Maud Demille is a daughter of Innkeepers—a special group who provide ‘lodging’ to other-planetary visitors—so she knows that a simple life isn’t in the cards. But even Maud could never have anticipated what Fate would throw at her.
Once a wife to a powerful vampire knight, Maud and her young daughter, Helen, were exiled with him for his treachery to the desolate, savage planet of Karhari. Karhari killed her husband, and Maud—completely abandoned by his family—has spent over a year avenging his debts. Rescued by her sister Dina, she’s sworn off all things vampire.
Except… In helping Dina save the world, she met Arland, the Marshal of House Krahr, one of the most powerful vampire houses. One thing led to another and he asked for her hand in marriage. She declined. Arland is not used to hearing the word ‘no;’ and try as she might, Maud can’t just walk away from Arland. It doesn’t help that being human is a lot harder for Maud than being a vampire.
To sort it all out, she accepts his invitation to visit his home planet. House Krahr is extremely influential and Maud knows that a woman—a human, with a very questionable past—who’s turned down a proposal from its most beloved son won’t get a warm reception. Maybe she’s not sure about marrying Arland, but House Krahr isn’t going to decide for her. Maud Demille has never run from a fight, and House Krahr will soon discover that there’s a lot more to Maud than they’re expecting.
“A human goes off to walk the Lantern Vigil, while my cousin the Marshal stays home to babysit,” Karat said. “I realize now why I have never fallen in love. I’m entirely too sane for that nonsense.”
After I got over my initial hesitation over the fact that the main character of Sweep of the Blade is not Dina, but her sister Maud, I really, really liked this. I don’t know how it is, but Ilona Andrews always manages to write books featuring a new character that I end up loving, but initially don’t want to read about because I love the original main character. It is amazing.
Sweep of the Blade picks up with some events we already know about, but from Maud’s perspective this time. Which kind of made for a little bit of a slow start. Even though I appreciated Maud’s take on things, while also giving a bit more context from her side of things, it still felt like repeating story we already knew.
It wasn’t until we got into the new stuff that I really started falling in love with this book and these characters. Maud is human, who just got out of what I would class as an abusive marriage to a vampire. She loved him and he took advantage of this, while also letting his family parade Maud around like a sideshow to their friends. Before he got them exiled to another, resource poor, world and getting himself killed. Now she doesn’t even want to have another relationship with a vampire ever again.
Except that Maud and Arland, the Marshal of House Krahr and one of the most powerful vampires, have an instant connection to one another. Arland is everything her first husband was not: loyal, powerful, a good guy, has a great sense of duty but also knows how to just chill out and be a person. Also, he knows how to be a father to her daughter. Maud decides even though Arland has none of her husband’s bad qualities, she isn’t going to get herself into the same position before. She will not accept Arland’s marriage proposal – not until she can find a way to be useful to his family first.
I really loved the dynamics between Maud and Arland. I love that neither one of them are just starting out in their adult lives. They’ve lived through so much already, and now they have found each other. I also love that neither of them are in a position of relative ignorance. They both know everything that is going on. The only difference is that Arland is high up in the vampire power structure (really, really high up), and Maud is..not. But she is working on shortening that distance, even before she agrees to date him.
As much as I loved reading about Maud and Arland, I was really hoping to be done with them after this book. I feel like their story has been told in full. And this series is named The Innkeeper Chronicles. I thought it would stay with Dina entirely. But after the ending, I’m not certain we’re done with her. And I’m a bit disappointed. I loved the ending in all regards until the very last moment, where it kind of ends on a very small cliffhanger. With one line, all of a complete story got reopened.