Was thrilled to chance upon Canberra author Daniel O'Malley's 'Stiletto' (2016) on the shelves of Bellevue Regional Library. I thoroughly enjoyed his first book of the series 'The Rook' (2012). It was a fantastic debut novel! Didn't know there's a sequel. Sooo glad that the second book is just as good. Modern fantasy done so well. Love it! (Reviews here and here.)
There're new developments in the world whereby United Kingdom's super secret agency in service of the nation- The Checquy (made up of humans with supernatural powers), and super secret Belgium independent scientific organization made up of the Wetenschappeljik Broederschap van Natuurkundigen, also known as the Grafters (who use science to enhance human DNA and abilities) are brokering a truce and a brand new peace treaty. They also face new threats in the form of a rogue faction that broke away from the Grafters and known as the 'Antagonists', and will go to lengths to prevent peace due to hurt feelings from centuries ago.
The book is full of exciting supernatural fights, magic and sci-fi. Couldn't help but notice all the references to characters picking up a glass of whisky. Scotch. Single malts of Talisker 12 and Old Pulteney. Heh.
"In an ideal world, we'd destroy their training ground," said Claudia. "Kirrin Island would be full of little corpses if we could manage it. But it's impossible." She shrugged awkwardly. "It's too well guarded."
"Our attack today may not even get them all," said Saskia. "I expect there will be some little monster who doesn't need to breathe air or is actually a living song or some such ludicrous atrocity. But that's not a bad thing, really. Traumatized witnesses ensure that the story doesn't die. A kid, scarred for life by what he's seen, that will whip the Checquy into a frenzy like nothing else."
"I can't believe you would kill children," said Odette. This can't be happening. They can't mean this, not truly.
"They're not really children," said Claudia. "They're not humans. Humans can't do what they do."
"We are in no position to say what humans can and cannot do, Claudia!" said Odette.
'Don't cheat yourself, 'Dette," said Saskia. "We are human. It's human to make tools. To fix broken bones, and straighten teeth, and remove cataracts. Humans figure out new ways to do things, organ transplants and fighting disease and doing research." She gestured around the room to her comrades, and Odette noticed herself included in the group. "We're just ahead of the rest of them.
But I'll tell you what humans don't do," she said in a poisonous tone. "They're not born with fangs, or mirrors for skin, or with the air around them turning to bronze. They don't swim through the earth. Those creatures aren't human. They're vermin, they're cockroaches. And the targets? They're baby cockroaches. That's all."