Review: The Rook by Daniel O’Malley (Checquy Files #1)


The Rook by Daniel O'Malley // VBC ReviewThe Rook (Checquy Files #1)
Daniel O’Malley
Published: Jan. 11, 2012 (Little, Brown and Company)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: library

Reviewed by: Amanda

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

One evening, Myfanwy (that’s Miff-un-ee to you, and yes, she knows she’s pronouncing it wrong) finds herself in the middle of a park, drenched to the bone, with no memory of who she is. When she goes through her coat pockets, she finds a letter from herself, to herself, along with an Epi-pen.

Thus begins the adventures of Myfanwy Thomas, Rook of the Checquy.

There’s procedures and protocols to learn while she maintains the façade that she really does know what she’s doing and who she is. Aided by a giant purple binder and a briefcase full of letters, Myfanwy starts to piece together the events that led to her eventual memory loss. What she uncovers could change the balance of the Checquy—and the supernatural world at large—if only someone would stop trying to kill her.

The Rook is a re-read for me. Back when it was originally released, I ran across a review that called it “Harry Potter for grown-ups” and I had to read it. It was entertaining and funny then, and it was just as entertaining and funny the second time around. Myfanwy version 2.0 is all kinds of awesome. She was smart and thorough and incredibly well organized before she lost her memory, and she’s still smart and thorough and incredibly well organized. But unlike Myfanwy version 1.0, the new Myfanwy isn’t afraid to snark back when someone’s putting her down and once she discovers her power, she puts it to good use.

Everyone in a position of authority in the Checquy has some sort of supernatural ability, whether it’s the ability to steal into peoples’ dreams, control their neurological impulses, or, well…let’s just say Gestalt is super creepy and is quite deserving of the title of “it” that Myfanwy uses. This makes them essential personnel in controlling and containing the random happenings and occasional outbreaks of unexplained phenomena. Fox Mulder would have a field day with everything the Checquy covers up.

Daniel O’Malley has imagined a world where people are sometimes born with extraordinary (and occasionally disgusting) abilities that must be kept hidden from the population at large. Because Myfanwy can’t remember anything about her life in (or out) of the Checquy, we get to learn right along with her what measures the Checquy will go to in order to keep their secrets. Sometimes that means getting covered in purple mold, or slimy, acidic goo. Other times it means Myfanwy has to watch her back, lest someone stab her in it.

Aside from an overuse of the word “discreet”, the use of flashbacks sometimes interrupts the flow of the story. It’s all necessary information, but when it came in the middle of a particularly fraught and goopy problem, I started skimming just so I could get back to said fraught and goopy problem.

I had a smile on my face almost the entire time, though. Sometimes when you re-read a favorite book, you find it’s not as good as you remember, but The Rook holds up just fine.

Sexual content: none

2 Responses to “Review: The Rook by Daniel O’Malley (Checquy Files #1)”

  1. I can’t say no to anything described as akin to Harry Potter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Powered by WordPress | Designed by Elegant Themes
Malcare WordPress Security