Andrews* manages the difficult feat of making “magic-using young woman has interactions with sexy vampire and sexy werewolf” into something unusual. Dina Demille is an innkeeper, which is not as prosaic as it sounds. She has a magic broom, missing parents, and a long-term guest who likes to talk about eating people’s livers.
When the novel starts, there’s been some mysterious creature killing neighborhood dogs. Dina approaches the neighborhood werewolf and asks him to take care of it, but soon both of them are drawn into finding the creature (who becomes more and more violent), figuring out why it’s there and how to stop it.
There are things I disliked about this novel that others might find charming, and things I liked that others might find disappointing. I liked how Andrews combines magic and technology, and I also liked that the plot was mostly about action and adventure, and not heavy on the romance. (This book has no sex). I especially liked the scene in the Costco, with a tough-as-nails Texas housewife bystander. I liked the structure of the Innkeeper society, and the things she can do with her house are very, very cool.
I disliked the lispy twang of the narrator’s Georgia accent for Dina, though I admit it seemed to fit well. I also didn’t like how much time was spent describing how sexy the men were. I would have preferred that they weren’t vampires or werewolves at all. If you’re going to make something as cool and creative as an inter-dimensional inn with aliens, why make these aliens werewolves and vampires? But I’m sure a lot of readers will find the vampire/werewolf elements comforting and familiar.
Some other readers commented on the steamy love triangle (left me cold) and the humor (I could tell it was there, but it missed me.) I couldn’t say there was anything wrong with this book. Very well done. This is a solidly well-written urban fantasy with a southern twang to it. It didn’t set me afire, but I’m sure others will adore it. If you can’t get enough urban fantasy, and/or if you like something set in Texas with sexy werewolves and vampires, don’t pass this up.
*I was not aware until I finished writing this review that Ilona Andrews was not a single person.
** The book has pictures (I got the audiobook). The pictures are very well done, but I don’t really like having pictures of the characters so it wasn’t an added value to me, but I know some people love knowing what the characters “look” like.