On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, “normal” is a bit of a stretch for Dina.
And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night…Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.
He glanced at my broom, amused. “What are you doing here, all alone?”
This was reminding me of Red Riding Hood. If he asked what was in my basket, he would regret it. “I’m not alone. I have my broom.”
Clean Sweep is an amusing start to a series that is not easily classified. I enjoy reading it a lot, and the unique nature of the way the series is built is a source of endless fun and new ideas. The main character is also fun, with a variety of interesting characters around her. I just liked this book.
This is the start of the story of Dina Demille. She owns a magical Inn and she is the Innkeeper. She grew up in another Inn, to two Innkeeper parents. She is running Gertrude Hunt Inn, in a small town in Texas, not only because she is passionate about it, but because her parents, and their Inn, are missing and she hopes to one day find them.
Clean Sweep is a pretty simple story. Simple as in there isn’t a lot of depth to it. Someone, some thing in the neighborhood is killing dogs, and they may move up to people. As an Innkeeper, Dina isn’t really supposed to be getting involved with anything like this. Her first, and only, duty is to protect the Inn. So she implores to the hot neighborhood werewolf to do something about it.
This book does flip quite a few of the major tropes. Like for once, the main character is the super knowledgeable person. Sean, the werewolf, is the stand-in for the reader, as he doesn’t know the extent of the world to which he belongs. Everything is broken down more into the science realm than the magical realm. Which is odd for a story about a magical innkeeper. Werewolves were genetically engineered and have a type of nano that assists them. The enemy of the werewolf isn’t actually the Vampire, but a werecat race that back-engineered themselves from the werewolves. The werewolf and the vampire just don’t get along because they like the same girl. And Sean is a little bit of a prick.
Also, the vampire gets drunk on coffee, and it is hilarious.
Ilona Andrews excels at things that just don’t quite fit anywhere. Is this urban fantasy? Yes and no. There is “magic”, but it is more science-based. And there are the typical paranormal creatures – but they’re aliens. Is it science fiction? Yes, but all the tropes are more towards the fantasy end than the science fiction end of things. Sci-fi is more about exploration, typically through change. And that isn’t exactly what happens here. Is it urban sci-fi? Doesn’t really exist, wish it did. I love this shit. Is it romance? Well, there is a love triangle. So kind of, but again, not really. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone looking for an actual romance because it just doesn’t really do that the way romance readers will expect.
This is just a mashup of everything the authors love. This is a passion project. They knew it would be a hard sell to publishers so they went straight to self-published instead. They love this story, so they write it. And they write it the way they want to. Even if that means not fitting in. And I love it.
There is a lot more that I could talk about. Like Dina’s Shih Tzu, Beast. Who is not a normal dog at all. Or the hilariously violent, royal guest of the Inn who is there permanently because her people want her dead. Can’t imagine why.
But at the end of the day, Clean Sweep is kind of just of a collection of really fun, interesting, and oftentimes amusing ideas. Which is why I liked it, but I didn’t love it. I wouldn’t go so far to say it is disjointed, but it doesn’t always read cleanly, either. What it does do is set up the world of the series, and it does that well.