Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Rook

The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
(The Checquy series #1)

I love it when a book has a fantastic beginning. It immediately gets me excited for the ride I'm about to take. Daniel O'Malley's first book delivers with its opening line: "The body you are wearing used to be mine." Myfanwy Thomas has no memories of who she is or how she came to be standing in a London park, surrounded by bodies, holding a letter she apparently wrote to herself.

The book itself defies a simple description, but that's a good thing in this case. The letter Myfanwy is holding at the start of the book is the first in a series of many letters her predecessor wrote to herself knowing that she would soon need them to reintroduce herself to her own life. Myfanwy is a Rook, a high-ranking official in a Torchwood-style British agency called the Checquy that monitors supernatural and extra-terrestrial events in London. Members of the Checquy each have a set of extraordinary abilities that help them keep the United Kingdom safe from the continual threats that the general population is oblivious to. Myfanwy herself has the ability to tap into other peoples' minds and bodies and control them. While one of her counterparts, Gestalt, is a single person divided up into four different bodies (three male and one female) who controls all four bodies with one collective consciousness.

The letters reveal to her that someone within the Checquy is a traitor and is responsible for the erasure of her memories. She must somehow discover who that is, while simultaneously discovering who she is; all while dealing with an imminent invasion of Grafters.

The Rook is a lot of fun to read. It's part X-Men, part Men in Black, part Torchwood and Doctor Who. It got me with that opening sentence and I enjoyed every one of them that followed. O'Malley has been added to my list of authors to keep tabs on.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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