Saturday, 15 February 2014

Review: Clean Sweep

Clean Sweep
Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I started this, I'd forgotten that I'd previously read some of the same author team's urban fantasy series, the Kate Daniels books. While they aren't my favourite urban fantasies, that's more because I dislike post-apocalyptic than because of any particular flaw in the books.

This was also good, something a bit fresh and different. Like [a:Lindsay Buroker|4512224|Lindsay Buroker|] and [a:Brian Rush|3467706|Brian Rush|], these authors are putting aliens in their urban fantasy; the werewolves and vampires come from other planets, and the Innkeepers are powerful magic users (or have sufficiently advanced technology that they seem to be) who keep refuges where alien travellers can enjoy safety in a kind of Accorded Neutral Ground.

One of the fresh aspects was that the first-person female main character, though attracted to both the werewolf and the vampire, not only knows that getting involved with them wouldn't be smart, she actually does the smart thing. She's competent and capable, chooses her allies carefully, struggles against the odds, chooses to get involved in a problem even though she's not supposed to because she has regard for her community and its people, and in general ticks all the boxes as a hero I will cheer for. As you'd expect from such experienced writers, the plot flows smoothly and doesn't rely on coincidence.

I'm not clear where on the publishing spectrum this book falls. The couple who write as Ilona Andrews are traditionally published, but this was a hobby project originally written on their website. They credit a copy editor, whose work is decent but not flawless; I noted nine errors, ranging from a minor character's name being spelled two different ways, through some missing minor words in sentences, to a couple of misspellings and two incorrectly placed apostrophes. Since these apparently also escaped sixteen beta readers and the fans who watched the story unfold episode by episode on the website, most readers probably won't notice them.

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