Surprisingly, I liked this even better than the first novel in the Innkeeper series, Clean Sweep. I expected a paranormal romance direction and was pleasantly surprised to discover the plot surrounded the challenge of an interspecies summit at the inn.
Caldenia, ex-tyrant, and galactic exile, remains my favorite character. Characterization, of course, is where the Andrews shine, and her cut-throat political advice is the dose of strategy that balances innkeeper goodness and the violent tendencies of the species at the summit. Despite a host of delegates and a small group of Arbitrators to manage them, many of the characters feel well developed. Well done, Andrews.
““Let’s take down the gold leaf,” Caldenia said. “Elegance is never ostentatious, and there is nothing more bourgeois than covering everything in gold. It screams that one has too much money and too little taste, and it infuriates peasants.”
World-building worked better for me than in the first book. Multi-world/verse fantasy felt more developed although I’m glad that they didn’t stay with it long. Apparently there is also cross-over from The Edge series, but I can’t speak to how that worked. It felt like mild fan service when I first read it, but improved the second time through.
“Judging by the small smile on her lips, Caldenia was reading something with a lot of smut or a lot of murder.”
Writing was much smoother; not so much info-dumping, or at least it was integrated better than the first book. There’s nice flashes of humor, but the last quarter of the book takes a particularly dark tone. I thought the ending particularly innovative, if a little uncomfortable emotionally. Overall, it turned into a solid read that should have appeal to Kate Daniels fans, or fans of urban fantasy who don’t mind some sci-fi touches.
“Quillonians didn’t always want their problems resolved. They wanted a chance to shake their clawed fists at the sky, invoke their gods, and act as if the world was ending.”