Saturday, January 28, 2012

Why Daniel O'Malley's New Novel "The Rook" is an Early Front-Runner for My Favorite Book of 2012

I read a disgusting amount of books over the course of a given year. I work for a children's publisher, so I read a lot of young adult/chapter books as is, and I've come to love graphic novels, and while I will probably read anything you throw at me, my true reading relationship is with science fiction and fantasy.

 I love a good space opera. I prefer a long, drawn out, multiple book dragon quest. One thing I've struggled with, however, is urban fantasy. It may be more because I was raised on the sword-and-sorcery epic tales, but it's a genre that's always felt somewhat stilted and forced to me. The most well-known author (arguably), China Mieville, has consistently left me cold - the only book of his I've been able to finish is Kraken, and that's more due to my accepting of all things Cthulhu-esque than it being something that caught me. Much of the urban fantasy out there seems to exist more to tell a cop story or a noir-esque mystery with fantasy tropes, and, frankly, if I wanted that kind of book, I'd just pick it up.

The Rook is a new book by Daniel O'Malley that just came out two weeks ago. It's urban fantasy, for sure. It's also my favorite book in a while, easily the best urban fantasy book I've read period, and an early frontrunner for the best book I'll read in 2012 and best published in 2012. The Rook plops us right in the middle of the story - a woman, Myfawny Thomas, awakens to find herself surrounded by a circle of corpses, all wearing latex gloves. This woman? She doesn't remember who she is, either. Can't remember her name, her history, how she got there, who she is, nothing. There is a note in her pocket, however - the note directs her to a safety deposit box where she eventually learns that she is part of a major supernatural defense group in the United Kingdom, the Checquy. Thomas is a Rook, a high-ranking official, in the department. Oh, and someone in the department has gone rogue and wiped Thomas's memory, and it's up to this new blank-slate to figure it out. Thomas knew pre-wipe that this would occur at some point, and left copious notes, so... I hesitate to give much more away.

 I had an honest, legitimate blast reading this book and I think folks here who enjoy a good book would like this as well. If you have even a passing interest in urban fantasy (heck, any fantasy), mysteries, what have you, I give this my highest possible recommendation. The author has graciously offered the first four chapters on his website if you need to be further convinced. I promise, though, that this is worth your time.

1 comment:

  1. The synopsis does sound really interesting. Sometimes I wonder whether too much hype over a book might ultimately be part of the reason we're disappointed over some books...? I do like the fact that an Australian author is using the Welsh name Myfanwy though :)

    Dwayne Johnston (Pocket Knife Planet)