REVIEW - The Rook by Daniel O'Malley

Title: The Rook (Checquy Files #1)
Author: Daniel O'Malley
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Release Date: 17th July 2012 
Source: My copy from Amazon

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, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own. 

In her quest to uncover which member of the Checquy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined

Ok, I love mad, crazy, out there books and on a scale of one to bonkers, The Rook is bonkers! I love it for it, this book is incredible.  It imagines a whole new secret world of people with extraordinary gifts and the super secret organisation who police them. 

Imagine X-Men combined with Harry Potter with a dash of James Bond's MI5 you will get The Rook. The story is told from the POV of Myfanwy (it rhymes with Tiffany - not pronounced the Welsh way) Thomas and it is told in a present and past tense because you see Myfanwy has....AMNESIA!!

OK, you better sit down before I go any further because, well just sit down this needs your full attention, Myfanwy begins her story in the rain, surrounded by bodies wearing latex gloves.  She has no idea how she got there and she has no idea who she is but she does have a letter.  The letter is from her pre amnesia self and it starts to tell her the tale of how she got there. Oh and it gives a hint that someone is trying to kill her plus she also finds out she is a high ranking official in a super secret organisition that deal with all things supernatural.

So all in all quite a shock to her already shocked system but the best to come is she herself has crazy powers too. Thankfully to help her transition to her new life her old self has left her a manual of her life, a who's who and what to do list for her work at The Checquy.

Are you still with me? Yes! Good, so The Checquy (the super secret organisation) have various levels of authority, all chess related - pawns, rooks, bishops etc - our girl is a Rook, Rook Thomas.  Her job seems to be quite admin based and her old self was quiet, reserved and set upon by her peers but her new self, well she is a bit more feisty and to be honest she has no idea what she is doing so a lot of what she is doing is made up on the spot.

She does however find her feet with this strange organisation and through the letters her old self sent she begins to uncover all the weird shit that went on in her past and follows the clues she left for herself to find out who is out to kill her - the unfortunate thing is, it turns out to be one of her own but who?

Could it be the man with four bodies and one mind and one of those bodies is female? Or the vampire, or the guy who oozes chemicals from his body? Well read to find out.

This is a crazy read but it is also humorous with an amazingly well imagined new world, it does not take itself too seriously. To be honest there is a lot of characters, names and places to take in and if this sort of thing generally isn't your cup of tea then you won't get past the first chapter but I loved this book and Myfanwy is a incredible character, in fact all of the characters where great.

If I had to pick another favourite it would be a toss up between Ingrid, Myfanwy's super efficient assistant and Gestalt, the four bodies, one mind guy, he is super scary and not to be messed with.

The bad thing about this book is the wait for book 2 - Autumn 2016


Random Redheaded Ramblings


  1. Oh wow, that sounds so different and intriguing! Great review. I'll check this one out!

  2. With a mix of references this book relates to, how can it not be awesome? :)

  3. Ok sounds totally bonkers - but like fun bonkers! Might have to check this out - Great review!

  4. Oh gosh I read this years ago and I loved it the same way you did. It's like a superhero story a la X-Men. I wonder why he/the publisher didn't turn this into a series. It has so much to offer!

  5. Oh wow, this book sounds like it is all shades of wonderful. You mentioned it being like X-men and Harry Potter and James Bond. I really like two of the three an that already had me intrigued. The characters sound wonderful but the plot itself sounds even better. Looking forward to this one, so thanks for introducing it to me!


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