The Girl Booker

The Girl Booker

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Further Adventures Of Girlbooker's Genre Fiction Reading

Reading Daniel O’Malley’s first book, The Rook was a novel experience for me; no pun intended (ok, I suppose if I’m honest I really did intend the pun). It is quite unlike the books I normally read, even taking into account the fact that I like to think I read quite a variety. It is pacey, boy’s-own-adventure-with-tentacles-and-mind-control, Science Fiction. The opening scene involves one amnesiac surrounded by numerous dead bodies all wearing latex gloves. I loved it!

I am a fairy typical squeamish girl who can’t bear to watch surgical procedures or people being beaten up on TV. The slime and blood and violent behaviour didn’t really worry me in The Rook, perhaps because it was in the realm of such fantasy. I loved the mystery behind the premise, as well as the kooky cleverness of the central character reading letters from her past self to her present (post memory loss) self in order to explain the various things she encounters. I also enjoyed the freshness of reading something unencumbered with poetic symbolism or metaphor.

I did reach a point somewhere around about page 250 where it felt like the middle of the book had gone on a bit long and I was ready for the end. Unfortunately, the book is just shy of 500 pages so I had a while to go but I decided to stop the bookish judgement and go along for the ride, after which I began to enjoy it again. I did begin to feel that there was a bit too much variety; I got tired of each new character being introduced with crazy new bodily appendages or abilities to manipulate metal. I personally felt that it could have lost 50 pages and been a better book, but I am not generally a scifi reader, and I do note that these books seem to be a lot thicker than average fiction so I presume that is what readers of the genre like.

If you loved Pride and Prejudice and after something similar, I recommend you stay the hell away from The Rook but if you are after something fun and escapist and don't mind a touch of purple slime in your reading material then get your hands on a copy. Seven slime covered men with retractable porcupine spikes out of ten.

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