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Stiletto

by Daniel O'Malley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Checquy Files (2)

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7243723,928 (4.1)64
"In this spirited sequel to the acclaimed The Rook, Myfanwy Thomas 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 threats, and... 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, from an author who "adroitly straddles the thin line between fantasy, thriller, and spoof " (Booklist)"--… (more)
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» See also 64 mentions

English (36)  Dutch (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
I am not going to write a real review, but just to note ideas on Bruckner's Symphony Number 8 at midchapter 23 on page 264 (hardbound). There are comments on the symbolism from Wikipedia about death (death march) and transfiguration of the Deutscher Michel figure. This corresponds with the sciences fro Odette's and Felicity's medical tribulations.
The second concerns whether Alessio really did die or the prose just points to his death in an ambiguous way. I believe Alessio is a plot figure sometimes called "Fifth Business" (see Robertson Davies). This is where a non-important character is crucial to the turn of the story. ( )
  vpfluke | Aug 15, 2021 |
Well. That was a sequel. Published 4 years after [b:The Rook|10836728|The Rook (The Checquy Files, #1)|Daniel O'Malley|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1327619585s/10836728.jpg|15750881], we have a weird combination of following the events of the first book (Stiletto takes place perhaps a few months later as the Checquy and Grafters are coming together for peace meetings) but with two completely new main characters (a Pawn Felicity and a teenager Grafter Odette, descendant of one of the leaders).

Plotwise, it's an interesting enough story, with two organizations that have been taught from early ages to hate one another for centuries having to come together and at least pretend to play nicely. Throw in a third (ish) party trying to throw a wrench into the situation? You have a pretty solid core for a plot.

Characterwise, I did actually eventually really like new main characters, Felicity and Odette both. It felt more organic and natural to see people at a lower level in their organizations have to deal with the fallout of the world going crazy around them. And watching them discover that perhaps the otherside isn't as evil as you'd always though--they just have a very different way of looking at the world--that was pretty well done. I do miss Myfanwy though. She was a lot of what made the Rook what it was and we barely get any time with her, let alone as a point-of-view. So it goes I guess.

The worldbuilding remains neat, with the Checquy having all manner of weird and bizarre powers (and often humerous) in a sort of supernatural MI-6. Contrasting that with the Grafters, whose powers are all based entirely on science, if a super advanced and somewhat ... squishy sort of science is fascinating. You get into the head of someone who think it's perfectly normal to turn people to gas at a touch... only to turn around and see how weird that is from the point of view of someone who stores naturally produced bone scalpels in skin pockets in their legs.

Unfortunately, Stiletto has a lot of the same problems that The Rook did, in particular with pacing. Just when things begin to happen, you'll have a chapter or three of backstory. While interesting, they pull you out of where you were. Then another build up, only to have some seemingly unrelated scene with Myfanwy's family--who, despite feeling like they should be important only really figure into that one scene. And then a final ramp up a chapter or two from the end into... nope, it's done now.

Overall, there is the seed of something really special in these books, but I feel like they could use a little shuffling around of chapters plus cutting some of the backstory / side plots. They're all good, it's just uneven. Perhaps it was just the way I read it (aiming for one chapter a day, more often a few every few days)? Not sure.

I'll probably read the next sequel whenever if ever it's out--the world building is worth it and I really am curious what happens next--but it's not at the top of my to-read list. ( )
  jpv0 | Jul 21, 2021 |
I really enjoyed this book, wanting to read the next few pages to see what other crazy and imaginative stuff O'Malley could concoct. The main story is a proposed merger of the British Checquy with their centuries-old rivals, the Dutch Grafters. Checquy Rook Myfanwy Thomas and Ernest Graaf van Suchtlen are leading the efforts but there is much acrimony, including bitter factions opposed to the alliance. The two main characters, are Odette, the many-great granddaughter of Ernest, and Pawn Felicity, who is assigned to be Odette's bodyguard. They are leery of each other, but become reluctant partners in battling several supernatural attacks strike in London. The monsters are wildly weird and great, as are the assassins and the extraordinary skills of both the Checquy and Grafters. I mean how can you not love an author using amazing contrived words, like badassitude and moronitude? ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
paranormal superspies vs. scientifically-augmented supersurgeons, with odd monsters thrown in (fantasy adventure some spoofing). Let's hope the third one is just as good as the first and second, and that it doesn't take as long for O'Malley to write it. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
I liked this book as much as the first in the series. Very fun read with engaging characters and situations and I will absolutely read the next in the series, if there is one. Please let there be a next in the series. Daniel O'Malley writes great women and such fun situations. I definitely recommend this series. Fun! ( )
  amcheri | May 25, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Daniel O'Malleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Quirk, MoiraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
If you had taught her, from the dawn of her intelligence, with your utmost energy and might, that there was such a thing as daylight, but that it was made to be her enemy and destroyer, and she must always turn against it, for it had blighted you and would else blight her; - if you had done this, and if then, for a purpose, had wanted her to take naturally to the daylight and she could not do it, you would have been disappointed and angry?
-Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Optometry is the discipline of vision. What its boundaries will be depends upon what the word vision means to the profession.
-A. M. Skeffington, May 1974
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For Mollie Glick
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for Asya Muchnick
with tremendous thanks
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The woman was crouched in an alley, her back against the wall and her hands pressed awkwardly to the bricks behind her.
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"In this spirited sequel to the acclaimed The Rook, Myfanwy Thomas 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 threats, and... 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, from an author who "adroitly straddles the thin line between fantasy, thriller, and spoof " (Booklist)"--

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