Review: The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley (read by Susan Duerden)
Hacette Audio, 2012

Daniel O’Malley’s debut novel The Rook is another one of those titles that goes down as something I wanted to really like but ended up disappointing me on some levels. It is also one of those audiobooks that whose narrator I wasn’t particularly fond of and who I have no doubt influenced my opinion of the novel on a whole. There are aspects of The Rook I definitely enjoyed and its premise is something I definitely found intriguing but as a novel I didn’t feel it came together quite as nicely as it aught to.

The Rook is a supernatural action thriller mystery adventure. If that sounds like an improbable mashup you are asbolutely correct but O’Malley does a valiant effort at making it all stick together. However, his tendancy to richochet back and forth between various themes, tones, and plots often leaves the novel a scattered and somewhat inconsistant feel. The novel centers around Myfanwy Thomas (pronounced, incorrectly, like Tiffany but with an M instead of a T) who wakes up in the rain surrounded by dead men in rubber gloves and no memory of who she is. A mysterious letter in her pocket, apparently written by her pre-amnesiac self, sets her on a journey fraught with mystery danger and the startling revelation of the Britain’s secret history. I don’t want to explain too much more than that, mainly because the slow unveiling of who Myfanwy is and just what the organisation she belongs to does is one of the best things about the novel. I will say that this super-secret government organisation is staffed my many people who have unique and often strange gifts.

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Review: The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron

The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron
The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron

The Spirit Thief
Rachel Aaron
Orbit, 2010

I don’t know what it is about the scoundrel archetype that is so consistently appealing. For my part I blame Han Solo for his part in forever ensconcing the noble scoundrel in the annals of my own youth. I’m sure there were others, your Robin Hoods and what have you, but for me the lovable scoundrel archetype has always been defined by Han Solo. Rachel Aaron’s Eli Moonpress, who debuted in last October’s, the Spirit Thief is of a similar ilk as that space pirate. Cavalier, inscrutable, and consistently full of surprises Aaron has crafted a welcome new addition to the world of loveable scoundrels.

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Review: Star Wars: Omen by Christie Golden (audio)

Star Wars (Fate of the Jedi Book 2): Omen by Christien Gold, Narrated by Marc Thompson
Star Wars (Fate of the Jedi Book 2): Omen by Christien Gold, Narrated by Marc Thompson

Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Omen

by Christie Goldman

Read by Marc Thompson

2009, Random House Audio

The first volume in the Fate of the Jedi series, Outcast, marked my first foray to the Star Wars Expanded Universe since the death of Chewbacca in R. A. Salvatores’ Vector PrimeOutcast, and now Omen, are taking a slower more subtle approach to storytelling that one would expect from a Star Wars novel.  Like Outcast before it, Omen has no large scale space battles, no real swashbuckling adventures but focuses instead on creating an air of tension, mystery, and suspense.  Though perhaps one might say that the real focus of this story, and perhaps the entire Fate of the Jedi series is that of the Solo and Skywalker families.

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Review: Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Outcast (Audiobook)

Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi Book 1: Outcast
Aaron Allston
read by Marc Thompson
Random House Audio, 2009

It’s been a while since I’ve read, let alone listened, to a Star Wars novel.  I think I stopped somewhere back around Vector Prime when I was generally frustrated with the direction of the current story.  Turns out I’ve missed quite a bit.  Most importantly is the recently finished Legacy of the Force series that deal primarily Jacen Solo’s reign as Darth Caedus and the war to unseat him from power.  As such Outcast might have been easily called Aftermath (both titles are, in my opinion, equally applicable).  All the events here deal with the repruscussion of Jacen’s actions as Darth Caedus and Luke Skywalker’s actions in defeating him (namely his decision to break the Jedi Order away from the Gallactic Alliance midwar and turn them into a more independent and neutral force).  Confused yet?  It isn’t too hard to follow and I found it fairly easy to slip into the post-war almost Nuremberg like atmosphere of the novel.  So easy in fact that I almost didn’t want to stop listening.

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Review: Contagious by Scott Sigler (Audio)

Contagious

Scott Sigler

Random House Audio, 2008

Read by Scott Sigler

Infected was one of my surprise favorites when it came out in April of 2008; its cringe inducing scenes of self-mutilation caused several near misses on my daily commute.  Contagious picks up not long after Infected’s ending and continues the battle of Margaret Montoya, Dew Phillips, Clarence Otto, and “Scary” Perry Dawsey against the mysterious blue triangles.  While Contagious lacks some of the more horrific elements that made Infected such a fun read the B-move action sci-fi vibe more than makes up for things.  More impressions after the jump…

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