I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Sweep of the Blade by Ilona Andrews
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Nancy Yost Literary Agency on July 16, 2019
Source: my own shelves
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audibles
Also by this author: Burn For Me, Magic Shifts, Burn for Me, Magic Binds, White Hot, Wildfire, Iron and Magic, Magic Triumphs, Magic Bites , Magic Burns, Magic Strikes , Magic Bleeds, Magic Slays , Gunmetal Magic, "Gerard Demille and Helen Meet", "Diamond Fire", Magic Rises , Magic Breaks, Magic Shifts , Magic Binds , Magic Triumphs, "Sweep with Me", Clean Sweep, Sweep in Peace, "Questing Beast", "A Mere Formality", Blood Heir, "The King of Fire", Blood Heir , Sapphire Flames, "A Misunderstanding", Emerald Blaze, "The Cool Aunt", One Fell Sweep, Burn for Me , White Hot , "Silent Blade", Fated Blades, On the Edge, Bayou Moon, "George and Jack in School"
Fourth in The Innkeeper Chronicles urban fantasy series and revolving around Dina Demille, an innkeeper. The couple focus is on Maud and Helen Demille and Arland of House Krahr.
Maud is ferocious! I love it! And she’s taught Helen to protect herself as well. She’s had to since her husband is an idiot, and House Ervan doesn’t deserve Maud or Helen!
It’s a rescue that turns into a love story, an unwanted one, but still . . . Arland’s attitude toward Helen, to Maud, is too, too amazing. He’s so accepting and hopeful. As for the video of the battle on Karhari . . . I can see it so well and leads to such “problems” for House Krahr and Arland, ROFL. A sweet man, er, vampire, Arland is also the Bloodmace, the Bone Crusher, and the Ravager of Nexus. It makes for an interesting contrast.
It sets a “humorous” background of bigotry against Maud and Helen, introducing us to vampire culture through Maud’s intensive knowledge of vampire culture. I love Alvina’s honesty, lol. Maude is a patient woman, waiting for her chance, and she certainly has taught Helen well, ROFLMAO.
We get a bit of back history on Maud, Dinna, and Klaus. Then there’s Ilemina relating how she met her husband, Arland’s father. Hoo-whee! LOL.
Andrews has set up some interesting conflicts: the bigotry of the vampires, Arland’s love for Maud, Maud’s fear of tangling with vampires again, and the truth behind House Kozor and House Serak request about the wedding. Andrews uses third person protagonist point-of-view from Maud’s perspective, which allows her to use Maud’s thoughts to relate the info dumps that inform us about vampire culture.
I need to re-read Sweep of the Blade if only because it’s so fascinating and such a fab love story, where there are plans within plans. Merchants and academics with their own hopes. Two vampire Houses with theirs.
It’s action-packed and culture-driven, which serves to drive their characters. Most of the pace is fast, until you get to Maud’s indecision. Sigh.
It’s politics, politics, politics, and leads to so much action and fun!
The inns are a refuge with every guest a sacred trust. So when Dina takes in a hunted alien, its enemies attack. As a warrior, Arland fights back and admires, ahem, Maud’s form.
It’s a form that has that weakness, a desire to know where Arland’s proposal may lead her. Wanting to know how committed he may be in the face of his people’s bigotry and violence. For Maud also knows her own culture and how it could affect Helen.
Maud Demille has never run from a fight, and House Krahr will soon discover that there’s a lot more to Maud than they’re expecting.
The tough Matilda Rose, a.k.a. Maud, “Sariv”, is the widow of Melizard of House Ervan whose stupidity got them exiled to Karhari. Their daughter Helen, a human-vampire hybrid, is now five. Klaus Demille is Maud and Dina’s brother. Gerard Demille had been their father, not their biological father, but the man who taught them sword fighting. He had run an inn with their mother, Helen, until the inn disappeared.
The Gertrude Hunt Bed-and-Breakfast is . . .
. . . a sentient inn. Dina Demille is their younger sister, and the B&B’s innkeeper. Caldenia ka ret Magren, a former galactic tyrant, is a permanent guest. She’s got a bounty on her head. Orro is the highly talented and prized inn chef. Sean Evans, an alpha-strain werewolf and former Turan Adin who’s dating Dina.
The Holy Cosmic Anocracy is . . .
. . . made up of nine vampire Houses and seven main planets with colonies on a dozen other worlds. They are governed by three powers: the Warlord is military, the Hierophant is religion, and the Judge is judicial. Houses rule various territories. The Lord Marshal is the military head of his House. Scribes keep vampire history. Every last bit of it. The Liturgy of the Fallen is a prayer for the dead and said by the person most treasured by the deceased. The Lantern Vigil is an ancient wedding ritual. A harbinger is similar to a cellular phone. Vala trees are the heart of a clan, the core of their sacred place. Ancestor Vampiric is an older language. Krim is a favorite sport.
House Krahr is . . .
. . . based on Daesyn, the former homeworld of the Mukama. Arland Roburtar Gabrian is the House’s Lord Marshal, and he has a thing for Dina. Lady Ilemina is Arland’s mother and the House Preceptor, the ruler of their House. Otubar is Ilemina’s consort and Arland’s stepfather. Lord Soren is the House’s Knight Sergeant and Arland’s uncle. Alvina, Lady Renadra, a.k.a. Karat (her battle name), is Soren’s daughter, Arland’s cousin, and Commander of Krahr. Alvina is also the daughter of Alamide, Lady Renadra. Knight Ruin appears to be an administrative assistant for Arland. Knight Derit has an issue with his commanding knight. Olinia had been Arland’s youngest aunt and the House Maven. Kacey, a human and entomologist, married a vampire. Lady Konstana is the mother of the accusing son. Lord Erast is the House Scribe. Ymanie becomes a friend of Helen’s. The Silver Talon and the Valiant Charger are two of their ships. Lord Kurr. Attura “Ghost” is a prized white savok. Lady Lisoun is assigned to Maud as her adjutant. Lord Harrendar commands the armada.
House Serak is . . .
. . . based on Serak and is one of the larger Houses. Tellis is the son of the Preceptor. Lord Skykon is Tellis’ brother. Their mother is the Strateg. Hudra is Marshal in name only.
House Kozor is . . .
. . . Serak’s sworn enemy. Their Archchaplain’s daughter, Kavaline (a second cousin to Seveline) is to marry the son of the Serak’s Preceptor. Seveline and Lady Onda are a couple of nasty-minded women.
House Ervan is . . .
. . . based on Noceen, which has made the House wealthy. The second son, Melizard, was groomed to be Maven, the House ambassador. The cruel Stangiva had been Melizard’s mother.
Karhari is . . .
. . . a prison planet for the Holy Anocracy and is divided into territories ruled by Houses. House Jerdan is to the west. The Road Lodge is both inn and bar. Bur are shaggy herbivores that make earth elephants look small. Renouard is scum, a smuggler, slave trader, and pirate. Rumbolt was of House Gyr; Erline had been his sister. Kirlin the Gray. Betin Cagnat had wanted to marry Maud. House Kirtin had been a stable House.
Tachi are . . .
. . . appear to be insects but are warm-blooded with a centralized brain and decided dietary preferences. They prize knowledge. Akit is an internal tachi language. Dil’ki is the royal. Her entourage includes Ke’Lek.
Lees look . . .
. . . like upright foxes who like to wear aprons. Dangerous. Cunning. Excellent assassins who prize wealth.
Clan Nuan is . . .
. . . a Merchant clan that has done business with Dina, that is based in Baha-char, an intergalactic market place. Nuan Cee is the head of the clan. Nuan Nana is a second cousin. Nuan Tooki.
Earth is considered neutral ground as a waystation for galactic travelers due to its being the only twelve-point warp in the solar system, which is why the inns were established. Innkeepers are neutral entities who operate independently and prize the safety of their guests above everything. Innkeepers are also charged with minimizing alien exposure to the human population. The inns, which require guests to flourish, can be changed and rearranged at the innkeeper’s imagination. The Innkeeper Assembly is an informal self-governing organization. Tony is an ad-hal, one of the enforcers of the innkeepers.
George is an Arbitrator, an agent of the Office of Arbitration, an ancient neutral body in the galaxy (The Edge series). Michael, another son of an innkeeper, had been Klaus’ best friend. The Law of Bronwyn is a universal law about technology and social progress. Mukama are/were a predatory species. The Mukona are the Mukama’s primeval cousins, dragons. The World Killer is a flower that can destroy the whole planet. The Hope-Crushing Horde, the Otrokars, are an ancient vampire enemy.
The Cover and Title
The cover is dark with a black armor-clad Maud, her hair tied back, racing into battle on a murky ground, her sword in her right hand. In the upper left is the turquoise-haloed reddish planet Daesyn, the home base of House Krahr, under a relentless bombardment, a sleek silver ship to the right. At the bottom, overlapping the tip of Maud’s sword, is the title in a grayed-turquoise.
The title is all about Maud and her skillful Sweep of the Blade.