Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley Stiletto by Daniel O'Malley
Narrator: Moira Quirk
Series: The Checquy Files #2
Published by Hachette Book Group on June 14, 2016
Source: Library
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Length: 23 hrs 12 mins
Format: Audiobook
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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 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.

I loved The Rook last year, the first in this series and was looking forward to Stiletto, even though based on reviews I read I had my high expectations tampered a bit. Happily, because while Stiletto was enjoyable, it didn’t blow me away like The Rook.

Rook Myfanwy Thomas is in the midst of negotiating a way for the Grafters to join the Checquy. The two groups have been enemies for hundreds of years, each believing the other to be monsters, but having the two join forces is rather brilliant. The two groups definitely have different strengths and ways of looking at the world that could complement each other.

But Myfanwy is not the main character here. Yes, she gets some screen time, but the stars are Pawn Felicity Clements and Grafter Odette Leliefeld. Odette is a sad young woman, mourning the loss of her closest friends and unsure of her part in the Grafter Delegation. Felicity is assigned to be her bodyguard, since many in the Checquy truly hate the Grafters and especially Odette. Of course, watching Odette 24/7 also gives Felicity the opportunity to spy on her, see where her loyalties lie. I like the two women, although neither has as big a personality as Myfanwy. They do fit well into the overall Checquy/Grafter merge. Each is very good at what she does and is leery of the other woman’s capabilities. They do grow to like, and trust, each other. I liked that we got to hear each woman’s viewpoints and thoughts, both about their own organization and the other.

I listened to the audio and the narrator did a wonderful job with a large cast of characters. She made each person unique and while I can’t vouch for the accuracy of her accents, they felt fine to me. It is a long book and there are some parts that felt maybe unnecessary or too drawn out, and parts were rather slow. Each piece had its purpose, but I’m not sure that it couldn’t have been done a little better, the pacing could have been more consistent.

Stiletto is full of funny bits of dialogue, monster killing, extraordinary powers, and amazing science. It had me laughing out loud at times. I love its tongue-in-cheek style. It’s also about institutionalized hatred and how to (maybe) overcome it. It’s about the responsible use of power. It’s about building relationships and learning to appreciate differences. And it’s about defeating bad guys who can look like anyone and know most of your secrets.

About Daniel O’Malley

Dan O’Malley graduated from Michigan State University and earned a Master’s Degree in medieval history from Ohio State University. He then returned to his childhood home, Australia. He now works for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, writing press releases for government investigations of plane crashes and runaway boats.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: