Clean Sweep is the start of a new Urban Fantasy series by Illona Andrews, the husband and wife writing team responsible another series that places pretty highly on my favorites list. This one definitely tops that one, and I look forward to many more books to come.
Dina Demille is an Innkeeper, which sounds exactly like what it is. Except the clientele she draws from is a lot more intergalactic in scope. And the Inn itself has more in common with the T.A.R.D.I.S. then an earth hotel. Well, ok, not the time travel thing, but the shape changing, absolutely. At any rate, Dina is responsible for the Inn, and when someone starts murdering dogs in the neighborhood her in is located in she decides to start investigating. Even though that investigation breaks several of the neutrality laws of the Innkeepers.
I ate this up with a spoon and I’m begging for more. Oh, there are problems and some of them are rather large problems, but in general it’s just a fun novel that plays with the urban fantasy genre and all of it’s various clichés. For example vampires and werewolves are actually genetically modified humanoid aliens. Genetically compatible with earthlings, but not human either. It’s awesome. And while I feel that the story played a little loosely with ‘sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” I nonetheless loved every silly bit of it.
And as a bonus, I completely adore Sean, the werewolf love interest. My biggest issue with Illona Andrews Kate Daniels novels is that I despise Curran, the love interest in those novels. DESPISE HIM. So I am completely relieved that Sean manages to avoid the alpha-asshole traits I really hate in Curran. My one annoyance with his character is that Dina keeps calling him an unstable werewolf, when Sean is about as unstable as granite.
I am less interested in Arland, the vampire love interest, especially because at one point he mouthed off some gender essentialism bullshit, which I suspect I’m meant to find empowering.
“When a man takes up arms, he does so for many reasons. Sometimes to punish, sometimes to intimidate or frighten. But when a woman picks up a weapon, she means to kill.”
Never mind that Dina has her broomstick, which is a malleable weapon, and uses it for ALL those above reasons at some point in the book. It was an eye-rolling moment, and while it’s a character who says it and not the novel itself, it is indicative of the very subtle attitude of the authors that keep them from being my most favorite urban fantasy writers ever. I like them, and I enjoy their novels, but in general there are some very subtle sexist underpinnings about their works that annoy me.
However, high marks for this one. Which is a bit of a relief as I’ve been in a slump lately and was looking for something to remind me just how much I like reading.