Finished Date: January 3rd, 2014
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #1
My Rating: 4/5
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My first Ilona Andrews book and it's pretty not bad! I have never read anything like this before, and that made CLEAN SWEEP a refreshing and exciting read. Judging from the cover I was expecting Fantasy, but it turned out to be URBAN fantasy. I was in the mood for some fantasy, but this turned out to be an unexpectedly-fortunate mistake.
Dina is an innkeeper, and that means she has magical abilities and she's strongest when she's within the boundaries of her inn. Innkeepers have a sort of connection to their inns that allows the inn to respond to commands and comments from their keepers. They're sort of like a really loveable pet dog - the inns, I mean. Inns thrive with the flow of customers and guests, so with good business, the inn becomes stronger; Too little or no guests will cause an inn to go into hibernation.
Dina's parents were innkeepers that run a thriving inn, with a booming business and top ratings, a whopping five-stars. A highly-rated inn will be reflected in the directory and that tells customers that it is safe and guarantees quality. Dina's learnt the ropes and is pretty familiar with the codes and etiquettes that comes with being an innkeeper. However, about three years ago, her parents and their inn vanished without a trace and her brother and her had spent a few years attempting to find clues to their disappearance but to no avail. She decided to settle down and The Innkeeper Assembly allocated to her Gertrude Hunt, an inn that went into hibernation years ago.
With time, patience and lots of TLC, she slowly coaxes Gertrude Hunt out of its slumber and even have a permanent guest, the eccentric but elegant Her Grace Caldenia who has a thing for Funyuns and Mello Yello...and who's cannibal too. Anyway, it's all peaceful until her neighbor's dogs start to turn up at public places grotesquely mauled that Dina starts to investigate. Innkeepers are neutral ground, and that means staying out of anything that does not directly threaten their inns and their customers. But Dina can't just stand by and let this...whoever it is start killing and threatening the lives of the people in her town.
In walks Sean Evans, ex-military and resident werewolf who just moved into town a few months back. When their town is threatened, werewolves usually feel the need to protect it and establish their claim on the town. Then the Marshal of vampire house Krar, Arland, from some other planet drops by too claiming that the one responsible was a wanted criminal from their planet. And so Dina will have to work with two very big, bad, infinitely stubborn and protective dudes to save their little town.
I want to be an innkeeper too, dammit! This writing-duo made Clean Sweep such an adorable and fun read that I just want to be a part of their imaginary world for just awhile.
Dina is a very relatable character. She might not be kickass, but she has a broom that can change shape when she sends her magic into it, a Shih Tzu that isn't really a Shih Tzu but is still plenty cute and an inn that can send out roots to hold down attackers and wield guns to help defend itself and Dina. Then there's the cool, calm and gorgeous werewolf, Sean, and reserved, mysterious and muscular vampire, Arland. I wouldn't say that they were terribly unique love interests in the UF genre, buuuut they do provide comic relief that's for sure. (Watch out for Arland with coffee, hahaha. Vamps have this funny reaction when they ingest caffeine)
CLEAN SWEEP is a short, light and fun novella with just the right amount of humor, action and good ol' UF mystery. The ending provided enough closure, but I sense so much more adventure coming our way. CLEAN SWEEP was originally published free at this website, chapter by chapter each week, and it's been announced that they're doing it again for the sequel starting early 2014. I'll probably wait for the final copy of the book cause I prefer to read my books in one shot. I'll definitely be checking out the Andrews' other works in the mean time though!