Pre-Review: Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles #2) by Ilona Andrews

June 22, 2015 2015 Review Challenge, 5 Stars, ARC, Book Review, Fantasy, Fantasy - Hopeful, Ilona Andrews, self published, Serial, series, spunky spitfire heroine, Urban Fantasy, vampires, weres 0 ★★★★½

Pre-Review: Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles #2) by Ilona Andrews four-half-stars
Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #2
Published by Ilona Andrews on TBD
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Format: eARC
Three powerful factions, the Otrokari of the Hope-Crushing Horde, the vampire knights of the Holy Anocracy, and the Merchants of Clan Nuan arrive at Dina’s Inn in an attempt to end the war between them. At stake is the mineral rich planet of Nexus, a temporal anomaly, where time passes three to four times faster than it does in the rest of the Galaxy.

The vampires and the Otrokari are engaged in a long bloody war for the possession of Nexus, while the Merchants, who control the only spaceport on the planet, hold them both at bay with mercenaries led by Turan Adin, a mysterious fighter feared by both vampires and Otrokari. The peace treaty is being brokered by George, an Arbitrator, whose entourage includes his brother Jack, a werelynx and his friend Gaston, who is not quite human.

NOTE: This review is of the unedited free serial. All things/actions discussed are subject to change.

Sweep in Peace is the second book in the Innkeeper Chronicles series by Ilona Andrews. Each book in the Innkeeper Chronicles starts as a free serial on the Ilona Andrews website, written chapter by chapter. After the Andrews finish the serial, they leave the book online for a few short weeks. The book is then sent to a professional editor where it received copy edits, is formatted and made ready for sale. After the book has been completely edited, it is pulled from the site as a free serial and offered for sale in both paper and digital formats. The Innkeeper Chronicles site can be located here.

Typically I try to do pretty detailed reviews but this one will be more than a little different. It’s difficult (for me) to write an accurate review of this serial. This difficultly is due to a couple of different reasons: I’ve been reading it for months and month now and the chapters are broken into parts (part 1, 2, etc). This – for me – means there’s a break in my reading as each part starts and ends. It’s harder for me to sustain emotional attachment/involvement with the breaks.

So, I decided that this would be a very basic review and I would pull quotes that I felt best described the (to me) important characters. I was very luck to be chosen to read an eARC of Clean Sweep last year. If fortune smiles upon me again and I get an eARC of Sweep In Peace, I’ll try to do a comparison review. I’ll still try to do a comparison review if I do not receive an eARC but it’ll be much later because I’m getting a Trade Paperback edition and that will take a bit of time.

My favorite parts of Sweep in Peace are the sections that show how good of an Innkeeper Dina is. We watch Dina skillfully work with a wide variety of personalities and species. Dina is kind, compassionate, and intelligent. You can tell she desperately wants to be the best Innkeeper possible and she goes out of her way to make her guests feel truly at home. I feel the scenes where Dina handles her guests really shine for me.

Sweep in Peace is very enjoyable but…it didn’t feel as urgent or as fun as Clean Sweep. Clean Sweep had a lot of jokes/snarky comments and actions that really helped to lighten the storyline and give the reader a lot of belly laughs. Sweep in Peace felt much slower. The stakes are higher in Sweep in Peace but the urgency seems to have been dimmed and the story line has a much darker feel. The lack of urgency may simply be due to the serial format: I typically hate and avoid serials (only Ilona Andrews can talk me into it. ;-))

I have to say that while there is some [emotional] disconnect for me, I had a fabulous time reading this serial. I would stalk Ilona Andrews’ site every day looking for updates. I consumed each little section as they were presented. I was thoroughly entertained and I had a very enjoyable read. I DO recommend this book and this series!

Caldenia smiled. “A Quillonian chef. My dear, you shouldn’t have. Well, you should have years ago, but one mustn’t be petty. Finally. I shall be dining in a style to which I am suited. Fantastic. Does he have moral scruples? I am reasonably sure that this summit will result in at least one murder, and I have never tasted an otrokar.”
-Caldenia, chapter 3

Beast’s fur stood straight up. Wicked claws slid from her feet. Her mouth gaped open, unnaturally wide, displaying four rows of razor sharp teeth. She snapped her teeth and let out a piercing howl. “Awwwreeerooo!”

Beast snapped her teeth, lightning fast, biting the air, and struggling in my arms. If he slammed the door in our face now, she’d shred it like confetti.
-Beast, chapter 3 (part 2)

“She isn’t an ordinary dog. If she bites you, she will cause real damage.”
-Beast, chapter 4 (part 1)

He flexed his arms, his elbows bent, his clawed arms pointing to the sky. “Very well. Like a primitive savage, who sets out to tame the wilderness armed with nothing but a knife and his indomitable will, I will persevere. I will wrestle victory from the greedy jaws of defeat. I shall rise like a bird of prey upon the current of the wind, my talons raised for the kill, and I shall strike true.”
-Orro, chapter 3

His chest swelled, His needles stood up, making him even larger.

“Do not speak of money to me. [Redactetd], you would ruin this kitchen. You would wallow in your prehistoric barbarism, producing inedible food and desecrating the ingredients.” He raised his chin. “I have spoken.”

I had a feeling that nothing George ever did was a spur of the moment decision. If he ever had a one night stand, it would probably be meticulously researched and organized.

“You play with people’s lives like they are toys, George. We are all chess pieces to you. You move us around the board as you please. I could understand if you were oblivious to human emotions, but you fully comprehend our feelings. You simply choose to ignore them. I don’t understand it. You used to be so compassionate when we were children. Now we don’t matter to you at all.”
-George, chapter 6 part 3

I glanced at Gaston. “Are you also a professional soldier?

He grinned. “I’m more of a gentleman of adventure.”

George laughed under his breath.

“I save these two from themselves,” Gaston continued. “Occasionally I do a bit of skulduggery.”

What? “Skulduggery?”

“Scale a ten foot wall, jump out of the shadows, break a diplomat’s neck, plant false documents on his body, and prevent an international incident type of thing to keep the war from breaking out,” Gaston said helpfully. “Dreadful stuff, but quite necessary.”
-Gaston, chapter 4 (part 1)

Jack wouldn’t stop. I recognized his type. He might not have been part of the Sun Horde, but he was a shapeshifter and he was likely a cat. Cats trusted in themselves and chafed at any authority. Sean at least gave me the benefit of the doubt, but Jack wouldn’t. Not until I swatted him on the nose.
-Jack, chapter 4 part 1

Arland emerged, camouflaged as a very large human. The camouflage wasn’t exactly working. Dressing Arland in Earth clothes was like putting bunny ears on a tiger. The ears were cute, but the tiger was still scary. The T-shirt stretched on his shoulders, too small for his arms. He was built like a bear: broad shoulders, carved arms, a wide chest, and flat hard stomach. It was the kind of frame that could effortlessly support the weight of vampire armor and let him swing a heavy weapon for hours without slowing down. If an NFL linebacker ran full speed at Arland, he would just bounce off.

Arland smiled at me.

When they said a smile could launch a thousand ships, they had Arland in mind. Except in his case, that thousand ships would be an armada carrying an army of some of the best humanoid predators the Galaxy had managed to spawn ready to slaughter their enemy on the battlefield.

-Arland, chapter 6 (part 1)

At seven thirty the area above the field shimmered, as if a ring of hot air suddenly rose above the grass. The shimmer solidified into a giant ship, with sleek curving lines that made you think of a manta ray gliding through the water. The elegant craft sank to the ground, landing like a feather, a hatch opened, and Nuan Cee stepped out. Four feet tall, he resembled a fox with the eyes of a cat and ears of a lynx. Soft luxurious fur, silver-blue and perfectly combed, sheathed him from head to toe, turning white on his stomach and darkening to an almost turquoise dappled with golden rosettes on his back He wore a beautiful silky apron and a necklace studded with blue jewels.
-Nuan Cee, chapter 4 (part 2)

An enormous otrokar woman stood before me, clad in leather and wearing the traditional half-kilt. Her skin was a deep, rich bronze with a hint of orange. Muscles corded her frame. Her hair was French-braided on her temples, the braids running toward the back of her head. The remaining wealth of hair was brushed back into a long mane. At the root, the hair was so dark, it seemed black, but it gradually lightened and at the tips, the color turned to deep ruby, as if her hair had been carefully dipped in fresh blood. Her dark violet eyes under black eyebrows examined us, assessing. Her posture shifted slightly. In the split second she glanced at us, she had seen everything: Jack, George, me, Gaston in the doorway and Orro in the kitchen, and she formulated a battle plan.
-Khanum, chapter 4 (part 2)

“My dear, you must learn to observe. She is the general of this massive horde, but under all of it she is a mother who loves her children more than life itself. You and I both know who will lead the Horde’s offensive on the Nexus – it will be the son who now sits next to her. Remember that National Geographic documentary we watched last week, where the lions were trying to survive the drought? That woman is that old lioness trying to protect her last cub. She is fighting desperately to keep him alive, and she is losing hope.”

She was right. It made perfect sense and it was so awful. The sadness of it took your breath away.
-Khanum, chapter 9 (part 2)

“Robart is a sensitive man, possessing an unfortunate combination of nobility of spirit and certain inborn belief in the fairness of the world. His instincts tell him that if only he does the right thing and makes sure that everyone around him does the right thing, life will respond in kind and reward him for his efforts. He is a more sophisticated version of the proverbial knight in shining armor who believes that if he slays the evil dragon, he will rescue a beautiful princess who will love him forever and they will live happily ever after in their castle. He worked so hard, he had fought his way past the dragon, but his princess is dead and his castle stands hollow and empty. He’s come to learn that life is a bitter bitch. She is inherently unfair. She took his happy future and crushed it, grinding it into dust. That realization is too much for him…”
-Robart, chapter 15 (part 4)

“I’m not a psychopath,” Sophie said. “Nor am I psychotic.”

“A psychopath is unable to experience empathy. He can murder without remorse. His existence is free of guilt. His victim has no more significance to him than a used tissue he has discarded into a waste basket. I’m able to empathize. I feel guilt and sadness, and I am capable of acts of genuine kindness.”

She described it so clinically, almost as if talking about someone else.

“However, I am a serial killer.”

“When I was younger, I experienced some of the worst things adults could do to a child,” she said. “It caused damage and I realize now that this damage is irreversible.”

“I’m sorry,” I said and meant it.

“I don’t want you to be afraid of me, Dina. Murder doesn’t interest me. I am addicted to winning fights. I love it, the thrill of it, the rush of testing my skill against my opponent, the sharp finality of it, but I control my sword. My sword doesn’t control me.”

“I am not afraid of you,” I told her. “But if you attack a guest in my inn, I will contain you.”

“We understand each other then.”
-Sophie, chapter 7 (part 2)

“I’m used to war,” he said quietly. “Anything you offer me is better than what I have now.”

Said in a different tone of voice it might have sounded like grandstanding or an attempt at sympathy, but coming from him it was a simple factual statement. I heard so much in those words: weariness, regret, grief, acceptance of inevitable violence, and an urgent need for distance. He was tired, bone-weary, and he wanted to be far away from the death he caused. The need to step away from it rolled off him. No innkeeper worth her salt would’ve missed it. He needed a retreat and I would make one for him. That’s why I was the Innkeeper…
– Turan Adin, chapter 12 (parts 3 & 4)

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