Okay confession time: I haven’t quite finished this yet. It’s proving trickier than I had anticipated, given that it’s kind of exhausting, so this is sort of a part I review maybe? There’s really no excuse as to why I wasn’t able to finish a book this week other than, reading a book in a week is a lot more challenging than I initially anticipated, but I will say that I plan to work on a new book for this coming week. Not sure which one yet.
I first came across the Rook through, I believe a BuzzFeed article that had recommended it on a list of books you would like if you loved Harry Potter. (Though my search for such an article did not pull up a recommendation for the Rook, so I may be mistaken). The concept sounded interesting enough, a woman awakens with no memories, strange powers, and several letters addressed to herself from a mysterious person who claims to be the previous inhabitant of her body. I even read through a preview of the book on Amazon to make sure I’d even like it, and I loved what I’d read, so I went out and bought the paperback from Barnes and Noble and read, the first two chapters?
Then everything came to a grinding halt, suddenly nothing was really happening, and the interesting concept of strange letters, became a cheap plot device to offer backstory to the reader, and the main character. It was almost tolerable for a time, but the more the story went on, the more cheap the plot device felt, and the more tiresome it became. Knowing that this character’s life is supposed to be in danger seems almost hard to believe with how mundane things become by chapter three. Then there’s the transitions into the letters themselves which in one case in particular feels like a gag straight out of a cartoon, in which the main character Myfanwy, thinks that she should ‘learn more about how exactly this place (her work) works’, and the title of the next letter is ‘how exactly this place works’. It would be amusing, in the setting of a Bugs Bunny cartoon, but it’s altogether out of place in a world in which the main character’s life is supposed to be in danger, is this a drama or a comedy? At best it’s neither, and the ‘jokes’ that can be found at best, barely elicit a smile, let a lone a laugh. By the time I came to that point in the story I had had just about all I could take of cutting back and forth between letters and what passes for action in this story.
In an effort to feel as though I’d actually gotten through the story, I opted to listen to the audiobook for a chapter or two only to find that I’d retained almost nothing of the story from it. Both because still little had happened, and because the reader of the audiobook was unquestionably awful. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by years of Jim Dale, but why does it seem finding a good audiobook reader is a next to impossible task?
Not since the Corrections have I endured a book so frustrating, though not because it’s simply terrible at it’s core but because the concept is rather interesting and yet the execution is unquestionably dull. It happens to be the first book in a series and honestly, after this I wouldn’t pick up the next one.
Ultimately I can’t in good conscience suggest reading this book. I mean unless you have trouble sleeping, or you think I’m being too harsh. Regardless of your thoughts on Harry Potter, the two books are not even in the same hemisphere, save for the fact they both contain ‘magic’ and take place in the U.K.