Sweep With Me by Ilona Andrews
Oh, it’s been too long since we had a catch up with Sean and Dina! And that’s exactly what Sweep With Me is - a catch up. It’s a novella-length visit to Gertrude Hunt during an Innkeeper holiday.
It picks up not long after the events in One Fell Sweep and is a basic story of Sean and Dina going about their business just being innkeepers. Obviously, there’s action and excitement and all the usual fun things you’d expect from an Ilona Andrews story but the novella doesn’t really move the overarching plot forward any. There are no Maud and Arland developments (I get the impression the timelines between the novella and Maud’s book overlap) and there are no developments on the mystery of what is corrupting Ad-Hals (Innkeeper enforcers) and no new developments with regards to the mystery of what happened to Dina’s parents.
Everything is just, nice, sweet and fun. Exactly what you’d expect from a holiday novella, even one featuring a fictitious holiday!
It’s a good read for those who are fans of the series but if you haven’t read the previous three books featuring Dina and Sean there isn’t much point in you starting here.
American Demon by Kim Harrison
I adored the original Hollows series and I loved the ending (especially the epilogue set 25 years later) so I was both super super excited to return to the world of Rachel Morgan but also terrified that it would be diminished... That by returning, the author would somehow un-pick the happy ending and change things in a way that would ruin the original series for me.
I shouldn't have worried.
Rachel and the gang are back and are as awesome as always! The relationships are just as strong, the characters as fierce and funny (and slightly annoying), the story just as action-packed and engrossing, and even though they're mixed up in a new world of hijinks and chaos, I'm sure they'll end up right where they are supposed to be. (Although, I'm nervous about Bis! *sobs*)
American Demon is perfect for fans of the original series and for new fans to join the fun. There is a nifty little "case file" at the beginning that recaps characters, relationships, key plot points and lots of other bits and pieces to help navigate the series from this point out. You may not want to begin here if you're super spoiler adverse and plan on reading the first 13 books but if you don't welcome back to the Hollows!
Poison & Honey by Kristen Brand
This was an interesting read. The novella isn't quite Urban Fantasy as it's set in "the Otherworld", a world full of magic, castles, medieval clothing and a whole host of strange creatures but the "mud people" are humans kidnapped from our world and taken to the Otherworld to be slaves. Given how things play out, I assume it will flip back and forth between the human world and the Otherworld as the series unfolds... But I get ahead of myself.
There is a lot of information to absorb in this novella. You meet the characters, you learn their motivations, you learn a little about how the world works and there are power plays and politics galore! It was interesting and absorbing and kept me turning the pages wanting to see how Leigh and Dredarion's relationship would develop and how their personal feelings would mix with their respective goals.
Despite being interesting throughout, it does have a relatively slow start but it doesn't change the fact that I was on the edge of my seat as the story slowly built to an explosive conclusion that left me desperate to read the next book.
Word of caution: The ending isn't quite a cliffhanger but it flirts with the edge sufficiently to irritate.
My main complaint - and I can't believe I'm saying this - was that the relationship between Leigh and Dredarian went from something teasing and promising to serious feelings, in the blink of an eye. It felt rushed and slightly unsatisfying but even so, I'm not going to lie about being stupidly excited to see how things evolve between them given the events of this book.
I'm also curious as to how Dredarian's relationship with his brother plays out... The pair of them give me Thor and Loki vibes (with Dredarion being the Loki-esqe character) and I thought they were awesome.
Kristen Brand is a new to me author and Poison and Honey is book one in a new series. I had no idea what to expect when I started this book and I'm still not entirely sure what to expect going forward but I'm excited to read more of the series just the same!