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Paranormal Romance – Clean Sweep

Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Review by Cyndi J. (cyndij)


CLEAN SWEEP by Ilona Andrews is the first of the Innkeeper Chronicles series.   It’s an easy-reading pleasant paranormal romance.

On the outside, Dina is a nice young woman running a B&B in a quaint Victorian house. But all is not what it seems. Dina is an Innkeeper, with magic power mostly tied to the house. Her job is running the Inn, which provides a place to stay for an assortment of alien visitors. She must make sure the Inn is a neutral place and keep her guests and the Inn from harm.  The Inn itself is a magical entity that can think for itself somewhat, and as long as Dina is on its grounds it feeds her magical power.
The story starts off with a dog being killed, and it isn’t the only one. Dina is supposed to keep out of any situation that doesn’t directly threaten the Inn, but decides she can’t let this go on. Enter the werewolf, who is of course devastatingly handsome and exceptionally powerful even for werewolves. As the plot unfolds we get, naturally, a vampire who is also devastatingly handsome and exceptionally powerful. Of course both of them are attracted to Dina and her long blond hair. Did I mention the two males are aliens?  Yes, and the dog killing nasties are also aliens.  We also get a mass-murdering alien guest who can’t leave the Inn and a suspicious cop who just intuits there’s something wrong here. Dina and cohorts have to figure out what’s out there and why, plus come up with a plan to stop it. Dina is taking a real chance here, as the rules for Innkeepers clearly state she isn’t supposed to take sides unless the Inn is in danger.
Told in first person POV, Dina gives the reader quite a lot of explanation about being an Innkeeper and the limitations on her powers.  I found that to be definitely more tell than show. The love triangle is very, very mild and restricts itself to a  lot of male posturing and one kiss.  There’s a lot of snarky banter between the males. There’s so much of this book that feels derivative – the girl/vampire/werewolf love triangle, the magical inn, the alien marketplace – that I have to think Andrews had her tongue firmly planted in cheek when she wrote it. It has the flavor that you’re supposed to be counting all the little digs to other books during the plot. That’s kind of fun sometimes.
CLEAN SWEEP has good pacing with lots of action scenes, some funny dialogue, pretty decent world-building, but very stereotypical characters. I hadn’t read any of Andrews’ books before, and while this one is the beginning of a series, it felt a little like I’d been dropped into the middle of the movie.  My favorite bits of the book involved the Inn and Dina’s Shih-Tzu, who is not really a dog.  Andrews has a big backlist and a large fan base; I enjoy other authors in the same genre so I gave it a try, but I found this particular book to be just a little too lightweight for my taste. There are four other books plus a couple short stories in this series so clearly it has a following; it might be just what you’re looking for.




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