Book Rec: The Rook and Stiletto

I just read these books by Daniel O'Malley, and now I can't shut up about them.
  1. I picked up The Rook about a month ago. A book about Her Majesty's Supernatural Secret Service? Yes.
    (📸: amazon)
  2. It's thick as a brick, but I blew through it in a week.
  3. It's about a woman who comes to awareness in the park and has no memory of her past or self. She doesn't even know her name. She finds a note in her pocket from her former self which tells her that her memory has been wiped.
  4. She has a choice: follow the directions to reclaim her former, obviously complicated life.
  5. Or go to the bank, empty her account, and start over with a new identity.
  6. Lucky for us, she decides to go down the rabbit hole to find out who wiped her memory and why.
  7. And it turns out she was born with a special power and recruited as a child for a secret organization called The Checquy that monitors the supernatural events in the UK.
  8. She rose through the ranks and is now a "Rook" because of course they use chess pieces as their organizational structure.
  9. So, somebody wiped her memory. Someone she worked with. But who? Why? What did she know that was so dangerous? And how does she keep everyone else from finding out that she has no idea who she is?
  10. The world building is excellent and thorough. Every detail is considered.
  11. And our heroine is funny! She has a very dry sense of humor, which is evidently different from her former self. We know this because the novel has letters from her former self sprinkled throughout. Epistolary novel alert!! 🚨🚨
  12. And she has a pet rabbit, which is charming.
  13. And get this- no love interest. A page turner about a woman, and never once does it rely on a love interest. You don't even miss it.
  14. It's funny! Think of the beaurcracy of a government office set in a secret supernatural organization. The possibility for hijinks is high.
  15. But also, it is creepy. Not give-you-nightmares-for-life creepy. But it's not all jokes and japes. Someone stole her memory! There are people with latex gloves! There's a house full of chanting people covered in mold! Stuff is AFOOT.
  16. There is a character that is multiple people sharing a hive mind. It is both creepy and neat.
  17. The Americans are dreaded because they're so pushy (how British) but one of the Americans is also our heroine's new best friend and she is EXCELLENT.
  18. And it's about identity and what that means and how it can change. It has substance! So it is the literary equivalent of a healthy dessert.
  19. It's just delightful. And I can't believe a man wrote it because it really is a great book from a woman's POV.
  20. And the sequel, Stiletto, is great too, but I don't want to spoil it.
  21. Suffice to say it's on my new list of books I will happily re-read and suggest to anyone