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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable
I imagine I am not the only reader hooked by the taster for this book. Once I had read the first chapter, buying it was unavoidable, even though I did wonder if the rest of the book would live up to the beginning. I needn't have had any fear - the whole book is as good as the start & I had trouble tearing myself away. I hope Mr O'Malley is chained to a desk somewhere,...
Published 20 months ago by A. Keys

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Novel Written By Basil Exposition
After two attempts to read 'The Rook' I have finally admitted defeat and consigned it to the archive on my Kindle. I am very glad I picked it up for less than a quid.

It takes a lot for me to not finish a book, but The Rook pushed me past the point where I'd had enough very quickly. Whilst the initial set-up of a woman coming-to after a fight with no...
Published 8 months ago by C. Green


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable, 9 Aug 2012
By 
A. Keys (UK) - See all my reviews
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I imagine I am not the only reader hooked by the taster for this book. Once I had read the first chapter, buying it was unavoidable, even though I did wonder if the rest of the book would live up to the beginning. I needn't have had any fear - the whole book is as good as the start & I had trouble tearing myself away. I hope Mr O'Malley is chained to a desk somewhere, writing the sequel as I would like to read more - a lot more - about Myfanwy.

My ONLY niggle is that a book ostensibly set in England, with an English main character ought to use English spellings - eg colour not color - and there was the occasional phrase used which also owed more to the US than to the UK. But I am really AM nit-picking here & as can be seen, I haven't even knocked off one star for this "fault".
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A supernatural tour de force, 31 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Rook (Hardcover)
When I first read about the 'Big Idea' at the centre of this book on John Scalzi's blog 'Whatever', I was intrigued. Like many others, I suspect, I've sometimes felt like a spectator of my own life, and the idea of waking up with no knowledge of the past and having to pretend to be me without knowing what's going on struck a chord. Add to that the main character's involvement in a world of espionage, strange powers and hideous monsters, and I was hooked.

This is the most enjoyable, most riveting supernatural thriller I've read this side of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, and it has similar elements: a likable, vulnerable hero/heroine, up against immense threats, triumphing through guile and determination; a realistic backdrop that contrasts wonderfully with the fantastical events; and throughout a touch of ironic and occasionally macabre humour.

Mr O'Malley populates his world with people who I found myself invested in, both the sympathetic, who I so desperately wanted to survive and triumph, and the villainous, whose defeats were so satisfying. He manages to make the reader care about what happens even to minor characters.

I gather the author is working on a sequel and I, for one, look forward to re-immersing myself in his troubling but compelling world, and re-acquainting myself with those who survived; and perhaps those that didn't...
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I want more!, 19 Jun 2012
By 
L Robinson (Sunderland) - See all my reviews
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Daniel O'Malley has shot straight into my 'must-buy' list of authors with this incredible book.

Myfanwy isn't Myfanwy any more. She's woken up in a field surrounded by bodies, with two black eyes, a potential new name and a letter in her pocket explaining that she's in big trouble. Lucky for us. The first part of the book suffers a little from info dump - there are loads of letters from M1 explaining how her life worked before it fell apart - but please don't let that put you off. Once the action kicks in there's no let up.

Given the glut of supernatural books over the past few years, it says a lot for the author's skill that the world created feels fresh and is engrossing. There's a version of how one type of predator (it's so hard to talk about this without giving the character away) is created that I can't recall having read before.

Myfanwy is a great invention. She proves the old adage that it's always the quiet ones you have to watch. M1 is dismissed by her colleagues as a mousy administrator, so I loved seeing M2 roar into life and shake them up. O'Malley didn't leave M1 as a single note character either. She had a depth and strength that led her on adventures her detractors would never have thought her capable of. M1's stoicism in the face of her own impending destruction was heartbreaking, and her determination to exercise a measure of control over the aftermath was inspiring. The other characters are wonderful (even when they're horrible). My heart was in my mouth over the fate of a few of my favourites near the end.

The thing I liked best of all was the way humour and action were combined so that each enhanced rather than detracted from the other. I couldn't bear to put the book down until it was finished, and now it's over I wish I'd made it last longer. I really hope there's a sequel in the pipeline, and that Daniel O'Malley is a fast writer.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Promising Debut, 4 Oct 2012
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I picked this book up on the strength of the reviews here, and wasn't disappointed, especially for a first novel. The prose is strong and the story well-plotted and paced. O'Malley has a talent for the slightly absurd, and I laughed at the whimsy in some of the throwaway descriptions of powers and situations, and particularly the 'duck incident' towards the end of the book.

While I didn't find the infrequent Americanisms as jarring as other reviewers, the book does demand comparison with Ben Aaronovich's Rivers of London series, both of which feature secret paranormal agencies based in London/UK. Aaronovich clearly has a much better grasp of the London setting, which O'Malley could do well to try and emulate. However Rook possibly just has the edge in terms of humo(u)r and plotting

There were some credulity-stretching moments in the plot - the ease and speed with which the (new) heroine managed to settle into a C-level role in an international secret service with almost nobody noticing, and the apparent lack of competence from some of the leaders of said service. However a really strong debut, with plenty of scope and interesting secondary characters to develop for future novels
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Novel Written By Basil Exposition, 22 Aug 2013
By 
C. Green "happily low brow" (Quenington, Glos, UK) - See all my reviews
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After two attempts to read 'The Rook' I have finally admitted defeat and consigned it to the archive on my Kindle. I am very glad I picked it up for less than a quid.

It takes a lot for me to not finish a book, but The Rook pushed me past the point where I'd had enough very quickly. Whilst the initial set-up of a woman coming-to after a fight with no recollection of who she was and finding letters from her pre-amnesiac-self waiting to guide her through the hidden fantastical world she inhabits was a clever one, the execution was just dire.

Whilst the concept of the letters left for the amnesiac sounds promising, Daniel O'Malley's execution of the idea is terrible. He uses them to provide chunks of leaden exposition to introduce both his heroine and the reader to the hidden world they're encountering. This sounds helpful in principle but in reality comes across as lazy and unimaginative. If a fantasy author doesn't have the skill to introduce the world he's created naturally within the flow of the narrative then he's working in the wrong genre.

Add the fact that purely to satisfy O'Malley's chosen narrative structure the heroine is forced to make the utterly illogical decision not read all the letters or the file she left herself before plunging in her 'new' world but rather read them in drips and drabs as she encounters people and places, and The Rook is floundering within the first fifty pages.

Matters might have been rescued had O'Malley injected the narrative with any of the following; drive, wonder, atmosphere or action, but he offers none of them. The story is flat and un-involving, with even the insertion of a brief (and utterly implausible) fight scene failing to generate any excitement. Combined with the constant stopping-and-starting as another piece of exposition is delivered, and The Rook is a book that I found it also impossible to engage with.

Finally, when I realised that despite having set the book in the UK Daniel O'Malley had no real grasp for British geography, society, culture or history I decided to cut my losses and bail out on The Rook. It would be unfair to award it one star as I didn't make it past page 100 and it might slowly develop into a brilliant book later on (I doubt it but you never know) but based on what I did read this is one to avoid.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good ideas, bit spoiled in the execution, 13 Jan 2013
By 
D. Harris (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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I found this book a bit of a disappointment.

It has a good concept and a strong opening - a woman waking in a park, surrounded by corpses wearing latex gloves. She is bruised and beaten, and has clearly survived some kind of fight. With no memory of who she is or how she got there, she has to slot immediately into a world of supernatural spookery, relying only on notes left by her former self. Most of all she mustn't reveal her memory loss, as whoever - or whatever - attacked her is poised to strike again, exploiting any weakness.

O'Malley has some fun describing Myfanwy's experiences returning to work, trying to fit in with the mysterious routines and bizarre personalities of an office where she's apparently some kind of senior figure. (This may strike a chord with anyone who's had to get quickly up to speed with a new demanding job.) He then plunges the reader - and his heroine - into a hectic series of adventures, fights, and intrigue, the pace never letting up until the final few pages. All the while we have, as a commentary, notes from the earlier Myfanwy (before she lost her memory) describing the world of the Checquy and her fears for what might happen to her. This Myfanwy is the most (I should say, the only) clearly defined character in the book, an admin genius among men (and women) of action, a woman with an inkling of a terrible fate in store and trying to control her fears and keep functioning. The other characters are, I'm afraid, cardboard: new Myfanwy is by definition a blank slate, and the others pretty indistinct (I had trouble remembering who many of them were), either helpers or antagonists (or the latter hiding as the former).

As with the characters, so with the writing. In my view, it just didn't live up to the plot. And as a book set in Britain, and featuring largely British characters, there were too many clanging Americanisms (roosters, mailboxes, cars having "trunks", sidewalks) and simple clangers (such as references to the "United Kingdom of the British Isles" or the "Foreign and Colonial Office"). Simple things which could easily have been fixed at the editing stage. It may be pedantic to object to this stuff, but it jumps out and breaks the spell of the story.

In my view, Charles Stross and Ben Aaronovitch have done versions of "counter Occult services" which have more convincingly portrayed what are supposed to be characteristically British institutions and are, simply, better written.

So, as I said, disappointing - but I won't deny it's a page-turner once the story gets going (which is almost from the start). If the publisher could get a bit more of an editorial grip this could become a decent readable series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice idea, but lacking in depth with so many irritating moments..., 9 Jan 2013
By 
D. MACKENZIE (london, uk) - See all my reviews
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The good -
I loved the idea of the secret society, and the elegant way that the theme of chess is used to join it together.
And it was a great start, having the protagonist wake up in someone else's body with no memory, surrounded by dead bodies, and with only mysterious notes left by the previous owner about your bizzare life and super powers...
The bad -
but from there.. the author sets out to undo what he's done over the next few hundred pages, with a constant stream of trivial and smart comments, that makes me more and more annoyed and irritated. . the plot thins and becomes cliched and ridiculous, and soon you realise that you are not in the presence of a master, far from it, but someone who had one good idea and pushed it out. on the whole, fails to deliver from the promising start.
I read to the end, but i wont be reading again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't Overlook this Book!, 22 Sep 2012
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I normally buy books that have been out for a while and already have 100s of reviews, but after reading the preview I was already hooked and just had to take the gamble. I certainly don't regret the gamble, I was hooked right until the end.

I also don't normally write reviews but since this is a new book I don't want it to be overlooked, and so if anyone else out there is weighing up whether or not to gamble on a new book from a new writer, if you like the preview then go for it! This is a great supernatural novel; the humour is brilliant and in some instances reminds me of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - which can surely never be a bad thing!

I agree with other reviews that the way some of it is written does not sound English at all and so the writer probably would've done better to either set the book elsewhere or do some more research but if you can overlook this then it is still a great book.

The only reason I don't give this 5 out of 5 is that I feel too loyal to the few books I would call my favourites to rate it as high as them but that doesn't mean this book isn't a wonderfully enjoyable read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Rook - excellent read, 16 Oct 2012
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I really enjoyed The Rook. It's really gripping from the first page, anyone who enjoys the Rivers of London & Harry Potter (especially the Ministry of Magic), with a good dollop of humour should really enjoy this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Rook by Daniel O'Malley, 11 Oct 2012
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This review is from: The Rook (Hardcover)
What a story... If your looking for something a bit different and have a sence of humour then buy this book, it won't disappoint!
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The Rook (The Checquy Files)
The Rook (The Checquy Files) by Daniel O'Malley (Paperback - 1 Aug 2013)
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