It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve posted a novel review. While I’m vastly enjoying this Disney Animated feature blog series, it’s slowing down my reading quite a bit. Normally it would take me 2 or 3 days at most to read a book like this, especially from an author I’ve come to be a fan of, but this one took me a bit over a week to finish. Not because I didn’t enjoy it mind you.
One Fell Sweep, written by husband and wife writing team under the name Ilona Andrews (Gordon and Ilona Andrews), is the third book in the Innkeeper Chronicles. The basic premise of the series is that Dina DeMille runs a magically powered, intergalactic inn on Earth. In addition to keeping her guests safe, she needs to keep the galaxy’s culture a secret from humanity at large. It’s a mix of science fiction and fantasy. It’s more fantasy than sci-fi, but the series seems to be moving more toward the sci-fi half of that with each book. That’s not a bad thing.
It’s an interesting project as well. Each chapter is released on their website one at a time, only partially edited. Once the book is complete, they finish editing it and release it on paperback in full. This experiment seems to be going well so far.
In One Fell Sweep, Dina is given a very risky task that actually takes her a while to accept. She’s taking care of an endangered species that’s trying to rebuild their race and find a new home, while a theocratic bird-like race is trying to hunt down and kill them all. In exchange, she’ll could get a huge lead on finding her missing parents, who disappeared without a trace years ago. What follows is a pretty intense story involving Dina’s werewolf love interest, Sean, a regular vampire warrior guest, Arland, and her recently reunited sister, Maud.
Their fight with the theocratic birds gets increasingly dangerous as time goes on, leading to several major characters nearly sacrificing their lives in different ways. It’s hard to say specifically how without explaining too much, because part of the fun with these books is learning how Dina’s world works as you read it. One particularly interesting aspect is the life bond innkeepers experience with their sentient inns.
In the meantime, there are a lot of great character moments. Sean and Dina’s relationship grows naturally. They care a lot about each other, but they argue from time to time. Sean’s tactical instincts are very strong, and it takes Dina a bit too long to realize that. At the same time, Sean doesn’t fully understand Dina’s emotional based drive, nor is he very trusting of Arland at first. Considering Arland has shown a romantic interest in Dina in the past, it’s understandable. It also takes a while for Dina and Maud to get re-acquainted. Dina felt like Maud abandoned her after their parents disappeared, while Maud’s suffered quite a bit with a now dead husband, among many other things. She’s emotionally distant and slow to trust when she first shows up. As the book goes on, everyone grows closer until the main cast feels like one big family, each caring about everyone else in their own way.
Although this series isn’t as good as Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series, it’s an easy recommendation for those who enjoy it. The book is delightfully weird and it features likeable characters with diverse personalities. The action is exciting, with fun use of language and the right amount of tension for the book’s overall mood. The conclusion is satisfying, while also giving us a great teaser for where the Innkeeper Chronicles will go in the future. If you’re looking for a delightfully weird book that combines fantasy and science fiction, this is worth checking out. You can read the first few chapters of each book at this website.