Published: June 14, 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company
Pages: 583 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 4.0/5.0
In this spirited sequel, The Rook returns to clinch an alliance between deadly rivals and avert epic—and slimy—supernatural war.
When secret organizations are forced to merge after years of enmity and bloodshed, only one person has the fearsome powers—and the bureaucratic finesse—to get the job done. Facing her greatest challenge yet, Rook Myfanwy Thomas must broker a deal between two bitter adversaries:
The Checquy—the centuries-old covert British organization that protects society from supernatural
The Grafters—a centuries-old supernatural threat.
But as bizarre attacks sweep London, threatening to sabotage negotiations, old hatreds flare. Surrounded by spies, only the Rook and two women, who absolutely hate each other, can seek out the culprits before they trigger a devastating otherworldly war.
STILETTO is a novel of preternatural diplomacy, paranoia, and snide remarks.
Alright guys, I was really, really excited to read Stiletto and I preordered it MONTHS ago. Well, it arrived and then I had to exercise self control and wait until vacation to read it. Check. Done. Finally, vacation arrived and I devoured this book and gave myself eye-strain headaches and stiff muscles from sitting still too long. And a sunburn, but not a bad one. Stiletto was an absolutely great sequel to The Rook and I’m here to tell you allllll about it.
First off, for those who aren’t familiar with The Rook, you can check out my review of it HERE. You should definitely read it first and then read Stiletto because it doesn’t really work as a standalone. Stiletto focuses on two new characters, Pawn Felicity Clements and Odette Leliefeld, who is on the Grafter delegation. The book starts out with their storylines being separate, but events bring them together soon enough. Said events are unusual, traumatic, and may or may not involve giant freaky sea creatures, aliens (?), and nutrient Jell-o. Okay, so it does involve all of those things, just not necessarily at once. Pawn Clements and Odette are brought together in an effort to keep anyone from murdering Odette for being who she is and to bring the Checquy and the Grafters (Broederschap) together. It’s like a meeting of nations who are trying to sign a peace treaty because they don’t want to kill each other, but long standing hatreds are really throwing a wrench into the cocktail parties. There are many complex layers to this story beyond the two groups trying to find a peaceful way to merge and that’s really what makes it so great. Internal and external conflict, mystery, and even a bit of history make it a very rich story.
It took me awhile to really begin to like the new characters that were introduced and that’s partly because I loved Rook Myfanwy Thomas so much from the first book. Felicity Clements is tough and has long term goals of joining the Barghest, the elite forces of the Checquy. She’s kinda put off when she has to be the bodyguard of the Belgian girl that keeps making bad impressions and ruining her clothes with an assortment of bodily fluids. Odette, said Belgian girl, is the youngest official member of the Grafter delegation and she wants to make a good impression, but can’t seem to stop doing embarrassing things. The Grafters, Odette in particular, also have a secret that isn’t allowed to be shared with the Checquy, despite the fact that they could probably help. The characters eventually began to grow on me and I found both Felicity and Odette to be relatable, realistic (aside from the obvious stuff), and completely great. Felicity isn’t comfortable dressing up and going to official Checquy functions and Odette is trying to fit in in a new city while towing her little brother along. They have such normal concerns, but then they also have these massively crazy characteristics like Felicity’s superpowers and Odette’s arm-spurs that contain platypus venom. It’s whatever you know.
I found Stiletto to be incredibly enjoyable and it was such a box of surprises! This is slightly more serious in nature than The Rook, but there are plenty of humorous moments too. This was a solid sequel and I am SO excited to see what else Daniel O’Malley has in store for his readers.