Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “Watch me as I end your universe.”
Dina DeMille is not your typical innkeeper. Part of an intergalactic bed and breakfast coalition, she caters to guests whose special needs require that extra special touch. When she is approached to host a peace summit between three of the galaxy’s most dangerous species, she knows she is going to regret it but her livelihood and the inn itself is in need of an influx of guests and money.
Keeping her guests alive proves harder than Dina ever imagined as everyone has their own secret agenda and no one is able to take the first step towards stopping a conflict that has been ongoing for centuries. Between rampaging vampires, the uncooperative Horde, and deceptive merchants; she also has to deal with a diva like chef, a nosy cop, and possibly save the life of a man she may love…by giving up her own.
Fans of Ilona Andrews and their On The Edge series will be happy to see some familiar faces in the second book in their self published series that focuses on a young woman whose struggles to survive lead her into an epic adventures fraught with suspense, humor, danger, and a smattering of romance. The Innkeeper Chronicles were originally published as serials, free of charge, on the Andrews’ blog. Book one, Clean Sweep, is the set up book for this world. We are introduced to Dina DeMille and given her backstory. You don’t have to read Clean Sweep in order to enjoy Sweep In Peace but it would help you to fully understand the characters, the world, and certain scenes in this installment.
Dina’s parents were innkeepers until they and their inn abruptly disappeared one day. Dina and her brother searched all the galaxies for their parents with no results. Dina decided to open her own inn, the Gertrude Hunt, hoping that someday a guest will walk her halls, see a picture of her parents and recognise them. As an unestablished inn owner, she is the last on the list for guests to use. When an Arbitrator comes to her, asking to use her inn for a peace summit in order to negotiate peace between three warring factions (the Otrokars aka the Hope Crushing Horde, the Holy Cosmic Anocracy, and the Merchants), she seriously considers accepting the challenge, knowing this could be a huge win for her or a total loss.
“There was an attempt to broker peace between the Otrokars & the Holy Cosmic Anocracy during their ten year conflict.”
“Yes, I am familiar with it.”
“Then you also know how it ended.”
“I believe the patriarch of the House of Jero lunged at the Otrokar Khan, & the Khan beheaded him.”
“He ripped the patriarch’s head off with his bare hands and then proceeded to the beat the Marshal of the House of Jero to death with it.”
“Well, this venture could be viewed as risky…”
From this moment on you are swept away on a high octane adventure as the Andrews continue to expand and evolve this cleverly fluid new world; layering it with new storylines, conflicts, and faces. Fast pacing keeps you engaged as the story unfolds, maintaining a fine wire edged balance between the humor and sorrow that permeates the pages. We are shown the price war has on families and friends and how hard it is to step away from the battlefield when you have nothing left to defend but your memories. Dynamic well-developed characters are in abundance and offer readers a cornucopia from which to cheer and jeer. We met a battle-hardened general whose only thought is for her last living son. We meet a knight in shining armor who has learned that fairy tales don’t exist all he has left is his grief. We meet a man who will do the unthinkable to see his family survive. Each of these people want peace so desperately you can taste it but are unable to figure out a way to do so without condemning themselves and their people in the process. Lucky for them, they have Dina.
“I’ve found awe tends to cut down on revolts.”
Dina is a breath of fresh air in Urban Fantasy where too often the main protagonist’s own story is a weight that the reader bears while reading. While Dina has her own problems, she carries no real baggage that impedes her emotional or mental growth. Intelligent, witty, and fast on her feet, her no-nonsense attitude is the stabilizer on which the story is built. Not one to tolerate any misbehavior in her home, watching her handle her guests provided much laughter.
“I am glad the rooms were to your liking, Under-Khan. Unfortunately, I must ask you to depart, so the Marshal of House Krahr can inspect the quarters of his people.”
“And if I insisted on staying?”
“Then I’ll seal your body in wood, so all you can do is breathe, and use you as a lawn ornament.
What I adore about this heroine and the Andrews writing in general is they appear to have found the magic formula that enables them to balance the conflict with the emotion without succumbing to trite plotlines or made up controversy.
Getting to see Jack, George, and Lark (On the Edge series) again was a gift I didn’t expect but so happy to have received. The changes in them are rather complicated and I can only wish we had been able to experience them growing up in order to understand why they are like they are now. Especially George. Sean and Armand revisit, though if you’re hoping for a clear resolution to that situation, you’re out of luck. And of course my favorite guest of all-Her Grace, Caldenia ka ret Magren. A ruthless predator whose actions in the past have left her in need of the inn’s sanctuary. Her love for Mello Yello and Funyuns is at odds with her diabolical nature.
She liked him, so she was torturing him. Her Grace in a nutshell.
The end is a roller coaster ride of such dramatic twists and turns it would have left Machiavelli in awe. While the Andrews don’t make Dina’s journey easy at all, they do make it an exciting ride that further solidifies their reputation as fantastic storytellers who only seem to improve with each new adventure.
I am definitely looking forward to more Innkeeper Chronicles in the future.