoying in a book set in London. The language switched between “ass” and “arse” and the Brits were putting cream in their tea while talking on their cells. Little things, but they pulled me out of the story. I would also say that I got a much more sci-fi vibe from the whole thing than supernatural, so I was sort of put off by expecting one genre and getting another.
To be fair, I probably didn’t do the book many favours by reading in between other ones. It was borrowed by a friend and so it got put aside for library books and ARCs that had closer deadlines. It is possible that if I had read it over a shorter amount of time, I might have had a better experience. As it is, I probably won’t worry about reading the sequel.