I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is...different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, "normal" is a bit of a stretch for Dina.
And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night....Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.
Urban fantasy with a tiny bit of a twist. I have come to expect good things from the Ilona Andrews writing team, and this book did not disappoint me. I enjoyed reading about the semi-sentient house which doubles as an Inn (note the capitalization). Innkeepers have a symbiotic relationship with their buildings, and that bond provides power for doing necessary things like protecting the grounds and the guests.
So, Dina is an Innkeeper, dealing with guests from off planet. Usually, vampires and werewolves are treated as Earth-dwellers, so I found it piqued my interest that they come from other worlds in this book. This arrangement provides the authors with the ability to use novel villains and to let Dina travel on some interesting side trips. We learn the rules that govern Innkeepers, werewolves, and vampires in this universe as we proceed in the story. (As an aside, for some reason the Inn made me think of Clifford Simak’s Way Station--perhaps it was having to deal with potentially cranky, off-planet visitors.)
Quotes like this amused me:
“I have spent my spare time studying literature popular with young women of this planet. One should always study the battlefield."
Sean glanced at him. "And?"
"I suggest you give up now. According to my research, in a vampire-werewolf love triangle, the vampire always gets the girl.”
Because of course there is a bit of paranormal romance included. So far, it is contained in Dina admiring both “men” for their physical appearance (and one rather intense kiss). I know that I have said before that the love triangle trope does little for me, but at this point it is merely amusing and does not over-power the problem solving aspect of the story.
This series has proven impossible to find via the used book stores in my city, so I must confess that I purchased both this book and the second of the series as an early birthday present for myself. The introduction states that the series is an on-going experiment in creation with input from the fan base. This first book suffered a bit from that process, but I am still happy that I bought the second book and I look forward to having time to enjoy it too.
Read as part of my Halloween Book Bingo 2016 project, to count towards the Vampires vs. Werewolves square.