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).
Dina DeMille doesn’t run your typical Bed and Breakfast. Her inn defies laws of physics, her fluffy dog is secretly a monster, and the only paying guest is a former Galactic tyrant with a price on her head. But the inn needs guests to thrive, and guests have been scarce, so when an Arbitrator shows up at Dina's door and asks her to host a peace summit between three warring species, she jumps on the chance.
Unfortunately, for Dina, keeping the peace between Space Vampires, the Hope-Crushing Horde, and the devious Merchants of Baha-char is much easier said than done. On top of keeping her guests from murdering each other, she must find a chef, remodel the inn...and risk everything, even her life, to save the man she might fall in love with. But then it's all in the day's work for an Innkeeper…
Murphy’s Law: If anything can go wrong, it will.
Dina learns a lot about Murphy’s Law when she agrees to host a peace arbitration at her Inn, Gertrude Hunt. Three species with a lot of history will be coming: the Holy Anocracy (space vampires to you & me), the Hope-Crushing Horde (also known as otrokars), and the Merchants (cunning little blue foxes). Dina’s job is to house them, feed them, keep them from murdering each other, and cater to their every whim, all while making sure that no earthlings find out what’s going on. Add to this an Arbitrator who doesn’t always play by the rules, and there is yet another kink in the works. If that sounds like an impossible task, well it’s pretty close.
With many of the specifics of this world established in the first book, the Andrews writing team is free to devote a bit more time to characters and plot in this installment. There’s a lot going on and they keep the reader on their toes, reading furiously to keep up with all the developments.
My favourite new character? The Quillonian chef, Otro, who reluctantly agrees to cook for this crew. A true professional (despite the fact that someone was poisoned at the last banquet he catered), we see him produce beautiful and delicious meals out of ordinary ingredients. When one of the vampires is punished by being left in a water world to fight sea monsters for a half hour, Otro collects the head of one of the vanquished beasts to produce delectable sushi. Making the best of it, that’s Otro!
The very gentle love triangle which got its start in book one seems to be resolving itself to some extent in book two. But this part of the tale is so slow burning, that I don’t feel that I can count of the situation staying stable. I have been corrupted by the amount of urban fantasy that I’ve read this year—I’m starting to find these romance tropes more entertaining than annoying! Dear me!
I tip my hat to the Andrews—they write a fun and funny urban fantasy. Now I want to read their Edge series, which I understand has cross-over characters with this one.