Daniel O'Malley
Stiletto Cover



"The Rook" is my favorite fantasy of the past ten years. I won't embarrass myself by telling you how many times I've re-read it :) So I approached "Stiletto" with a combination of extreme excitement and a little trepidation. I didn't expect to love it like "Rook" (of the thousands of books I've read there are probably only 10 that I've re-read multiple times) but what if it was a major disappointment? Given O'Malley's talent I should have known not to worry.

First of all, if you haven't already read it, go forth & read "The Rook". "Stiletto" can be an enjoyable standalone but you will appreciate it more if you read the first in series. Beginning a few months after the conclusion of "The Rook", "Stiletto" continues the story the Checquy but the focus is shifted. The primary protagonists are younger members of the Checquy and Grafters. And although the story takes place in London, it is more focused on the backstory of the Grafters than that of the Checquy which was covered extensively in the first book.

"Stiletto" is also much more linear than its predecessor. While "The Rook" constantly shifted from letters detailing various characters' backstories, to Thomas's trials & tribulations, to Myfanwy's current dilemmas, "Stiletto" has a more traditional mystery pattern although there are some "history" insertions.

"Stiletto" was VERY enjoyable and engrossing. Although yesterday was extremely hectic, I found myself reading every spare minute (including while pushing the vacuum?) But did I love it as much as "Rook"? No- but I didn't expect to (lightning in a bottle). Myfanwy Thomas returns but only a few parts of the book are told from her perspective. I'm sure that I won't be alone in finding this to be the one disappointing thing about the book. The characters of both "Myfanwy" and "Thomas" (you'll understand that if you've read "Rook") were a big part of my love of "The Rook" and while I knew it was too much to expect a return of "Thomas" I missed Myfanwy's unique "voice". The new characters were very likeable but just didn't capture my imagination in the same way. But even with that disappointment, "Stiletto" stands on its own as a top notch fantasy.

O'Malley has set up such a diverse and interesting universe that there is potential for many more books with very interesting characters- and I plan to read every one of them :)