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Sweep In Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles) (Volume 2) Paperback – October 22, 2015
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About the Author
New York Times Bestselling author Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.) Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Texas with their two children, three dogs and a cat. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge. You can read more about their work on their website: http://www.ilona-andrews.com
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Caldenia smiled. “A Quillonian chef. My dear, you shouldn’t have. Well, you should have months ago, but one mustn’t be petty. Finally. I shall be dining in a style to which I am suited. Fantastic. Does he have moral scruples? I am reasonably sure this summit will result in at least one murder, and I have never tasted an otrokar.”
I realize calling this fantasy is not fully accurate, but SF doesn't cover it. This is just awesome.
Sweep in Peace is book two of the Innkeeper Chronicles. This series works best in order as this one assumes the reader knows the characters and world building introduced in the earlier, Clean Sweep.
This one got off to a slow, but steady start and built up to a crisis point that was breathtaking and a real pageturner. During the build up, its a table setter time where details are important as is the time needed to get to know the three factions and the arbitrating team (this group will be familiar as minor crossover characters from the Edge series).
Dina has time to wonder about Sean the werewolf and about her parents and there is a sense of reflective sadness about it. I missed Sean's presence too because of the sparks and snappy dialogue the pair got up to in the earlier book. I never got bored, but I did feel the pace.
Caldenia the permanent guest and Orro the temperamental cook lend color and needed light-hearted balance to what can otherwise seem heavier on the atmosphere than the earlier book.
From my perspective, I felt this was a time when Dina's character was more revealed. Dina is one who needs control (goes back to losing her parents and also growing up in an inn when everyone, but the innkeeper is moving on) and that includes being in on the game plan so when she must stand to the side and watch George, the arbitrator, control the show, she seethes (and she has a point when things start to go down a certain way). Watching Dina cope with another mind more complex and cunning (and definitely more ruthless) than her own was actually what kept the slower, earlier pace from getting boring. In the first book, I felt she was a bit cocky because Sean knew nothing about the broad universe of alien worlds out there and she has the magic of the inn backing her of which she is also knowledgeable so she ran things in that adventure and even found amusement as Sean stumbled along. While this time around, what she knew and understood was not near good enough and she had to wrestle with that and then step up to play her role in the affair when the time came.
But that said, this book was not lacking in excitement. Dina had her usual skirmish with local human law enforcement suspicious of the goings on at the inn, there is a theft to solve and later a murder attempt not to mention warrior species out to kill each other while staying at the inn. The authors built things nicely to the point and delivered that intense finish.
I had to have this on audio after experiencing Renee Raudman narrating the first book. Soooo worth it. She delivers a magnificent performance of Dina and oh so many other unique and colorful characters let alone capturing the tone and emotions of the overall story and individual scenes.
I will be pressing on with this series and recommend it highly to sci-fi and urban fantasy lovers alike.
'Clean Sweep', the first book in this series, is a "stand-alone novel", yet one that lent itself easily to further stories. Being the story of an innkeeper and a magical, malleable inn catering to an alien clientele (in rural Texas-- go figure), it is easy to imagine more tales built around different guests, which is exactly what 'Sweep in Peace' turns out to be.
It is also easy to imagine it being completely derivative of the first book, which it isn't. Instead, and while using some of the light-hearted aspects of the first book that made it such a good read (poor Officer Marais!), this book is in many ways darker, as it touches on war and the roots of war.
Playing host to peace negotiations between alien vampires, bullies and merchants has never been so tricky but Innkeeper Dina Demille needs the guests and money to ensure her Inn thrives. Between finding a chef, keeping the suspicions of local law enforcement at bay and dealing with the Arbitrator who might not be whom he seems, Dina is in for some more trouble.
Fair warning, I love the wonderfully talented husband and wife team that authors the Ilona Andrews books and have pretty much read everything they have written. This is the second book in the Innkeepers Chronicles and starts up about 6 months after the finish of book one – Clean Sweep.
The book is fairly short, similar to Clean Sweep, at only 315 pages long and took me around 4.5 hours to finish. It has a decidedly darker tone that the first book with some violence, although nothing graphic.
The Gertrude Hunt Inn and Dina are playing hosts to three parties in a last gap arbitration to determine the rights of the planet Onetrikvasth IV, colloquially known as Nexus. These parties are:
• The Holy Cosmic Anocracy – think alien vampires and yes Arland is back!
• The Hope-Crushing Horde – rivals of the vampires, an alien warrior race
• The Merchants of Baha-Char – fluffy, cute fox like aliens to whom trade is everything
Nexus is rich in a substance called Kuyo that is prized for its application to improve a warrior’s strength, agility, recovery etc. The war has been raging for 20 Nexus years and each side has suffered devastating losses.
Dina is a wonderful main character and her empathy for each of the sides really stands out in this book. Her number one concern is for the welfare of her guests, even if they do make life difficult for her. We also see Arland again as one of the representatives of the vampires and while there is some mild flirtations from his side the story doesn’t revolve around the romance.
The supporting characters are wonderful too, I love Orro the Chef that Dina has to hire. He seriously needs to cook for me. The descriptions of his food still makes me drool. Caldenia is still the wonderfully droll but sadistic character I enjoyed in Clean Sweep and has some of the best lines in the book. We also see Officer Marais again and his suspicions about Dina and the Inn continue to grow.
For those of you who loved ‘The Edge’ series by Ilona Andrews you will be very happy to know that we get a glimpse of some of those characters, confirming that the two series are set in the same universe. I was always sad that there wasn’t more books as I loved the characters so being able to read about George, Jack, Gaston and Sophie made me very happy.
I found the plot in Sweep In Peace was a lot more suspenseful and the pacing was better than the first book. Unlike Clean Sweep I actually worried that Dina might not come out of the events completely unscathed. There is also a nice plot twist towards the end of the book that took me a little by surprise, but in a good way. Whilst the world building continues and the characters are getting more fleshed out I still feel that there is a lot more growth to be made. The conclusion manages to tie up a couple of plot points but still leaves plenty of material for the authors to use for future stories.
I enjoyed the second installment of the Innkeeper Chronicles and am looking forward to book 3. The characters are well written and the plot has a touch of whimsy thrown into the mystery. It’s not a book I got completely engrossed in, rather a book I enjoyed but didn’t mind putting it down occasionally to deal with real life. If you enjoyed book 1, Clean Sweep, or anything else that Ilona Andrews has written you will like Sweep In Peace.