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Urban Fantasy Review: Stiletto by Daniel O'Malley

Stiletto by Daniel O'Malley (The Chequy Files #2)

Egalley thanks to Little, Brown and Company

Synopsis from Goodreads
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.

Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository


* * *
 "Do we know for sure he's dead?" asked the marine biologist. They both looked at Odette.
"I'm fairly certain," she said. "He's cold, has no discernible pulse, and smells of rotting meat."
"I dated someone like that once," remarked Codman." A graduate student, a medieval historian."
I know it took me ages to read this book, but it was so meaty, snarky and inherently British, that I kept putting it away and digesting.

While The Rook set the plot and world-building in motion, Stiletto had time to really show off the uniqueness and sheer originality of this series.

Grafters are introduced as something monstrous and alien in the first book, but Stiletto is all about the budding alliance between them and The Chequy. Uniting two groups who are brought up hating each other is never easy, but while tense and nerve-wracking, the interactions are full of wry humour and outright snark. Odette (a Grafter) ends up working with Felicity (The Chequy Pawn) and they start despising each other and being repulsed by something that one of them says or does, but after many life and death situation this turns into a beautiful friendship.

Rook Thomas plays an important role as well, and while she doesn't outshadow the pair of main characters, she is a solid secondary figure who drives a lot of plot twists and turns.

But the main thing which blew me away is the scale of innovation of Grafters' scientific achievements. Daniel O'Malley really lets his imagination fly here. You see, Grafters (as the name implies) graft anything to their bodies, manipulate their genes, appearances, age, anything really. Odette, for example, had her eyes and hands rebuilt to do a naked eye microsurgery. She has bone scalpels grown inside her own body, antiseptics sterilizing them and a couple of bone stilettos dripping with rare poisons - all within her own body. And this is just the top of the iceberg!

I was absolutely fascinated with this book. Pawns and their abilities were just as diverse as Grafters and theirs, the plot moved briskly, and the readers could not get bored even if they tried. Recommended absolutely.

* * *
Я знаю, что читала я эту книгу долго, но я ничего не могла с собой поделать - очень уж она оказалась мясистой, насыщенной и до невозможности британской. Я всё откладывала её, чтобы тщательно пережевать материал.

Если первая книга предоставила нам азы её мира и характеров, его насыляющих, то Стилетто разошлось во всю и использовало сюжет во всей его уникальной и оригинальной красе.

Графтеры предоставлены нам как что-то чудовищное и чуждое в первой книге, однако теперь они вынуждены начать мирные переговоры с Чек для будущей консолидации организаций. Юнификация двух групп, члены которых росли, ненавидя друг друга, нелегкая задача, однако помимо напряжённой атмосферы, книга насыщенна тонким юмором и едким сарказмом.

Две главные героини, Одетт (Графтер) и Фелисити (Пешка Чек) начинают своё партнёрство, ненавидя и презирая друг друга, однако после серии опасных для жизни ситуаций становятся невольными друзьями. Мифани Томас (главная героиня книги первой) играет важную второстепенную роль и раскрывает многие повороты сюжета.

Но от чего у меня захватывало дух, так это от новшества темы Графтеров. Автор здесь действительно дал своему воображению разбежаться. Одетт, например, модифицировала свои руки и глаза, чтобы делать микрохирургию. У неё свои скальпели из кости, они находятся в её теле и там же постоянно стерилизуются. Она также владеет парой стилетто, растущих из её тела и напичканных редкими ядами.

Графтеры не похожи друг на друга и великолепны в своей инновации, да и члены Чек от них не отстают своими талантами. Сюжет развивается быстро, его трудно предсказать, и скучать читателю совсем не приходится. Рекомендую абсолютно!

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