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Monday, January 06, 2014

Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Woooooo, more Ilona Andrews! If you know me, you know I love this husband-wife writing duo and so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review a copy of CLEAN SWEEP. (Thank you, Ilona!) Be forewarned: this is a short novel by their standards, coming in at about 60,000 words, but it's an absolutely delicious 60,000 words so I doubt you'll feel short-changed.

CLEAN SWEEP started out as a free e-serial on their website and I really enjoyed following Dina and her adventures. But as much as I enjoyed the serial, it's even better when you have it in e-book format, so that there's no waiting, no clicking, just page after page of well-written thrills. In some ways, CLEAN SWEEP is more similar to Andrews' The Edge series, since it focuses on Dina, an Innkeeper to all sorts of aliens and supernaturals, and her immediate surroundings, as opposed to the Kate Daniels books, which have a much broader scope. For me, this is a plus because I adore The Edge books (and the Kate books!) and I really loved how the authors create such a wild adventure basically in someone's backyard.

One of the most fun parts of CLEAN SWEEP is definitely the series mythology. Innkeepers are neutral parties who play host to all manner of guests and have a magical link to the inns they guard/live in. These aren't your typical inns: they take in guests from across the galaxies, resulting in some very interesting moments. Dina, for example, has one permanent guest, Her Grace Caldenia ka ret Magren, a delightful older lady with a taste for Funyons and flesh who resides at the inn to avoid bounty hunters and galactic persecution. And Her Grace is only one of the interesting characters we meet in CLEAN SWEEP: there are also vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural beings. And the writers definitely make these species stand out from others in the genre. Werewolves, for example, were genetically engineered on a different planet and vampires are also extraterrestrials whose behaviours make humans believe they are undead. They also have a very unique reaction to caffeine!

There are associations and rankings for these inns, just like regular accommodations. Dina's a new Innkeeper and her inn had been neglected for some time so she's got the uphill battle in terms of reputation. An inn needs a strong reputation to attract guests, after all, and Gertrude Hunt (Dina's Inn) had been hibernating long enough to fall into disrepair. That, combined with Dina's newbie status, means that Gertrude Hunt only has two stars, and can't afford to lose any. Innkeepers have magic but their abilities are strongest at their inns and they weaken considerably off the grounds, which makes sense given that they are, y'know, innkeepers. :) Despite this, Dina is determined to face the unknown creature menacing Red Deer, Texas, even if it means venturing off inn grounds. And this is one of Dina's most endearing qualities: her strong sense of right and wrong, even when it puts her at risk. She's also clever, brave, and determined, traits characteristic of an Andrews' heroine. The men in CLEAN SWEEP are also well developed. Sean, the werewolf, is a Bad Boy through and through while Arland, a vampire, is more of a gentlemanly rogue. The e-book has some fantastic illustrations that really give you a good sense of the characters and I think they're a lovely addition to the novel.

Like all good stories, there are some questions left unanswered in CLEAN SWEEP. Dina mysteriously lost her parents while she was away at college -- we still don't know what happened to them, though I hope we'll find out as the Innkeeper Chronicles continue. Dina has two siblings we haven't met yet. We've only touched the tip of the Innkeeper world in CLEAN SWEEP and, given what I know of Andrews' writing, we can expect some amazing surprises in future instalments. I believe that they will be writing another free Innkeeper serial this year -- and I can't wait!

Read an excerpt


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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5 People left their mark' :

  1. Love your review! Buyt what caught my I was were you living! On the rock, I lived there to! But not in St. John's unfortunately I lived in a little town called King's Point.. When I went back in 2010 I got to see St. John's and fell in love! It's a beautiful city!

    Irene @ Ice Queen's Bookshelf

  2. I love Ilona Andrews writing; I need to make reading this novella a priority this year. Thanks for the review!

  3. It is absolutely lovely! Well, not right now because we've had 100cm of snow so far this winter but I've really enjoyed it since I moved here. I'm so glad to meet someone who shares my love for the island!

  4. You won't be disappointed!

  5. I wanted to follow the serial, but got distracted with life. I really want to get a copy of this. :) Glad you enjoyed it!