Daniel O’Malley’s debut novel starts off running and doesn’t slow until the final page. It was recommended to me by my brother and I have since recommended it to several others. Not surprisingly, I have yet to find someone who has read it and not enjoyed it.
Like most people who read widely, and frequently, it is near impossible to name one book as “favorite.” The best any of us can do is to provide a small list. The Rook has ranked high on my list.
Meet Myfany Thomas: average looks, small in stature, and incredibly timid standing in the middle of a park with the rain coming down. As she leaves she must step over the dead bodies of half a dozen men all wearing latex gloves.
This opening scene hooked me faster than almost any other book ever has. O’Malley has the creative strength to keep a steady pull on me from start to finish; so much so that I struggled to take my nose out of the pages. As one reviewer stated, “A near-perfect supernatural thriller… Don’t start this book unless you’ve got lots of time, because you won’t want to put it down. It’s that good.” (David Keymer, Library Journal).
For those like me who prefer not to encounter crude language when reading, I will give fair warning that there is a bit of language in this book. However, it maintains correct placement for the most part. I’ve found crude language to be one of the fastest ways to destroy a good book, regardless of the storyline. O’Malley does use language occasionally, but it is always appropriate to the situation. I’m currently reading a book, The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch, which is much less appropriate with its use of curse words and, in my opinion, is undermining the enjoyment of the story. I find it to be a good example of what can happen to a good story when the author becomes overly fond of swearing. But let’s not get me off on a tangent…
I would recommend this book to everyone who likes a more mature supernatural/mystery novel. Of course people favor different genres; I personally enjoy mystery, realistic fantasy, and almost anything supernatural. Throw a little humor in there and you have the general gist of The Rook: a perfect combination of all of my interests. There is some violence that is rather descriptive, hence the ‘mature’ description, but it’s nothing that will make you imagine gory scenes after the fact. But as a general disclaimer, it’s not as tame as many of the young adult books that are becoming increasingly popular.
As I currently have a book list as long as my leg, and it’s continually growing much faster than I can read, re-reading books is not something that I do often. It also doesn’t help that I can re-live most books after I’ve read them because of my vivid memory (my wife will attest to this), but this book is one that I have read twice and can imagine reading more in years to come. If you don’t think you’d like it give it the first 20 pages. And of course, if you can’t seem to get into it, tell me why! Comments are much appreciated.