My review and an extended sample of the audiobook are posted at Hotlistens.com
Ilona Andrews is one of my all-time favorite authors. I've read everything they have published, be it self-published or traditional. They always have extremely unique stories and creatures. The characters and worlds are always distinctive and interesting. When I saw that they were posting a completely new serial story on their blog, I was ecstatic. I'm not a fan of serials, so I held off until they were done before I planned on reading. Next thing I know, they had this as an ebook available for purchase with an additional epilogue. I have no problem forking out the money to read the ebook, because I know I'm going to love it. Boy was I right.
This story is about Dina, who is an innkeeper. That doesn't sound very interesting, right? Think again. This inn is a weigh station on Earth between other planets in the universe. The inn is kind of like a sentient "being". It responds to her requests and emotions. It has the ability to help her defend herself, the inn and any guests at the inn in many different ways. It can even wither and die if not cared for and used. It was hibernating when she is assigned to it by the The Innkeeper Assembly.
This story has werewolves, vampires, both of which are types of aliens that have spent time on Earth. These werewolves and vamps are nothing like the creatures from their other series, Kate Daniels. As usual with an Ilona Andrews story, there are extremely descriptive and unusual creatures, in this case they are also aliens. She even has a Shih Tzu like creature she calls "Beast".
The story starts off with the neighborhood dogs turning up dead. Dina appeals to Sean, who is a strain of super, or Alpha strain, werewolf to fix it because someone is invading his territory. Sean plays stupid and pretends not know what she means by the werewolf thing. She then finds him "marking" his territory by "poisoning her apples" by urinating on her apple trees.
They end up working together to try to figure out what is attacking these dogs before it escalates to children or even adults. They activate some trackers they find on some of this alien's "stalkers". It draws in vampires who are looking for the creature they are wanting to kill.
The story has all of the elements you would expect if you've ever read anything by Ilona Andrews. Tons of action, snark and lastly, even more individuality. Who else could come up with a story about a sentient house with a twenty-four-year-old girl defending said house with a broom and a Shih Tzu. Snark is up to par as well, but maybe not as much as we are used to. With lines like, "If I died in the parking lot of Costco, I would be very unhappy in my afterlife" and Sean calling Beast and "oversized chinchilla… with ponytails", the snark is still there.
When Ilona Andrews asked if they recorded this story, would anybody buy it, I replied back with "OMG!! YES, PLEASE!!" Then I heard that they were able to get the wonderful Renee Raudman to record that audio, this book was on my automatic buy list. Raudman has read all of the Andrews books up to this point and I hope she continues. She is one of my favorite narrators, she does such a great job with both male and female voices. She puts so much passion into the narration, it just adds lots of feels to the story. It seems that the next book in this series is going to be available in October 2014. Not sure if it will be up on the blog, ebook or maybe even audio at the time, but I will be reading or listening in whatever format I'm able to get it.