I liked this, even though it is pretty different from The Rook. Maybe because it’s different? Nobody likes a re-tread. Spoilers for The Rook to follow, though, so don’t read if you’re planning on starting this series.
Myfanwy, the main character from The Rook, is here, and she even gets some POV, but the majority of narrative real estate belongs to Felicity and Odette. Felicity Clements is a Pawn from the Checquy, and Odette Lelefield is a Grafter. We see the story from both their perspectives as the talks begin to merge The Checquy with the Grafters (or the Broederschap, as they prefer to be called). Merging the two organizations is a fraught process, as both sides have been raised from birth to not only hate the other, but to consider them inhuman monsters or demons. Changing those attitudes is a tall order, to put it mildly. Meanwhile, mysterious and frightening antagonists have infiltrated London and are causing violent deaths and mass injuries, not just to the Grafters and the Checquy, but also to civilians, threatening to bring the two organizations to what would be a devastating war.
I liked seeing the narrative from both sides, especially seeing the Checquy from the perspective of the Grafters. Odette and Felicity were also pretty interesting characters who I ended up caring for, but who I still don’t like as much as I like Myfanwy. (It’s really hard not to like Myfanwy after spending a book with her relearning her life.)
The book was about one hundred pages too long, though. O’Malley needed to kill some darlings. SPOILERS Like the whole subplot with the serial killer, or the little jaunt to the village to deal with the monster, when the climax of the story should have been happening. All interesting, but they just make the book longer, and don’t add to the main plot in ways that couldn’t have been managed elsewhere and with more brevity END SPOILERS.
I hope O’Malley writes at least one more book in this world. I want to see how things look post-merger, and how things play out with Myfanwy and Odette and Felicity.