Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain

The Rookery is the sequel to The Nightjar and therefore this review may contain spoilers for the previous book.

Alice isn’t well, the legacy of her father Tuoni is making her ill, and there’s nothing conventional medicine can do for her. On the other side of the Marble Arch, the Rookery may hold an answer, if she can embrace her unknown mother’s Mielikki side, and join their house, she can drink the draught made from the Summer Tree. And that might just save her.

When I read The Nightjar I loved the alternate London setting with worldbuilding inspired by Finnish mythology. What I didn’t love so much was the main character, but I can say I thawed a little to Alice in this second instalment and I enjoyed it a whole lot more.

I was a bit concerned that I’d forgotten what had happened previously but there is just the right amount of recap at the start of The Rookery to help you get your bearings. The Rookery is a copy of London which deviated in the 1930’s meaning it doesn’t have the war damage and some of it is a little old fashioned. The place is run by four houses, one for each of the main lineages. Mielikki have power over plantlife, Pellervoinen can open doorways and manipulate stone, Ilmarinen can wield fire and Ahti can control water.

Alice has taken a job as a research assistant in the alternate London, supposedly helping Professor Reid study souls, something Alice knows more about than the average citizen. She is an aviarist, able to see the nightjars that guard the souls of the Väki, but since this is a closely guarded secret she can’t really tell Reid that. Mostly she spends her time photocopying (or using the Ditto machine, as it’s known in the Rookery).

Meanwhile she must take the tests to join House Mielikki, so she can access the power of the Summer Tree. But something isn’t quite right in the house, is it possible the tree is growing, and is there someone who doesn’t want Alice to join?

I really enjoyed the quasi-academic setting of this one and there are several mysteries to be solved. While there were times that I was frustrated with Alice for not letting people in, it was mostly for the best, and she does seem to have more rounded relationships with people now. I can’t say she’s one of my favourite fantasy protagonists but the rest of it completely made up for anything she was lacking. I actually cared about her this time.

The Rookery is published by Pan and will be available in paperback on the 5th August 2021, with an early ebook release on the 22nd July. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.

20 Books of Summer #11

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