Book one in the Checquy File series: Published 1/11/12
I borrowed this book from my library for the #ReadingMyLibrary Challege and save $16.00.
“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 Chequy 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 Chequy 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.
Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, THE ROOK is a richly inventive, suspenseful, and often wry thriller that marks an ambitious debut from a promising young writer.
I was so excited when this book came in at the library. I have heard so many good things about it and glossed over all the glowing reviews (by many respectable readers I follow) and read an online article recommending this book for grown-up fans of Harry Potter. I even read the first chapter at a local book store before recommending it for purchase for my library.
Then I started it and it all went to crap. The first chapter and premise did grab me, hell even the second chapter still had my attention but by page 50 I could tell I was in trouble. The book was not living up to expectations. Still I had recommended it for a reading group I belong to (thank God they didn’t pick it!) and was determined to wait it out, surely it would get better. After a week of struggling and suffering all the way to page 250, almost half way, I am out. I’m DNFing this puppy and moving on to something that doesn’t bore me so much I start looking for things to clean or surf over to Netflix. I tried, well past I would with most books, but I have to face facts this series and author are just not for me.
Alright, since I wasted so much time and read so much of this I am going to do something I rarely do, I’m going negative and sharing what didn’t work for me in this DNF read. First off this is no Harry Potter for adult fans of the series. Not even close. I would say that this book is a mix of The Avengers or X-Men set in a James Bond like government agency. The premise is promising, but the execution just didn’t work for me. The only character that is even memorable is the lead and half the story is told past-tense in the form of these huge info-dumping letters that she uses to catch her amnesiac self up to speed. In the beginning it works, but by the fourth chapter it has become a crutch for the author to tell us information and has become tiresome.
Another problem I had is that I kinda liked the new version of the character with an unfortunately difficult name, but we spent so much time in the head of her former whiny self that I started to dislike both of them. I think she could have been really kick-ass and fun to read about but the author got in the way. I felt like the character and he were battling and the end result was this strange mix of a person that I just didn’t want to read about.
I also had issue with the plot did not follow the one that was sold to me, of this lead character’s search to discover who she is and who is out to get her. Instead she slips into her former life and we follow her as she has meetings… The second plot of this invasion could have been interesting too, but it just never developed. Then another and another plot threads are piled on all the while being interrupted by letters to self that sometimes add valuable information, but most of the time not and it just got really, really boring. I kept waiting for something to happen and by page 250 I felt that nothing worth continuing had. A few of the other characters were interesting, but we never spent any time with them, so they stayed pretty one-dimensional. We would get the info-dump of their relevance in another letter and then she would have a meeting with them and move on.
I so wanted to like this book, and I have a hard time believing so many people did. Was I even reading the same story as them, because I feel like I wasn’t. There were parts I did like, and I even laughed out loud from time to time, but the humor wasn’t what I was lead to believe it would be either. I just didn’t find it clever, though I could tell it was meant to be. I also didn’t appreciate the derogatory terms that were being used either. For those that loved it, I’m happy for you. I did not and will not be trying anything else by this author in the future. Life is too short to read books you don’t like. Sorry.