RogerBW's Blog

Sweep in Peace, Ilona Andrews 06 May 2018

2015 modern fantasy short novel, originally published as blog posts on the author's web site; second in the series. Dina Demille's magical inn needs guests; she's offered the chance to host an interstellar peace conference. But only because everyone else has turned it down…

And yet, Andrews doesn't go for the easy option and have a murder among the delegates. That would be too easy. Instead, Dina has to sort out the practical details of accommodating a few dozen mortal enemies (the magic of the inn only goes so far, and it needs direction), and solve a host of minor problems, not helped by the fact that the Arbitrators who set all this up don't seem to be particularly on her side.

(They're apparently grown-up versions of characters from Andrews' series The Edge, which I haven't read. I didn't feel I was lost through not having known them before.)

Of course the stakes do rise; of course it's ultimately up to Dina to end a years-long war where no faction can bear to back down. (Her solution is perhaps a bit new-agey, but in context it just about works.) If you're surprised by the nature of the Ultimate Terror Weapon that one of the sides is using, you really weren't paying attention.

The thing that makes this book stand out from most stories with supernatural creatures and a female lead is that Dina behaves like a grown-up, rather than dropping everything to go misty-eyed over the first troubled bad boy who shows up at her door. Yeah, that sort of thing is nice, but let's make sure nobody murders anyone else first, OK?

There are occasional infelicities of writing, and too much of the magic/supertech feels as though it does only what the plot demands rather than being consistent, but the book is still highly enjoyable; without the world-building burden of the first volume there's room to stretch out with one large plot rather than a succession of small ones. Followed by One Fell Sweep.

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