I mentioned this book briefly in another post where I talked mostly about the exposition style. But now that I've finished it, I wanted to point out Stiletto.
Okay, so you discover an amazing book by a new author and you're insanely excited about it. The Rook was this book, and I will shove it into people's hands (three or four people in my office are reading it right now). I've reread it about three times. I love Myfanwy Thomas, both before and after, and that book is a delight.
And then there's a sequel--only the second book ever by the author--and you're very excited, but of course it's not quite as good. Some of the reasons are psychological: you picked up the first book with no expectations, so mere excellence made your heart leap; you'd never read anything like this before, so there is the frisson of new discovery. The second one, you're expecting it to be excellent, so excellence doesn't make your heart leap. You've read something like this before, so the thrill of novelty is gone.
Plus you find out that your heroine from book one--who hadn't yet met her brother! who was just becoming besties with that metal chick from the Croatoan!--is more of a peripheral character in book two. Still there, still kicking ass and taking names, but not the primary POV character. That's a big let-down--again, I LOVED Myfanwy Thomas and wanted badly to hang out with her more.
So yes, the experience of book two can't compare to book one. But that doesn't mean it's not pretty darned delightful on its own. You get to meet the Grafters, the ancient enemy of the Chequy, and to learn that yeah, they pretty much have their own deeply held hatreds. There are some great twists about the villains, and a really lovely story of grudging respect! Who doesn't love the reluctant development of grudging respect?
So is it as great as The Rook? No. Few things are. But it was pretty damned great on its own.