Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Ilona Andrews
Release date: December 2nd 2013
On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, “normal” is a bit of a stretch for Dina.
And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night….Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.
“Something big is near. Something hungry and vicious.”
Clean Sweep is an action-focused Urban Fantasy novel, with a complex world-building and humorous dialogue. It presents a new and somewhat refreshing take on werewolves and vampires, as well as sets up the fascinating world of magical inns and their innkeepers. The fights, murder, magic, and monsters from other worlds also makes this novel rich in content.
Ilona Andrews knows how to write charming characters which, when combined with the unique world-building, makes this for a pretty entertaining read. The main character, Dina, is delight as a narrator and one of the best characters in the book. The story does lack a little spark, though, and didn’t involve as much as it could have.
I have to say it again, Dina as a main character and narrator of the story is a very positive point in favor of this book. She’s a no-nonsense kind of woman, strong, smart, and brave. She’s also super endearing and humorous, despite having a lot of things to deal with, being an Innkeeper and all. She’s definitely what kept me flipping pages, even more so than the love triangle aspect and all of the action.
The novel does give us a new take on werewolves and vampires. Their origins differ from what we’re used to, falling more on the Sci-Fi side of things than PNR/UBF. It’s very interesting to read about, but at the same time it did distract me a little. The entire concept seemed a little weird to me, even though it is very well-developed throughout the story.
There is a love triangle, but it’s not the focus of the story. The characters do have more important things to worry about, and Andrews doesn’t brush that aside in favor of romance. Personally, I appreciated that, but I wasn’t really into either of the love interests. As the series progresses, those relationships might develop, and I might change my mind.
Honorable mention to a) developed side characters and b) subplots. Caldenia and Beast are amazing! I loved reading about them, and I hope they have more parts to play in the series. There are also some really interesting threads that are left with no resolution, which will obviously have an impact in the other installments. The mystery of Dina’s parents is something I’m looking forward to finding out more about.
Overall, Clean Sweep is a good set up to a new Fantasy series. It is a little bit confusing at times, but it obviously paves the way for bigger and better things to come. I recommend this to all Ilona Andrews fans, as well as to anyone who enjoys Urban Fantasy with some Sci-Fi elements to it.