Thursday, January 17, 2013

 The Rook,
 by Daniel O'Malley

I spent two weeks trying my best to like the debut novel of author Daniel O'Malley, titled The Rook.  The premise of this book sounded interesting and exciting.  A woman wakes up with amnesia  surrounded by bodies and her only connection to her life before this event is a note, written by herself, to her self.  Myfanwy Thomas is then thrust knee deep into a strange alternate world the normal's around her can't comprehend.  I thought I would love this book.  It took about three days for me to actually get into this book.  And then I put it down.  Waited a couple of days and started it up again.  

I found this book to be frustrating in a lot of ways.  One, the main character, Myfanwy (sounds like Tiffany with a M) dramatically changes from one page to the next so that you could never really grasp who she was as a person.  One scene she is taking charge and commanding respect from those around her, and the next she is threatening to throw up at the slightest twinge of gore.  And there is gore in this book.  She complains about her clothes, being bland and unnoticeable  and when she wears a revealing dress she spends a lot of time complaining about it!  For someone who has just woken up with no idea who she is, she spends little time worrying about it.  I couldn't stand her as a main character.  

  The idea of a secret agency that takes care of all supernatural going on's in the world so that lowly humans can live their lives in ignorant bliss could be a great book.  However, I couldn't decide if the author took any of his characters seriously.  They were for the most part, silly and unbelievable. I had a hard time believing that any of his characters could run a agency, let alone, a secret one.  They also seemed to lack basic conversational skills.  At any  dramatic scene, the characters could only express their horror, anguish  contempt or anger using only one word, which was used with high frequency in this book.  Using the F word to convey what your characters are feeling in a highly charged moment seems immature.  The author's writing showed some maturity in so much of this book, that the use of this word in particular was jarring to myself as reader and took me out of the scene.  Over all, this book could have been a wondrous romp in the supernatural world, but feel sadly flat.  

I would give this book a two fox rating out of five

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