“Clean Sweep” made me smile. Despite dealing with werewolves, vampires and predatory aliens locked in mortal hand to hand combat (which is described in great detail) it manages to be completely charming and often quite amusing.
Set in modern-day Texas, it tells the story of a young Inn Keeper who’s bed and breakfast is actually part of a network of magical Inns that offer a neutral place for travellers from different worlds and species to stay in in safety.
Ilona Andrews has created an original universe that cleverly combines and redefines urban fantasy and science fiction tropes into something new and intriguing. She’s then used it as a setting for taking a tongue-in-cheek tilt at the romance themes that typically wrap themselves like vines around- vampire, werewolf, magic-maiden threesomes in Urban Fantasy. While the book never tips over into either slapstick or satire and has many scenes of graphic violence, humour rather than tension is the dominant scent in this book.
The Inn Keeper is fascinating. She speaks softly and draws upon formal Southern manners but is unphased by carrying out an autopsy on an alien who has attacked her and will happily slaughter her enemies in droves when necessary. The depth of her character is what makes the book. The male characters, regardless of species, seem to be mainly foils to display our Inn Keeper or generate laughter at the (self-evidently inferior) approach males take to problem-solving.
The humour sometimes made it hard for me to take the science fiction seriously (the names of the planets could have come directly from Molière’s comedies) but the comic scene in which one of the scary predators gets its ass kicked in a Costco aisle, more than made up for that.
“Clean Sweep” has been on my TBR pile for a while, partly because I kept selecting Ilona Andrew’s Kate Daniels books instead. I don’t have the same hunger for another Inn Keeper book that the Kate Daniels books always leave me with but I’ll reach for the next in the series when I need a light, unchallenging but original read that will make me smile.