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Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley ARC {3 Stars}

Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley is a highly anticipated sequel to The Rook, which I recently read and absolutely loved. Therefore, I was thrilled to have the sequel to jump into immediately. However, I’m sad to say that Stiletto really doesn’t measure up to its predecessor for a number of reasons, but most of all because it is lacking the delightfully dry humor of The Rook. It expands on the world and has an interesting mystery, but was a lot less enjoyable this time around.

Note: I received an advanced copy of Stiletto from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley ARC {3 Stars}

Stiletto by Daniel O'Malley (The Checquy Files)
Published by Little Brown on June 14th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Page Length: 582 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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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, from an author who “adroitly straddles the thin line between fantasy, thriller, and spoof”.

3 Stars


  • The main thing you’ll notice immediately is that Stiletto has new main characters and one of them is a Grafter. This means that we get to find out a lot about the history of the Grafters and how they currently work, along with their perspective on events that we already know a bit about from the Checquy perspective.
  • Myfanwy was obviously is a unique position in the previous book, so having new characters as the focus also means we get a new perspective on the inner workings of the Checquy! I loved finding out more about how an average Pawn progresses through the ranks, and Felicity is a pretty fun character to follow around.
  • While Myfanwy isn’t the main character, she does still show up a fair amount with her trademark dry humor and frank assessments. I have to admit that my favorite scenes were the ones she was in.
  • Simply by having another mystery present itself, we find out more about various cool powers and what is possible in this crazy supernatural world. I love finding out about every new Checquy power we come across, so I would keep reading just for that!


  • Odette and Felicity, our two new main characters, have the difficult situation of trying to take the place of Myfanwy without her humor. One of my favorite things about The Rook was how funny it was without apparently trying. Odette and Felicity aren’t funny.
  • I think that Stiletto could have easily been 100-200 pages shorter. The plot felt quite bogged down with unnecessary scenes and summaries that just didn’t work. The Rook had a lot of interludes with information, but it somehow worked. In Stiletto, these history lessons just felt like the info dumps they were.
  • Perhaps I’m strange in this, but I’m generally compelled to keep reading a book when the mystery has stumped me. If, however, the characters solve the mystery relatively early on, I get bored. It’s not really up in the air whether our intrepid heroes will eventually vanquish the villain, so if that is all that is left to do, I’m just not engrossed. Stiletto suffered from this issue.


Stiletto is a sequel that builds the world of this series nicely, but doesn’t have the same compelling quality of the first book. I’m really sorry to say that after such a long wait, but if what you loved about The Rook was the humor, you might want to wait to see how book three goes.

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya


 Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley

© 2016, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. That’s a shame that the sequel wasn’t as good! Yeah I imagine the humor was one of the best parts too! I so agree, if they figure out the mystery too easily it’s not nearly as interesting!
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