As soon as I saw this book described as “The Bourne Identity meets The X-Men”, I knew I had to read it. In The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, Myfanwy (rhymes with Tiffany) Thomas wakes up on a rainy street in London, having clearly been beaten to a pulp. The bigger problem? She has no idea who she is. Luckily her past self was prepared for this to happen, because in her jacket pocket Myfanwy finds a letter that directs her to a bank, where she will have two choices: safe deposit box #1 contains lots of money and everything she needs for a new identity, and safe deposit box #2 contains information about who she is and what happened to her. After being attacked for a second time, Myfanwy opts to learn the secrets of safe deposit box #2: she is part of a secret government organization called The Chequy, comprised of British citizens with supernatural abilities, working together to protect the country from its more unusual threats. Moreover, past-Myfanwy is certain that a fellow member of The Chequy is the one who ordered the attack on her. With nothing but a big stack of letters from her past self, Myfanwy must protect the country from imminent danger all while trying to protect herself from a threat close to home.
This was a really fun concept for a book, and I liked the main character a lot. She’s really snarky and funny, particularly when she’s re-learning about her powers or trying to cover up the fact that she’s lost her memory (and doing a poor job at it). However, I almost didn’t finish this book because it’s a LOT longer than it needs to be. Much of the first half moves pretty slowly with at least one subplot that could have easily been disposed of. Luckily things picked up at the halfway point, and I couldn’t help but tear through it all the way to the exciting end.