Title: The Innkeeper Chronicles Volume 1
Author: Ilona Andrews
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Publication date: May 31, 2017
Page count: 768
Genre: Urban Science Fiction/Fantasy
Rating: 4/5 stars!
Meet Dina Demille, a nice Texas gal who runs a seemingly ordinary, quaint B&B. But Dina’s inn is a magic, thinking entity; her fluffy Shih-tzu, Beast really is a beast; and her guests are the kind that no one on earth is supposed to know about: guests like a dethroned galactic tyrant with a massive bounty on her head, the Lord Marshal of a powerful vampire clan, and a displaced—and superhot—alpha-strain werewolf.
So don’t expect a normal stay…and don’t stand too close, or you may be collateral damage.
I used to read a lot of urban fantasy – for a few years, I read it almost exclusively. Needless to say, I got pretty burned out on the UF tropes. I continued to read my favorites (The Hollows by Kim Harrison, Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs), but I didn’t actively seek out new authors in the genre.
All this to say – I can’t believe I missed Ilona Andrews! I am so excited to have found this writing duo through this book (and SO excited that they have so many other books out for me to read!)
This book is an omnibus of three books: Clean Sweep, Sweep in Peace, and One Fell Sweep (as an Innkeeper, Dina has a magic broom, hence the punny titles). Each of the books was released serially and for free on the authors’ website; once each was complete, it was edited and repackaged as an ebook for sale (they currently run $4.99 each). I am desperate for news of when the next book will start being released!
These stories have a lot of humor and a lot of heart. I would often read funny passages aloud to my husband, and he giggled along with me. There is also a bit of romance, but it is not the focus of any book (there is no over-the-top hand-wringing angst, which I tired of in a lot of other UF series. I never wanted to smack Dina upside the head, bonus). But the real stars of the series are the characters. The cranky and overly-dramatic porcupine-like chef, the bloodthirsty, calculating yet charming Caldenia, requisite vampires and werewolves that somehow don’t fall into the usual pitfalls of those beings, the adorable Shih-tzu that guards the Inn, and the Inn itself – Gertrude Hunt is a mysteriously sentient being in her own right. Bottom line: if you enjoyed the Scooby gang vibe in Buffy or the found-family feels in Firefly or Guardians of the Galaxy, you will dig these books. Heartfelt and delightful are the words that most often spring to my mind.
And really, the whole series is worth reading for the alien chef’s take on Christmas alone.