So, I really, really loved The Rook. I loved Myfanwy Thomas and I loved the Checquy. I had pretty high hopes for this sequel, and overall, it was pretty good.
The overarching focus of Stiletto is the peace accords between the Checquy and the Grafters, who were the big bads in the first book. The narrative moves between Felicity Clements, a Pawn with the ability to read the past through inanimate objects, and Odette Leliefeld, who’s part of the Grafter delegation visiting London. Myfanwy shows up throughout the book, but she’s not a main character. At first, I missed her, but Felicity and Odette are both engaging and interesting characters.
The plot shifts back and forth between several storylines. There’s the mysterious, supernatural serial killer, who murders people with crystals he can make spontaneously erupt out of walls and furniture, the attempts at a truce between the Grafters and the Checquy, and the mysterious attacks on London, perpetrated by a group known as the Antagonists. There’s also the backstory on the creation of the Grafters and their war with the Checquy. There’s a lot going on here.
I really enjoyed Stiletto, but it did feel overstuffed. The crystal guy, especially, seemed out of place and not really connected with the other plotlines. I could have done without the Grafter backstory, although I do understand its importance to the book. It dragged a bit for me and took me out of the story.
I love the general idea behind the Checquy, and all the little details that go into creating this world where some people are born different. I also love the utter weirdness of the Grafters and the lengths they go to to improve on what nature gave them. I do wonder, though, about the Grafters thinking that the members of the Checquy are “unnatural.” Are there no naturally mutated humans in Belgium? What’s up with the water in England, that there are so many mutants there? Maybe that’ll be addressed in another book, or maybe I’m overthinking it. Either way, I really enjoyed Stiletto and look forward to the next in the series.