Clean Sweep - urban fantasy crossed with sci-fi

  • Posted on: 28 February 2020
  • By: Sevhina

Gertrude Hunt is a Bed & Breakfast Inn where the guests are out of this world. Literally. Local Earth space has an amazingly high number of warp points which almost led to an interstellar war for possession of the planet back when humans were still making war with swords and arrows. Even though humans were completely unaware of galactic civilizations it was still decided to declare Earth neutral territory and the Inns were established, which also happen to be sentient beings themselves. The rules are simple: any violent acts by a guest is cause for a lifetime ban from the Inns and attracting any attention from humans will result in a species wide ban depending on the severity of the incident.

GH is an older Inn newly revived by Dina and greatly in need of guests to nourish it. Although there is one permanent guest, Caladenia, a former galactic dictator widely known for eating those who displeased her. Since there are countless rewards offered for Caledania's assassination, the Inn provides her with a safe retirement location and she can't safely leave the premises. She likes to sit on her balcony watching the local activity of the subdivision next to the Inn. The current gossip is about dead pets in the neighborhood. Most people are thinking mountain lion, but Dina suspects something extraterrestrial. She asks the werewolf who recently moved in why he's not protecting his territory but he's non-committal and then the vampires show up...

These are not your usual urban fantasy werewolves and vampires. These werewolves have nothing to do with the moon, probably because they are a race that genetically modified themselves when their planet was targeted for genocide. Rather than let their enemy have their world, the wolf-men destroyed it as they escaped and a few of them settled on Earth, like Dina's new neighbor Sean. Oddly enough Sean's parents never told him where his people came from or about the Inns. As far as the vampires go, Arland leads one of the largest vampire military forces, House Krahr, and has a personal battle cruiser shaped like a castle. Because why not? There is no resistance in a vacuum so no need for aerodynamics. 

House Krahr has come to Earth pursuing an assassin who travels with his pack of beasts, which also happen to be eating the neighborhood pets. Dina wants rid of the assassin before people get really curious, like the local policeman who already thinks there is something odd going on. My favorite scene takes place in Costco when one of the beasts attacks Dina and she and another woman are hitting it with canned goods and gallon sized jugs of olive oil. Its easy to visualize it the way it's described because I go to Costco frequently myself. Dina and Getrude Hunt end up having to defend themselves with what looks to Sean like magic and really big laser cannons. All while making sure GH appears normal from the street. Having survived this adventure, Dina suspects hers will be an Inn that caters to more dangerous clientele in the future. And it does!

Whether you call it sci-fi or fantasy it's an entertaining, fun read. The galaxy reminds me of Star Trek where most sentient beings are humanoid although of greater variation. Each race Dina deals with has history and culture to make them even more unique than just their physical appearance. Her abilities as an Innkeeper are interesting and within the influence of GH she can do almost anything. Embarrassing alien beast corpse on the lawn? No problem, she just has GH take it down through the ground and into her laboratory.  Away from the Inn she still has her Staff, which was grown by GH and stores some power she can manipulate in her defense. The Inns are very protective of their keepers and when one dies the Inn goes dormant until it bonds to another.

Clean Sweep is the first book of the Innkeeper Chronicles which continues in Sweep in Peace. In my opinion, the series just gets better as it goes along. Ilona Andrews is the pen name of a husband and wife writing team best known for the urban fantasy Kate Daniels series. Renee Raudman does the narration for the audio books in this series and the reviews of her narration are mixed so this might be a good one to read instead of listening.