The Girl Who Forgot
What if you had a super power to be organized? I’m not talking about socks sorted in your dresser, coupons alphabetized, meetings and notes at work categorized for the next year. I mean a real power. So powerful that you could leave behind binders and notes to yourself after you get amnesia and it would be enough to fake being your old self. That is what The Rook by Daniel O’Malley is about.
The heroine of the story, Myfanwy (rhymes with Tiffany) Thomas has organizational skills beyond belief, but her real power of taking over peoples nervous systems is what gets her into a “secret government agency that protects the world against supernatural threats” called the Checquy. She doesn’t really like using her real power so she rose to a high office, Rook, in the Checquy purely on her organizational skills. From the first page Myfanwy is unaware of who she is and we find out about her old life along with her as she reads the letters and notes from herself. Her memory loss has come about from nefarious means and she has to quickly get her act together to try to solve the mystery of who is trying to kill her before they try again. This is all done with the backdrop of Britain’s supernatural secret service. Intertwined with the mystery of who stole Myfanwy’s memory O’Malley gives us little pieces of droll explanation on the day to day operations of an organization that can deal equally well with a vampire coven and some intelligent mold bent on taking over the world. It’s all in a day’s work with time left over for tea. It’s sort of a cross between Harry Potter and James Bond. Except they are both played by a diminutive women who could take on both of them at once with a stapler and some manilla folders.
I was quickly pulled in to the story and was instantly rooting for Rook Myfanwy Thomas to figure out what in the world was happening and figure out who she was/is/would be. The hidden world of the supernatural that O’Malley creates is wonderfully strange without being over the top. Along with Myfanwy’s history we also get the history of Checquy and descriptions of the major players from Myfanwy 1.0 The history lessons usually come right when something exciting is going to happen and help to build some suspense around the action. And if you are concerned that all of the action only takes place in Great Britain there is even a connection to the American version of the Checquy, the Croatoan.
I enjoyed The Rook. It was clever and I am always a sucker for clever.