Title: The Rook
Author: Daniel O’Malley
Series: The Checquy Files #1
Read via: 3M (ebook)
Summary: Myfanwy Thomas wakes up with her memory wiped clean. The only hints into her secret agent past life are letters written by herself…to herself. These letters help her rediscover her identity, while also assisting her in solving the mystery of a saboteur in her midst.
Review: Daniel O’Malley presents a witty voice and engaging book structure in The Rook. All characterization of Myfanwy Thomas, the protagonist and narrator, is told through letters interspersed throughout the narrative. This serves as a real-time glossary for both the reader and the amnesiac main character. It provides amusing and detailed backstory without the traditional interwoven exposition. It is within these letters that O’Malley’s storytelling really shines–filling in details splendidly. In a strange way, I ended up losing my investment in what was happening in the main narrative because the letters were more compelling.
My biggest criticism of this novel was the length. It would’ve benefited greatly from being about 150 pages shorter. This sort of book deserves to be consumed quickly, and the length made quick consumption prohibitive. The recently released sequel, Stiletto, is 100 pages longer than this one, so that presents a challenging barrier to entry. I hate to judge a book based on it’s length (I’m always happy to do it based on it’s cover), but it factored into my level of enjoyment so it’s certainly hard to ignore.
★★★ out of 5