Title: The Innkeeper Chronicles Volume One (contains Clean Sweep, Sweep in Peace, and One Fell Sweep)
Author: Ilona Andrews
Price: 99 cents (limited time sale)
Dina Demille is an innkeeper. Symbiotically bonded to the living inn, Gertrude Hunt, she looks after those alien guests who are passing through on their way somewhere else, or who are on vacation, or who have sought sanctuary … or who desperately need her help to avert a war or save a species that has been hunted nearly to extinction. Initially alone, with only the Gertrude Hunt to help her, Dina gradually collects a motley assortment of friends and allies, including a vampire knight, a gigantic hedgehog chef, a former galactic tyrant with a taste for eating her enemies, a clever vulpine merchant, and a werewolf who just might be the love of her life … if she lives long enough to tell him ….
I discovered The Innkeeper Chronicles in 2013, right after the first book was released. I devoured the following volumes as soon as they were published. I had expected the series to only be a trilogy, so I was very happy when a fourth book, Sweep With Me, was released in early 2020.
The Innkeeper Chronicles is pretty much everything I want in a science fiction/fantasy series. An intelligent, compassionate, and driven heroine. A devoted and seriously badass hero who more than proves worthy of her. Galactic political machinations, fantastic species of all varieties, cool technology, awe-inspiring magic, and a semi-sentient building/tree/alien being with roots that connect it to different planets and even different dimensions.
This is one of those series where science and technology and magic are virtually interchangeable. Dina regularly uses an Einstein-Rosen Bridge (a wormhole, gateway, portal) to travel to the bazaar world of Baha-char. The Gertrude Hunt can warp physics and bend space-time because it exists on a level of reality barely even suspected by Earth-bound scientists.
In a universe of such breath-taking variety, an uncounted number of spiritual traditions exist, and Dina treats them all respectfully. The vampires of the Holy Anocracy worship a Goddess. The Ku practice a form of animism and sympathetic magic, carving images of their enemies and allies for purposes of cursing and healing. The vulpine-like Merchants venerate their ancestors; to not have ancestors to honor or descendants to honor you, in turn, is the worst possible fate imaginable to a Merchant. (Not to say that every iteration of religious expression is respected. In One Fell Sweep, the Draziri are hunting the Hiru to extinction, because to kill even one guarantees their entire clan a place in heaven.)
Oh, and did I mention Beast? Dina’s shih-tzu is basically the canine equivalent of a flerken.
The collected volume won’t be on sale for very long. Grab it while you can, or download it from the library. If you prefer physical books, every volume is available in paperback at prices ranging from $8.99 on up.
Highly recommended to fans of Ilona Andrews’ other series, as well as fans of Thea Harrison’s Elder Races series, K.D. Edwards’ The Tarot Sequence, Zoe Archer’s The Blades of the Rose, Lindsey Buroker’s Fallen Empire, Jessa Slade’s Sheerspace, and Anna Hackett’s Phoenix Adventures.
[Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine, Eternal Haunted Summer. A complete list of her publications can be found there.]