My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Long story short: Daniel O’Malley set a very wide tangential plot with Stiletto and it took him forever to tie up the loose ends. The action scenes are not as palpable as those in The Rook. On top of this, our high-powered Checquy characters in Book I didn’t make much of an impression in Stiletto. Myfanwy Thomas, Eckhart, Aldrich , et al. But the Grafters did shine. I loved Odette and Alessio
Extract from the opening scene:
“She struggled, but he had her well and truly pinned. She sighed and looked up. Joe was staring down at her, and the expression on his face was terrible to behold.
“I really didn’t want to do this,” she remarked. “Pawn Cheng?” The men exchanged confused looks.
“Uh… I got your porn right here, slut,” said Joe, grabbing his crotch.
“I’m not talking to you,” she said coldly.
Then Joe clapped his hands to his head and seemed to fling himself backward. As Petey and the woman watched in fascination, he fell onto the ground, revealing a petite Asian woman. She was wearing a black yoga outfit and a grim expression. On her feet, somewhat incongruously, was a pair of heavy boots that looked suitable for undertaking construction work or possibly some sort of hate crime”
The flesh out: Stiletto is a follow-up of the spectacular The Rook and matter-of-fact, I got so nostalgic for the first book in the series which I read years ago that I felt I needed to go back to re-read it. Which I am doing.
Stiletto, unlike The Rook, leans more on the side of the Grafters, working towards demystifying the Broederschap who are in the process of merging with the Chequey.
The story centers around Odette, grand grand (say that a few times more) daughter of the Grafter leader and founder Ernst. Her character for me shone the brightest in Stiletto. I loved how normal she was despite literally being the stuff of nightmares, according to Checquy indoctrination. Along with her brother Alessio and Uncle, Marcel, we finally see the human side of the Grafters who incidentally believe they are more human than the super-powered Checquy they have been taught to fear and loathe.
Odette develops an interesting relationship with her Checquy minder Felicity. I enjoying seeing how their misconceptions about each other dissolved like liquefied Grafter flesh. I especially loved Alessio. He provided a much needed counterpoint between the two frenemies.
In The Rook, O’Malley had these notes the new Myfanwy read about the Checquey from the old Myfanwy and I will have to admit, it was simply brilliant. we got to learn so much in a small time frame about this secret organisation comprised of super human individuals working for the British Government. Stiletto does not have a similar vehicle. In attempting to backstory us into the workings of the Broederschap, the pace suffers significantly. In attempting to merge both the Broederschap and the Checquy, both groups suffer with an over saturation of super-powered individuals. We do not witness the badassness that was in The Rook from both ends. Well, apart from Odette. she did shine, like I said. Aldrich did make a cameo appearance, doing what he does best. He tore limbs off bodies and again, he appeared to know much more than he let on, but I guess that’s there’s an undeniable mysteriousness about him.
I felt Stiletto deserved a 3.5 stars but I am torn. I would say a 3.7 and when you round that off, you get a 4. This universe, if you think about it closely is very similar to the X-Men. They powers as well. The only difference is that it’s set on British soil and the characters possess a certain form of British sensibilities. And did O’Malley just hint at a book III? Now that would be interesting.