“Stiletto” by Daniel O’Malley, Hachette Book Group, $26, 592 pages, hardcover
Merging two factions that have been enemies for centuries isn’t the easiest task in the world, I imagine. But when you add in supernatural elements, it becomes an even trickier business. Luckily, it happens to be a lot of fun to read about.
“Stiletto” further immerses the reader into the world introduced in 2012’s “The Rook,” and this time the stakes are even higher.
The Checquy, the supernatural branch of British government, is attempting to welcome the grafters into its ranks after trying to destroy them hundreds of years ago.
While the grafters aren’t a supernatural group, they have perfected the science of operating on themselves to become a flawless weapon, or surgeon, or really anything they may desire. They view the superpowered members of The Checquy as monsters and vice versa. But the leaders have tentatively decided to form an alliance to avoid all-out war.
Myfanwy Thomas was our guide in “The Rook,” and she’s back in this book, as delightfully cheeky as ever. But the main characters are two more strong females.
Felicity is a member of the Checquy’s version of the military, and she’s been assigned to act as a bodyguard for Odette, a young member of the grafter delegation. Neither woman is very pleased at the idea, as they have both been raised to think of the other as their worst enemy.
As delicate negotiations begin, a sneeze at the wrong time could bring everything crumbling to the ground. And when a series of attacks across London threatens to bring the entire process to a decidedly violent end, Odette and Felicity must find a way to make peace between themselves and the two sides.
Daniel O’Malley’s imagination struck me once more — the powers of the Checquy members, the enhancements of the grafters, the monsters faced by both — everything is so detailed and often hilarious. His wry sense of humor will have you laughing throughout the book.
This is a light-hearted romp through a world that’s both familiar and strange, and it’s my favorite book of 2016.