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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Rook

I’ve actually resented having to put down this book, The Rook by Daniel O'Malley, to take care of such silly, dull life requirements such as fixing dinner, peeing and sleeping (NOT all done at the same time OR in the same place, mind you).

One of the stone coolest things about The Rook is the heroine and her partners in the fight against the forces of Evil-Heinous Fuckery. Yes, a female hero with comrades, allies and cohorts, many of whom also rock the XX chromosome action. They’re strong and wisecracking yet human (OK, some have cool mutantness but not all). They fear, get sad, wanna just yell “fuck it all, I’m goin’ to the dance club.” They’re able-bodied and minded but not invincible. In short – they’re just like real people and they are awesome!

It’s rare, or seems it, to find truly heroic women in sci fi/fantasy who are:
A) anything less than full blown brilliantly superhero-y
B) anything more than sexy decoration.
Where’s the female Bond, Han Solo, Harry Dresden? huh?!

She's here and her name’s Myfanwy (pronounced Mif Ahn Way) Thomas.
"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. (source)
Mister O’Malley shares the story's origin:
The Rook was born because I’ve spent a lot of time in extremely tedious meetings. And, once I’ve covered my notepad in absent-minded pictures of giraffes and cubes, I’ve been known to entertain myself by wondering how someone would react if they were suddenly dropped into my body. And then I have been known, on occasion, to pretend to be someone who was abruptly dropped into my body, and see how well I could pass. This may have earned me a few wary glances, but it keeps me entertained. I thought about it while pursuing my Master’s degree, and wrote the first letter in the book. And then I didn’t do anything else, except continue to pretend I’d been dumped into my body, sometimes. And then, on the last day of graduate school, I started writing more.
Since I was close to finished (40 pages left and I'm milkin' it!), I dashed off to my local book emporium for a refill. NO more Daniel O’Malley! I haz a sad. Turns out, he’s quite the young thing and this was his first (and yes, it was good for me too). He does have a second one coming out next month, “Stilleto,” but only in hardcover for now. Poop.

So then, I picked up a short story collection of Neil Gaiman’s. Here’s some heresy for you – I’m NOT a big fan of his. I want to be. I think I should be. After all, he writes about all the weird shit that goes fantastically bumpy/scary in the night that I so love.

Eh, dunno what my prob is – he crafts some lovely sentences, gorgeous paragraphs and amazing chapters but….but….I get bored. It’s me. I know. I don’t need or even want everything I read to be all Marvel action movie-esque or a Richard Kadrey adrenaline fest-ish. Honest! Still, apart from Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the book he co-authored with Terry Pratchett, I find myself skipping over large swathes, jumping around and then giving the book away before devouring or even getting a good, solid sense of it all.

By the by, Good Omens is aMAZing. I believe I may well be due for a reread.

Maybe I can work my way into Gaiman's full length stories via the short story path, huh?


  1. 1) Dibs on The Rook. It sounds amazing.
    2) Which Gaiman short story collection do you have? I do like him, but only in short spurts. But since you mention it, I'm due for a reread of Good Omens too. Just as soon as I get through the umpteen others on my To Be Read shelf.
    Again, too many books, not enough time. Sigh.

    1. 1) You can def borrow The Rook. I'll set that aside for you.
      2) I have Trigger Warning (haven't started it yet) – have you read that one?