Heyo, ladies, gentlemen, and non-gender-conforming readers! (Or, hell, non-human readers. We’re not speciesist. Speciesist? Specist? What would that be?)
I do that greeting both because I am fully supportive of everyone, but also because it kinda makes sense for the novel I’m pairing this weekend. After all, we’re dealing with people who have powers with no discernible scientific reasoning!
Oh yeah… y’all might not have read Monday’s blog, so you wouldn’t know that I promised to do a specific book this week. Yeah. I promised to do a specific book this week. After waiting FOREVER, the sequel to The Rook has finally come out, and I was not going to miss the opportunity to pair it! So I’m doing it before I lend it to A to read. (Yes, we trust one another enough to lend books. BFFs 4eva, y’all!) That way, she has no choice but to let me pair it.
Very often in storytelling… or anything, really, you get what’s called the sophomore slump. You’ve got a great first thing and you’re trying to live up to it, so you try too damn hard and end up making something awful. But that is NOT the case with Daniel O’Malley’s latest, Stiletto. I like it as much as the first. If I prefer Myfanwy as a character, it’s only because I have an irrational love for her and she’s one of my favorite characters ever. No one was going to live up to her, at least in this universe.
That being said, Rook Felicity Clements and Grafter Odette Leliefeld are definitely amazing and just as compelling as Myfanwy. Yeah, that’s right, Stiletto features female main characters again! Fantasy with bad ass female POVs is such a damn rarity in the world, and here’s Daniel O’Malley doing it back-to-back! Odette and Felicity’s relationship, characters, everything is used as the foundation of the entire story, serving as a reflection of the larger context of the novel: the Checquy/Grafter alliance, and all the trouble that goes along with it.
Basically… these two organizations are one another’s bogeyman. They are taught to fear and hate the opposite. The Checquy thinks of the Grafters as a group of evil mad scientists who once tried to take over England with their man-made monsters, and the Grafters think of the Checquy as unnatural… demons, basically, whose abilities cannot be explained scientifically and, thus, should not be trusted. And now the organizations are being merged… which, obviously, is going to cause problems. We’ve got old villains, new villains, politics, terror, friendship, adventure… everything.
The only thing I wish is that Myfanwy got more screen time, but that’s just because I love her so damn much. And, between you and me, I kinda ship her and Ernst… and I don’t do the shipping thing, which should tell you how invested I am in these characters.
Read this book. READ IT. READ IT NOW!
But also… have a drink. For funsies, I’m going to be recommending a drink based on the slime the Grafters use to promote healing. And, in order to play on a signature scent used throughout the novel (no spoilers, I swear!), there’s going to be some Grand Marnier involved! I’m recommending Ectoplasm, which is 3 parts vodka, 1.5 parts orange liqueur and Blue Curacao, and splash of OJ stirred together in an old-fashioned glass with some ice cubes. It’ll be a hideous color, but packs a huge punch and is surprisingly tasty! If you’re too much Team Checquy to drink such a Grafter-focused drink, go with a Pimm’s Cup! It is such a delightfully English drink, and quite refreshing.
Well… that’s it for me today! We’ll be back tomorrow with some Shakespeare!
Buy the Book:
Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley
Buy the Booze:
Here’s the Pimm’s! (I’m Team Myfanwy, so that makes me pro-Checquy, I guess.)