I’d like to thank @SubPress for this ARC provided via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest opinion.
The Innkeeper Chronicles is a voluminous omnibus of 3 already published books : Clean Sweep, Sweep in Peace and One Fell Sweep. I was very excited for this one, being an unconditional lover of the Kate Daniels series and of the Andrews’ storytelling and humor. Unfortunately, it didn’t compare to my favorite UF series of all times. This doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it, I definitely did, immensely! But it made me frequently roll my eyes and I’ll explain why below.
Most of the action takes place in Gertrude Hunt, a seemingly ordinary, although quaint, B&B. Dina is an innkeeper with incommensurable magical powers on the inn’s grounds and her mission is to accommodate and protect alien hosts from all over the galaxy, while keeping their existence secret to
Muggles earthlings !
We had only two concerns : keeping our guests safe and keeping them hidden. We stayed neutral and we didn’t get involved.
All the stunning illustrations included in this review belong to Doris (Disanthus.com), who made the covers and art of the 3 books.
Intrigued ? Well you definitely should be because despite its flaws, this book was a weird and fascinating mixture of fantasy, Sci-Fi, Paranormal and Urban Fantasy, juggling myths, magic, futuristic and alien technologies and extraterrestrial and mythological creatures (with a special mention for the vampires and werewolves representation here).
I won’t review each installment individually, since I might end up spoiling some details so I’ll rather list the things I absolutely loved and those that worked less for me.
✓ The story was gripping and kept me intrigued until the last page. It was filled with humor and absurd situations and a few amazing secondary characters : Caldenia and her creepy and sarcastic observations, Orro and his Shakespearean-drama, Helen, both cute and disturbing…
“Sometimes to stop something this terrible, you have to do something equally terrible in return at a great personal cost, and that terrible thing can’t be done by one of the principals in this conflict. They must be able to walk away clean.”
✓ The worldbuilding was one of the most interesting I ever read and though most of the story took place on Earth, the book introduced us to numerable planets from different galaxies (with a distinct Star Wars touch). The places and creatures inhabiting them were vivid and colorful and larger than life(special mention for Baha –Char, the “galactic bazaar”)!
✓ The inn !!! This was one of the most brilliant, fascinating and fun places I visited in fiction! Vaguely reminiscent of Hogwarts with its secrets and auto-remodeling abilities, the inn is almost a character in its own right!
Without guests, it would fall dormant trying to conserve energy and when that happened, an inn decayed and fell apart just like any other house.
✓ The artwork: The illustrations included in this book were a great bonus ! They were absolutely gorgeous and gave an accurate idea about how the characters and some places should look like.
Stuff that didn’t work for me
✘ The romance was an utter letdown for me. I love the way the Andrews usually weave their romances but here I just felt no chemistry. The first premises came out of nowhere and the rest of it was more disappointing, unsubtle and awkward than charming.
✘ Some flashbacks stories were totally pointless. It made the story (and my mind at the same time) wander and didn’t add anything relevant to the story or the characters’ background or development.
✘ The writing was problematic for me. While the prose was good, the writing had a lot of flaws: lots of repetitions, info dump and insane amounts of description made me fast-forward at times. The metaphors and comparisons weren’t always very well turned neither. One reason is probably the fact that the Andrews started writing this story as a fun experience, publishing a few chapters online every week. Consequently, no changes could be made once those chapters were released. Too bad because with more editing and modifications, this book would have been absolutely great !
✘ The male characters ! LOL Well actually I don’t really have an issue with them, more with the way they are described. I feel like the UF genre is afflicted with the same stereotypes. Male characters need to be handsome and attractive, half of them bordering on beautiful, the others hot and muscled and almost invincible…
✘ Dina’s magic seem unlimited when she’s on the inn’ grounds. There is no explanation as how it works and there is always the right magic tool or magic ability to each dreary situation.
“I asked him if he was leaving anyone behind. He said he’d met a girl with stardust on her robe, and when he looked into her eyes, he saw the universe looking back.”
I was very conflicted about this book ! Though I really enjoyed it, I just couldn’t overlook the flaws I mentioned and that made the read equally frustrating and enthralling! Lovers of KD, don’t go into this book expecting the same amount of sass and emotions but know however that you’ll come across some of the most creative and engaging settings and a bunch of interesting and funny characters. I’m so looking forward to the next installments because the series has a lot of potential !
Cleen Sweep: 7/10
Sweep in Peace: 6/10
One Fell Sweep: 8/10
Review by Haïfa.
Read in May 2017.