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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First things first. Kudos to the author for casting a female character in the lead. Myfanwy Thomas kicks some serious ass! She’s not some masculine male wannabe on steroids and neither is she a shying doe-eyed damsel in distress. No, not her. Maybe that used to be the Myfanwy Thomas of old, you know, before the sinister amnesia that would eventually wipe out her entire personality. When her mind reboots, she’s someone completely different and not so shy about preserving her new existence. She hits the ground running and never stops until she feels safe. Imagine waking up one day and my mind is a clean slate with no memories whatsoever. Of course the motor functions remain otherwise it would be awkward to learn how to walk and wipe your butt afresh.

Dear You,
The body you are wearing used to be mine. The scar on the inner left thigh is there because I fell out of a tree and impaled my leg at the age of nine, The filling in the far left tooth on the top is a result of my avoiding the dentist for four years. But you probably care little about this body’s past. After all, I’m writing this letter for you to read in the future.

How’s that for an intro? The Rook is like a hybrid of Kinsman: The Secret Service and X-Men all rolled into one ensemble. The Checquy’s organisational structure is based on the chessboard pieces with two exceptions: The King and Queen are named Lord and Lady so as not to affront the actual British royalty.
This super secret society of supercharged individuals possessing immense superhuman abilities protect the British government from threats the average British Government isn’t equiped to handle. This is complete with British sensibilities and horrendous clothing for our pathetic heroine facing imminent doom.

Myfanwy (Ooh, how I love this name!) is at the level of Rook which is far high up there, due to her exceptional abilities, which incidentally, she never really uses. Her other power which isn’t a superpower at all but just as vital is her administrative ability. And the reason she is able to forward the author’s literary device (info dump) using letters she writes to her future self before her mind is wiped. I looked forward to reading the old Myfanwy’s letters. The old maid had astounding organisation skills and I loved her comaderie with her new self who she came to deeply care for and love, bizarre as it sounds. Myfanwy 2.0 is forced to quickly adapt in a whole new environment rife with bizarre super charged creatures and powered individuals living side by side with muggles.

Daniel O’Malley teetered very close to overdoing the info dump technique but he masterfully juggled it to cram in as much information about his world as he could while still keeping us hooked. It makes for satisfying reading. The author’s approach to the plot was very interesting and had me hooked from the get go. The climax dragged a bit but that’s alright. Loved it

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