The Innkeeper Chronicles, Volume One, Ilona Andrews (Subterranean Press 978-1-59606-836-0, $75.00, 773pp, hc) May 2017. Cover by Doris Mantair.
An inn for otherworlders visiting Earth takes center stage in this thoroughly entertaining omnibus collecting Andrews’s first three novels in the Innkeeper Chronicles series: Clean Sweep, Sweep in Peace, and One Fell Sweep. (All three were originally published as serials on Andrews’s website, then self-published.) Despite this volume’s considerable heft, it’s fast, fun reading as we follow Innkeeper Dina Demille, who’s trying to run a magical B&B in suburban Texas, aided by special powers and access to and knowledge of the greater Galaxy – but a big part of the job is keeping all that secret from the people of Earth. Dina’s worried about keeping the inn going, since most of the time her only guest is Caldenia, a wanted galactic tyrant, who’s wise, classy, vicious, and likes to eat sentient beings. In Clean Sweep, something is killing local dogs, and Dina’s the only one who knows the problem is extraterrestrial in origin. Luckily, she gets unexpected help dealing with the problem from a neighbor, Sean Evans, who turns out to be a werewolf – one who’s ignorant of his own people’s offworld origins. Then there’s the vampire warrior Arland, who finds Dina attractive, and joins in the hunt for an extraterrestrial killer. Sweep in Peace brings in George and Jack from the Edge series, in an intriguing crossover. George is now an Arbitrator, resolving disputes in the Greater Beyond and preventing interstellar wars, and he wants Dina’s inn to be the site for an arbitration between three species fighting over one planet. Arland is back, Lord Marshal for one side, and Sean, who’s been off exploring his offworld roots, eventually turns up, too. With three contentious (and deadly) species and two attentive males to deal with, Dina has to pull out all the stops to keep the peace. One Fell Sweep brings the Hiru, an alien race facing extinction, asking for Dina’s help. Unfortunately, other aliens, the crazed Draziri, have declared the Hiru abominations and keep attacking, in a bizarrely tragi-comic conflict. Meanwhile, Dina rescues her long-lost sister Maud and her daughter from a vampire prison planet, and martial Maud turns out to have an interesting effect on Arland. The novels are a charming mix of action, character-based funny bits, and the occasional heartwarming moment – definitely worth checking out.
Carolyn F. Cushman has worked for Locus since 1985, the longest of any of the current staff, and handles our in-house books database, writes our New and Notable section, and does the monthly Books Received column. She is a graduate of Western Washington University with a degree in English. She published a fantasy novel, Witch and Wombat, in 1994.
This review and more like it in the August 2017 issue of Locus.