Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2020
A short story, 4.5 in The Innkeeper Chronicles urban fantasy series, revolving around Dina Demille, an innkeeper and her somewhat sentient inn, Gertrude Hunt, set in Red Deer, Texas.
I'd say you could read these stories out of order, but you'll miss some depth as Andrews does refer back to previous stories.
The Innkeeper Chronicles are pure fun with a most unlikely premise that keeps me absolutely fascinated. I love the creatures and the crazy customs that Andrews invents for Dina's guests. As for the inn...I wish my house would work this way! Her security is amazing!!
There's some spillover tension from events in One Fell Sweep , 3, when Gertrude Hunt was at risk of dying, but it's not so bad...and Andrews doesn't really take advantage of it.
Part of the fun is how Dina and Gertrude Hunt repel "boarders" and other unwanted guests, lol. That Peterson really has no idea what he's up against, and I was ROFLMAO. The man is so clueless...can't he hear what he's saying to his niece??? I do gotta wonder what the heck Chatune is.
There is warmth as well, for Dina loves taking care of her guests, ensuring no harm comes to them. It's in "Sweep with Me" that Dina learns she is also loved by her staff and permanent guest. Poor Orro and his fascination for that TV cook... He really hasn't a clue no matter how frequently Dina tries to tell him.
Oh, yeah, Andrews is so right when Dina states that Earth politicians need to go on a pilgrimage "with the purpose of learning a valuable understanding" to be "worthy of the office". Wouldn't that be a treat for us poor peons!?
My niggles include Andrews not being as clear about some of the characters, character names that are too close to each other (namely Qoros and Orros!), and how Dina figures that this last-stand pilgrimage of Qoros' translates to the inn. Oh, sure, I know Andrews is referring to the successes Dina and Gertrude Hunt have had, but the Alamo? A defeat compared to successes? And Qoros doesn't seem to be helped by the end. As for the mechanical side, Andrews is missing a number of articles (grammar) with some punctuation issues as well.
The theme is one of home and mercy, both revolving around Dina and using first person protagonist point-of-view from Dina's perspective. It does seem that Adira absorbed Dina's thoughts on mercy. I have to confess it's a solution I hadn't expected...but I do agree with it.
Oh, man, oh, man, this sounds like some of my neighbors:
"None of you are looking for the truth. You simply like to argue and brawl."
"Sweep With Me" does not lack for action OR characters with the pace varying between slow and fast. The prose itself can be convoluted. Try not to worry about it — there isn't anything you can do anyway.
In the meantime, that lucky Dina is piling up the favors!
That Dina skates close to the rules, and the Assembly has summoned her after events in One Fell Sweep . It's a scary situation with more to pile up on her when a Drífan and a Medamoth both want to stay at the inn.
Dina can't deny them, but their stay will be fraught...especially when she knows that Medamoth will want to go for those space chickens!!
The daughter of innkeepers, Dina Demille never thought she’d have her own inn. Beast is her abnormal Shih Tzu with some scary teeth. Helen named the big Maine Coon Olasard, the Ripper of Souls; he was rescued from a pet store.
Sean Evans is an über werewolf, an alpha from the destroyed planet Auul, and Dina's live-in lover. Officer Marais has been in the know about Gertrude Hunt since One Fell Sweep .
Gertrude Hunt is...
...a somewhat sentient inn which Dina can remake over and over to suit her intergalactic guests. Those guests are a necessity to help keep Gertrude Hunt alive and well. Caldenia ka ret Magren is a permanent guest, a former galactic tyrant (with very sharp teeth) who has a bounty on her head. The egotistical Orro, a Quillonian who looks like a hedgehog, is their Red Cleaver chef. He served his apprenticeship under Chef Adri, another Quillonian.
...almost never seen and very magical. Ruled by an emperor, their world is split up into dryhts (a combination of clan, sect, and magic order which take on the characteristics of what that dryht is dedicated to — beast, landscape, plant, fire, etc. — which are ruled by dryhten (liege lords).
Green Mountain is a tree dryht ruled by the liege lord Adira Kline, an American who needs closure. Chatune might be the planet?? on which Green Mountain is located. Zedas is a Drífan and I think he's an Akeraat as well? Sora is the little beast. Liege Adira was a cook in another household.
Rudolph Peterson is the most selfish multi-millionaire chairman and CEO of the Peterson Group. Liege Yastreb of the Onyx Sect is an enemy.
The koo-ko are...
...essentially, space chickens who love to debate. They are monitored by First Scholar Thek.
...born hunters with the predatory drive instinctive from birth. And General Who Sinks His Fangs Into The Throat of His Enemy is on a pilgrimage and wants to be a guest at the inn — the general is using the name Qoros for this pilgrimage. Seems he's being groomed to be a colonial governor in a colony embattled with the Hope-Crushing Horde. Ratharr the Vein Ripper is one of the Medamoth Bloody Twelve, the best heroes of the species.
The Innkeeper Assembly is...
...a group of prominent innkeepers who maintain the law of the inns. Per the Treaty, Earth is neutral ground where alien visitors have safe haven in the inns. (January 14 is Treaty Stay, a holiday celebrating the signing of the treaty.)
Casa Feliz is an inn in Dallas which is run by Brian Rodriguez. His son, Tony, is usually there, although his true role is as an ad-hal, the Assembly's guardian and enforcer of its judgments ( One Fell Sweep ).
...for lack of a better description, a shopping planet. Dina frequently travels here for spices and other supplies she can't get on Earth. Yep, Sean loves it too. He can find some really great weapons here. Wilmos, a planet-less werewolf, owns a weapons shop here and brokers deals between mercenaries and those who hire them. And the entrance to get to Gertrude Hunt is in the alley by the Saurian merchant who sells underwater lights. It's a nice thing Dina does for Adira.
Maud is Dina's older sister who is marrying Arland, a vampire Marshal of House Krahr, on his home planet, Daesyn ( Sweep of the Blade , 4). Helen is Maud's half-vampire, half-human daughter who adores the Marshal. Nexus was a battleground for decades between the Otrokar and the Holy Anocracy (a consortium of vampire Houses). Turan Adin is a legendary commander who fought on Nexus. Tom, works for FedEx, and Elena Laurent, a middle school teacher, are normal neighbors who are divorcing. Margaret is a nosy neighbor who works from home. Garry Keys is a TV cook with whom Orro is fascinated — FIRE! A humanizer is a gadget that attempts to make aliens look more human. Sophie is a genius swordswoman from The Edge series.
The Nuan Clan of Merchants are allies and friends of Dina's.
The Hope-Crushing Horde are Otrokars who constantly require more land.
The Cover and Title
The cover is festive in its Treaty Day lanterns hanging from one of the inn's apple trees and that start of a purple sky at the top. A sky with a glowy gradation from that purple to a lighter blue and down into a royal blue. It's a much deeper royal blue in the hooded cloak the blonde Dina is wearing, as she whirls to meet the enemy with her broom in hand. It's a serious Sean behind her in a black turtleneck. All the text is in white starting with the info blurb at the top with the author's name immediately below it. At the bottom, centered over Dina's lower half, is the title.
I think the title refers to the choice Dina offers Sean and the gathering in of the inn's guests for the holiday, to "Sweep with Me".