Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review: Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1)


Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles #1)Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles, #1
Published: December 2nd 2013
Publisher: NYLA
Format: Ebook, 235 pgs
Source: Bought
Buy: Amazon

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.
Clean Sweep was first published on Ilona Andrews’ website as a serialized online novel, entirely for free. Serial novels seem to be rapidly growing in popularity, but in many ways, Clean Sweep is still a novelty. What makes it different from other serial novels is the high level of reader–writer interaction. Since it was published by Ilona and Gordon themselves, on their website, and not by a big publishing house (St. Martin’s and Penguin in particular have taken to publishing serial novels), readers were allowed to comment and their comments were taken into consideration.

This type of writing had to have been extremely stressful for the authors since it doesn’t come with a rewind button. Once something is posted, it can’t be un-posted and if it later proves to be detrimental to the plot, they just have to find a way to work around it. On the other hand, since every part has to bring something of import, the pacing is tight and basically flawless.

Once again, Ilona and Gordon put their vast imaginations and their impressive knowledge on all things mythological to very good use. Clean Sweep is full of wonderful surprises, interesting (and horrifying) creatures, and faraway worlds. Theirs is not a worldbuilding done pro forma, it is thorough and quite remarkable.

Dina is an innkeeper, a young girl in charge of a magical inn. The inn is supposed to be neutral ground for all alien species, and it’s Dina’s job to keep everyone calm and safe. As the daughter of two innkeepers who have gone missing a few years back, Dina takes her job – and her neutrality – very seriously, but when something starts threatening her small community, she can’t stop herself from getting involved.

With pretty much everything about this book close to perfect, something somewhere had to have gone wrong… and it did, with the love triangle that somehow reared its ugly head. Admittedly, it’s not a real, fully developed, angsty LT. It’s pretty much clear who Dina wants to be with. But the very existence of it, no matter how mild, pretty much ruined the romance for me. And just like always, Ilona and Gordon chose to take their sweet time with Dina’s romantic interest; rushed relationships aren’t a part of their repertoire.

Book two has been announced for early 2014, published exactly the same way, with an extra person to moderate the comments. I needed Clean Sweep to wash away the bitter disappointment that was Magic Rises and to restore my faith in Ilona and Gordon – and lo and behold, that is exactly what it did.


22 comments:

  1. oh gosh so excited about this one, want to read it so much. Did not have a chance to yet, but right up my alley and so many wonderful reviews.

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  2. Man, that must be stressful, indeed. I think it would provide a lot of motivation and encouragement though :) Too bad about the love triangle, but if everything else is good, I can probably stand it. Great review!

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  3. I love the sound of an interactive writing. Brave souls, these authors. :) I think this could be a "JOY" read, regardless of the love triangle.

    Great review as always, luv.

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  4. I am so glad you reviewed this because I really want to read it, I missed it when it was on their website but I have heard virtually nothing about it.

    So glad you enjoyed it, I think I just might give in and buy it now.

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  5. Maja, like you I wasn't a fan of the latest Kate Daniels so I definitely need a solid read to restore my faith in Ilona Andrews as well. I'll definitely be picking this up soon and, despite the love triangle, it seems very promising. Fantastic review, dear!

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  6. I just ignored that extra lover dude. He wants it more than she does, anyway. Stick with the growly werewolf, I say!

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  7. I had no idea this started out as a free serial novel on their site where readers could weigh in! That's very cool and makes me want to read this book even more:) It's too bad about the love triangle, but you said it's not one that every really forms, so like Mary I think I might just be able to ignore the third player since Dina's choice is clear. So excited to read this Maja!

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  8. Aww, I'm sorry that you were disappointed with Magic Rises! I enjoyed it but I can see where you are coming from. I found a little too late about this one being serialized so I hope I can still find it to read on my Nook. I'm such a fan of these two authors that I'd really read anything by them.

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  9. I didn't know this was a serialized novel they'd published on their site. I haven't read many books by them (though I have met them!) but I really like their writing. This one sounds quite good, other then the love triangle. I think I can overlook it though. :)

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  10. I confess I don't like to read books in episodes but when it's a full novel it's a real pleasure to try them. So when this one was available, I took it immediatly, my first read different from the Kate Daniels I confess too and I just loved it. The ideas were awesome and I was really happy about it. Problem is that now I want a sequel now lol.

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  11. This is one of the authors I've heard of from your reviews and I have her books on my to-read list but I never got around reading it. I need to get to it soon. I know I'll enjoy it. I have no idea I can get this one so easily so I'm going to do that. Great review, Maja :)

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  12. I am getting ready to tackle a serial novel for my blog and I am eager. I had no idea that this was out there and it would have been fun to see it build Now I will have to get a copy and check it out. Glad it was satisfactory except for the damn love triangle. WHY WHY?

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  13. I'm still not sure if serials are for me, but I don't mind the finished book all in one. :) I do need to read this one. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much that it helped wash away your bad feelings with her other series (that actually made me more curious as to what happened...). I still haven't read her other series. I feel so behind!

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  14. You did not like Rises? Oh that one was awesome, but then I like Hugh ;)

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  15. Interesting! I've never read any of Ilona Andrews books - will have to put her on my "to try" list...

    Jen @ YA Romantics

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  16. I actually liked the broom and the inn more than the characters. :D

    Like you, I didn't enjoy the love triangle. Hopefully the focus would be more on Dina and her family in the next installment. Thanks for sharing!

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  17. What an interesting way to write a story!! I'm curious about this one; sounds like a good premise. The romance aspect sounds a bit annoying, but ah well, not too bad. Glad you liked this!

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  18. I think I need to catch up on the Kate Daniels series before I start anything else by these two, but this definitely sounds promising! It's a shame about the love triangle though. I can't see myself enjoying that either, mostly because I never do. I'm glad you enjoyed this otherwise, though. I have to say, I really dislike the cover. If it wasn't for all the good reviews, I probably wouldn't have noticed this one!

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  19. I love the concept of serial stories, and find the idea of incorporating reader feedback as the story progresses fascinating (though it sounds like an intimidating experience for the authors!) Glad this story worked so well and was so imaginative. It's a shame about the LT though! Hope you enjoy the next installment. Great review!

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  20. I had no clue that this existed (even when it was just a serial online). I felt so out of the loop! But more Ilona! Yay! You scare me with mention of a love triangle but I'm going to try to overlook it. Glad to see you enjoyed it. :)

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  21. I didn't get to read it when they serialized it, although I more than wanted too. Life gets crazy from time to time. But I do need to get a print of this to keep for all the days. :) Can't wait to get it. Thank you!

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  22. I zeroed in those two words LOVE TRIANGLE and immediately tuned this book out. Even if it's a minor element in an almost perfect book, as you say, I know it would still affect me big time. I'm going to wait for further books in this series to see where the romance goes, but I'm glad this book was mostly a hit for you.

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