This book has quite literally been at the top of my TBR list for two and a half years. I gobbled up The Rook at the very end of 2013 and proceeded to fall madly in love with Myfanwy Thomas and the secret magical world of The Checquy (basically England’s bureau of magical law enforcement). I always knew whatever direction the sequel took, it would have to be pretty different from The Rook. You can only have your main character lose her memory once. Stiletto took some interesting turns. Not everything in this book was successful, but I enjoyed it and I can tell Daniel O’Malley is thinking deeply about the direction he wants this series to go in and how to keep it fresh and interesting.
The biggest surprise of Stiletto was that it doesn’t just center on Myfawny, but two other characters, Grafter royalty Odette Leliefeld and Checquy Pawn Felicity Clements. I was a little sad to get less of Myfawny this time, but it was incredible fun seeing her through the eyes of other characters. The Grafters and the Checquy have come together to make peace and merge their two organizations, but there is a lot of opposition from within both groups. Myfawny, Odette, and Felicity find themselves at the center of this internal struggle, fighting enemies from within.
I know it shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is kind of a big deal that this urban fantasy series written by a man continues to feature amazing female characters. They’re well written and interesting which is not exactly the norm from male authors. Along with his strong characters, O’Malley excels in the humor department. I was tempted to classify this as a humor book because it kept me laughing throughout.
I think this book could have benefitted from more stringent editing. The pacing is inconsistent and some of the more political parts drag on and on. I’d love to know what this book could have been if it had been tightened up in certain places.
Does Stiletto live up to the magic of The Rook? Not quite, but it’s still worth a read. I look forward to where O’Malley takes these characters next.