Slime, mutations, and other gory specimens won't leave Myfanwy Thomas alone. Can't a girl with amnesia get a break from saving the country? Supernatural oddities aren't Myfanwy's only problems though. She's also got to figure out who the traitor is who wiped her memory, and what she can do with her body's ability to control others just by thinking about it. Luckily, she has a suitcase full of letters to guide her. The first one begins, "Dear You, The body you are wearing used to be mine..."
The Rook by Daniel O'Malley is a fast-paced and witty mystery adventure. Other than the humorous dialogue, my favorite part was getting to know the amnesiac heroine, Myfanwy Thomas. Her name is Welsh and pronounced "miffany," which rhymes with Tiffany. She isn't really Myfanwy anymore, but that's the name on her driver's license so she's stuck with it. The Rook is book number seven out of ten for me in my personal quest to complete the 10 to Try challenge choosing only mysteries. By reading it I completed the category "Read a book recommended by KCLS staff."
You might think that librarians don't need to ask each other for book recommendations, but we do! There are thousands of books published each year and we just can't read them all. To get a personalized list of recommendations, I turned to the KCLS service BookMatch. After completing the form, I got a personal response from a librarian very quickly:
"Thanks for using BookMatch, a service of KCLS Reads! You asked for mysteries with originality, depth of setting and character, and also a bit of magic and/or science. I’ve put together a list of 6 titles I think you’ll like. Hopefully, this will help you complete your 10 to Try Mystery Challenge."
What an amazing service! My personalized list of recommendations had several books that sounded interesting to me. I was glad that the librarian understood what I was asking for when I completed the form. I really enjoyed The Rook, and I'm definitely going to use BookMatch again! Maybe after I finish the book's sequel Stiletto.
Here are a couple of books that I would add to the list of mysteries with a bit of magic or science. They are both teen books that adults will also enjoy.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
At the core of this fantasy by one of my favorite authors is the mystery of a man. Who is Lazlo Strange? On the outside, he's an orphan whose nose was broken by a large book of fairy tales. He knows almost nothing about his past. But the mystery he cares about is the city of Weep. No one has had contact with the city in two hundred years, and its true name was stolen from Lazlo's mind by a magical energy.
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
A strange man has kidnapped a kind young woman named Roza, and the only witness to the crime is a face-blind boy named Finn. Yet despite his disability, he is determined to solve the mystery and find her. Bone Gap won the Printz Award last year, and I loved the way the author blended fantasy and myth into the story.