Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “Whatever comes next, I’ll be there, because I want you more than anything I’ve ever wanted.”
Dina Demille, the owner of an intergalactic inn named the Gertrude Hunt, offers a neutral place to stay for all those in need. She started the inn after her parents vanished in the hopes that someday a guest would enter its doors and offer a clue to what happened to her parents. Having survived the hosting of a peace summit between three warring factions, Dina gained some much-needed respect as an innkeeper and friends. Hoping for a little peace and quiet in order to celebrate the holidays, Dina is not in the least bit surprised when alien refugees appear on her doorstep, asking for sanctuary. At the same time, she receives a note from her sister, asking for help. Struggling to keep her guests safe, rescue her sister, hide her activity from a nosy cop, and stop a diva chef from a full-scale meltdown…it’s all in a day’s work for an innkeeper.
As always, an Ilona Andrews story guarantees you are going to be swept up into a fabulous adventure as they continue to expand upon their clever world; layering it with new storylines, conflicts, and characters. An invigorating pace and witty narrative keep you engaged as the story unfolds, creating an atmosphere filled with humor, danger, and anticipation. Dynamic and well developed characters are in abundance and readers are offered a cornucopia of personalities that entertain.
Each installment in the Innkeeper Chronicles is originally written in serial form and posted on the Andrews’ blog for reading. Fans are given a ringside seat to the evolution of a story from start to finish. The compilation of the serial into novel form is where the magic occurs. The book is edited, beefed up, and fleshed out. While each story has a fully developed resolvable conflict and can be read as a stand alone, I don’t recommend as the arc is long reaching and continues to evolve along with the world and characters.
One Fell Sweep picks up a few days after the conclusion of Sweep in Peace. Familiar faces and on going situations grace the landscape. Lord Marshal Arland has arrived back at the inn, intent on taking a vacation to find the cause of his ennui. Sean is back and here to stay, allowing him and Dina a chance to concentrate on each other and their blooming relationship after the events in Sweep In Peace. Her Grace, Caldenia ka ret Magren is her usual unpredictable, slightly scary self while the premier & disgraced chef Orro continues to amaze and intimidate everyone with his culinary skills. A few new guests come seeking sanctuary and Dina embraces them all with the same intent-to protect and serve using whatever means necessary.
“Nobody threatens me or my guests. They don’t get to intimidate me, they don’t get to harm my family, and they don’t get to kill my guests. They need to learn what the word no means, and I’m going to teach them that lesson over and over until they get it.”
Family and tolerance are the themes on which this story is built. The Andrews tend to incorporate common social issues that beleaguer our own world into their stories. Racism, bigotry, and xenophobia are present and affect a rather large portion of the storyline. Parallels between our own political climate and the one in here have never been more apparent than when the Andrews introduce us to the Hiru. This alien race of peaceful beings are being exterminated by another race called the Draziri under the guise of religion. Unable to protect themselves and chased from one uninhabitable planet to another, a certain sneaky arbitrator with the gift of manipulation suggests Dina and her inn as a place to hide until they can gather the means for their one last hope of preservation.
He helped me rescue my sister. In turn, he hoped I would rescue the Hiru.
From the beginning of this series, we have watched Dina painstakingly build a life for herself despite having no family around her. Various people have come and stayed, creating the familial bond that Dina has unconsciously been longing for. Dina’s growth in this installment is stellar. Once part of a loving close family, time and some unusual circumstances has scattered them to four winds. Dina’s choice to follow in her parent’s footsteps as an innkeeper is telling. She is a born nurturer and protector. Intelligent, courageous, and able to fight when necessary, Dina embraces her destiny wholeheartedly.
“I will have to teach you humility.”
“You didn’t do your homework. This is my domain. Here I own the air you breathe.”
Packed with action, suspense, and intrigue, this world offers readers an exceptional fantasy with an engaging human connection. Humor and sorrow go hand in hand as the enormity of the galaxy and it’s inhabitants becomes apparent as the Andrews take us on a guided tour of the diversity that exists within it. From a mother’s uncompromising love of her child to a human cop’s strong sense of justice for all, we are shown that while every race has differences, perseverance comes through compassion, tolerance, and knowledge.
“Is this her?” Its voice soft, sad, and feminine. “This is her,” Sunset said. “This is Hope.”
The climatic ending leaves us elated with some plotlines but hovering right on the brink with others. Dina has triumphed over one more enemy with help from friends and allies but we are left with the feeling that this is just the beginning. I look forward to many more adventures with Dina. The Andrews only continue to grow as phenomenal storytellers and each new story further cement my status as a lifelong fan.