Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sophia Rose Reviews The Innkeeper Chronicles by Ilona Andrews

It's time for another guest review by Sophia Rose. Today she early reviews Ilona Andrews upcoming, The Innkeeper Chronicles Books 1-3.

The Innkeeper Chronicles Volume One by Ilona Andrews
#1-3 The Innkeeper Chronicles
Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fiction
Publisher: Subterranean
Published: 5.31.17
Pages: 768
Rating: 5
ISBN 13: 978-1596068360
Format: eARC
Source:  Net Galley
Sellers: AmazonBarnes& Noble

GoodReads Blurb:
Meet Dina Demille, a nice Texas gal who runs a seemingly ordinary, quaint B&B.  But Dina’s inn is a magic, thinking entity; her fluffy Shih-tzu, Beast really is a beast; and her guests are the kind that no one on earth is supposed to know about:  guests like a dethroned galactic tyrant with a massive bounty on her head, the Lord Marshal of a powerful vampire clan, and a displaced—and superhot—alpha-strain werewolf.

So don’t expect a normal stay…and don’t stand too close, or you may be collateral damage….

In Clean Sweep, Dina—with the unwanted assistance of newcomer (and alpha werewolf) Sean Evans and Arland, a cosmic vampire soldier—takes on an extraterrestrial killing machine that could destroy her Inn, her neighbors, and everything she holds dear.

Sweep in Peace, finds Dina hosting an anything-but peace summit between three warring intergalactic species; Space Vampires, the Hope-Crushing Horde, and the devious Merchants of Baha-char. 

One Fell Sweep sends Dina to the galaxy’s worst penal colony to rescue her sister; and back home to fend off a clan of assassins in pursuit, all while saving a guest’s civilization from annihilation…and searching for her missing parents.

Sophia's Review

I was already a fan of the author team's Kate Daniels series and then discovered they had a whole lot more for me to love when I took up this series next.  I had never encountered such a fun, exciting blend of Urban Fantasy and Sci-Fi Romance that balanced a complex and layered group of elements so well.  There is literally something for everyone.

What utterly fascinated me about this volume of stories is that it has its origins (and continues to do so) as a series of on-line installments on the authors' blog.  I would have never guessed this was a plot on the fly serial piece.  Unlike regular novel writing, there are no second chances when you write yourself into a corner.  Talk about sheer talent, right?

The world of The Innkeeper Chronicles is probably one of the most captivating I've encountered.  You don't get many sentient inter-dimensional inns or heroines who are innkeepers in the sci-fi and UF world, but it really is a perfect launch pad for a colorful, action-packed intense series.  The inn is a way station at a cross roads for other worlds and other dimensions allowing for myriads of adventures and stories. 

That said, there are foundation elements that drive the series arc.  Dina is the center of everything.  The reader is introduced to her as the main character in Clean Sweep.  Several facts are learned about her namely that she is a second generation innkeeper (which is much more complex role than it seems at first glance) and as an adult she is still dealing with the tragic disappearance of her parents and the loss of her two siblings when they scattered into the galaxy pursuing their own goals.  But, Dina is a mystery in and of herself.  She is slowly revealed as the series progresses.  Her personality, motives, and actions begin to make better sense as it goes along.  Dina needs to be in control after all that came before which she could not control and this drives everything.  Through her encounters with Sean and others, she is faced with her issues and must either learn to let other people into her heart and let them help her or go it alone and likely fail.

Sean the werewolf is a great catalyst for making things happen and also the source of several exciting fight and battle scenes.  And, oh, by the way, he is one sexy male that Dina definitely find irresistible and believe me, she tries.  He had no idea about his own race and his nature so he's learning as he goes.  He has the job of finding himself and also getting through Dina's emotional barriers so she'll trust him and let him partner her in their adventures.

Beyond Sean, Dina is surrounded by a colorful and eclectic cast of characters.  There is Caldenia the permanent guest at the inn because she is the galaxy's Public Enemy Number One for her bloody and numerous exploits.  The way she views the world makes me laugh in that uneasy sort of way that apex predators can cause when they are perfectly series about their cannibalistic and homicidal tendencies.  Then there is Dina's dog, Beast, who is a lot more than she seems.  Officer Morace, the hardworking put upon human cop who just knows there is something odd going on at the Gertrude Hunt B&B and he will get to the bottom of it thank you very much.  Arland the devilishly handsome vampire marshal of his clan who lives to fight like the berserker Vikings of old.  A drama-llama alien chef who panics if he has to serve a meal late (and whatever you do, don't mention the 'P' word as in poison around him).  And let's not forget the Inn itself needing guests vitally so it will flourish.

The three books, Clean Sweep, Sweep in Peace, and One Fell Sweep, in this first volume offer three exciting and action-packed adventures.  Each is more furious and compelling than the last.  The first book has the job of introducing the world, the characters, and the series arc though it also presents and exciting adventure, book two picks up a little while later after the dust settles and Dina is faced with quite the challenge hosting a peace summit between three combative groups with warring agendas and a negotiator who has his own end-game going.  Book three finally showcases some of Dina's family, a new lethal challenge for Dina to protect her guests that forces Dina to confront some personal nightmares as well.

There is mystery, humor, camaraderie, and romance packed in around the excitement.  I just love when things get so dire that I have no idea how Dina and the rest will pull out a win, but then it happens in a fantastic twist leaving me breathless after tearing through the pages like a mad-woman.

On a side note, I noticed that this volume is a 'hardcover limited edition', but I read an electronic ARC so I'm uncertain what features are added beyond a page of remarks from the author about the origin of the series, the three stories themselves, and each story separated by the fantastic cover art for each book.

All in all, this is an abso-fab creative, action-packed, humorous, mysterious, and entirely delightful Urban Fantasy- Sci-Fi blend that I whole-heartedly recommend to others who are looking for a new series to love.
Individual Covers

Authors’ Bio:
Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. author2sm“Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Oregon with their two children, three dogs and a cat. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge.

Sophia’s Bio:
Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.
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  1. Sophia Rose I have been eyeing up this series and wondering about it. I have the first one in my wish list at Audible so now I think it won't be too long before I push the buy button after reading your review.

    1. Oh neat, Kathryn! Glad I could give you a better idea if you wanted to read it or not. Hope you do b/c they're great. :)

    2. Kathryn I think she may have finally got me into this author combo :)

  2. You already know how much I freakin love this series, although I listen. I do love how all the books are in one collection. I may just get this for my collector shelf :)

    1. great idea Kim. I'm hoping they make the collection book in audible too then I'm all in!

    2. Kimberly!!! You are the one who got me hooked. I can't thank you enough. I was jazzed to snag this review opportunity so I could read all three together. :) I've also got the audios because I love Renee Raudman's narration.

  3. I so love this series. I listen to the audiobooks (because, Renee Raudman!!). I think this might be their most interesting story. I love the idea of a sentient inn and an innkeeper with powers. I love all the characters. So much fund. Great review.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

    1. Wow Melanie thanks it just got moved up my list :)