The Rook (The Checquy Files #1) by Daniel O’Malley

10836728“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.

(via Goodreads)

This was an interesting story, a Supernatural Agency run by a diverse team of humans and supernatural beings, operating within the world’s powers. I liked the history of the Agency and hearing how they came into being. The hierarchy, modeled after chess pieces, was also cool. I would have loved finding out more about the Agency and going through some more cases with them.

Our titular character, Myfanwy, is The Rook of the UK Supernatural Agency, The Checquy.  Her name is pronounced ‘Miff-un-ee’ and the constant reminder of this at the start of the book was annoying. I’m sorry, but did we need to know that? It had no bearing on the story at large, so why did we need such an emphasis on it? Rowling never explained how to say Hermione. We worked it out. Have faith in the reader to figure it out, our let us have the fun of finding out how to say it!! After a while, I said it how I always say it and pretended the start didn’t happen. For anyone interested, I saw ‘miff-ahn-wee’. Why? Because I watched Little Britain.

Our story focusses on Myfanwy and her amnesia. Our opening scenes has her coming to surrounded by a bunch of dead men wearing gloves and she is covered in blood. In her pocket was a letter from the previous tenant of the body, the actual Myfanwy Thomas. And so begins the story of discovery. It was such a strong start. Name emphasis aside and it was a strong ride along. You wanted to know how this memory transference occurred. You wanted to know who was trying to kill her and why. It was captivating.

And then she went clubbing with her (okay the other Myfanwy’s) long lost sister.

Why? I don’t know.

After that time (and some would argue before) the story kind of spiralled from scene to scene, not making a great deal of sense. Things happened to Myfanwy, and when she did break from her static (which was rarely) something stopped her. At times, the letter writing Myfanwy (I need like an Earth-1/Earth-2 naming convention here) or pre-Myfanwy, was far more interesting than the character we were left with.

Our villains, the Grafters, were interesting but seemed two dimensional. I must admit I lost a little interest towards the end.

However, it was a good debut novel from O’Malley and I do recommend it to anyone who loves YA/Paranormal fiction. As I always say, it’s just my opinion and you might think differently 🙂



3 thoughts on “The Rook (The Checquy Files #1) by Daniel O’Malley

  1. I’d heard a lot of great things about this book (and it’s second installment ‘Sitletto’) to the point I purchased both in anticipation of a fun read over a long weekend. Though I do like the occasional YA/Paranormal book I’m a little less excited to plan a start time. Would you say ‘The Rook’ is a more meh, or would fall into a guilty pleasure category (kinda like the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout) where it is enjoyable, but faces issues with tropes and overused storytelling devices?
    Great critique – it’s always great to read intelligent opinions on novels… 🙂


    1. I think it is a strong debut. I personally got a bit frustrated at the end. But I recommend you read it. It has a lot going for it. And maybe you’ll have a different reaction to it. It’s definitely a great concept to work with.

      Liked by 1 person

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