Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Innkeeper Chronicles

My dad has been on me to read this free online serial for a long time.  Whenever we would catch up and talk about Mercy (in terms that sounded like she was a friend of ours instead of a book character we both enjoyed), he would be back on it; "You really need to read the Innkeeper Chronicles!"  My dad is rarely emphatic.  He's understated most of the time.  He'll post me a book and say "This is really quite good."  Good enough to pay to send me a copy of is "quite good."  But with this Ilona Andrews serial, he was insistent.  But if there is anything that is incompatible with reading MO, it's weekly instalments of a page-turner.  That sounded like volunteering for torture to me.  So...I sat on my dad's recommendation until that thing he'd read in instalments was available in its fullness.  I was then able to read all three of these delightful (!) books in three consecutive days -- exactly the way I like it.  And you -- all of yooooou -- may also benefit from my procrastinating power.  I am so happy.

NB: I had read one and one part of another book by Andrews previously, and I wasn't overly impressed, so this no doubt played a part in how long it took me to get to this rec.  These were much better than the other Ilona Andrews books I sampled, so if you too, have sampled her work before, there is a lot of variation from work to work.

I LOVED them;
  • The artwork in this is scrummy.  
  • Initially the humour wasn't for me.  It felt like Disney-channel teen (where you can almost hear an on-air disc jockey poking a hi-hat sound effect button).  But...as time went on, I started to really enjoy the comedy.  Maybe it grew on me, but I think it also got stronger.
  • The book really starts running, so I didn't have time to cringe while I adjusted to the humour, because this was happening!  Fast!  I loved that.
  • The writing is confident.  
  • The representation of the heroine's parents is one the best I've ever read in a YA book yet.  I am so tired of parents being either The Enemy or The Cools.  I love hearing about there being some positive parents out there.
  • There wasn't swearing in this one, but there are sexual references, mostly in embedding attraction in physical character description -- of which there is a lot.  Every character is given a very good entrance.  It was refreshing to find a story with a female protagonist featuring a strong female gaze.  Not that objectification is tops, but it's especially warped when I read female protagonists writing the male gaze like its the only one there is.  I've noticed that a ton lately.  Andrews doesn't sexualise her women the way so many others I've read do (especially Maas). 
  • GREAT setting.
  • Incredible intrigue.
  • The overall world (sci fi + fantasy intertwined) is fantastic and fun.  I loved what this protag brought to the story.  I've read nothing quite like it.  It reminded me of Rainbow Rowell's fan fic mixed with Mercy Thompson.  And the worldbuild was trickled through so carefully. 
  • Great pacing, easy to read.
  • The romance in the first book isn't its greatest strength, but there is promise there.

  • I found myself very into the supporting characters, come Book 2. 
  • I really liked the choices made with the romance pacing.  It was smart. 
  • I foresaw some narrative choices -- but in that satisfying, wish-fulfilling way.
  • The single person narration and straight-forward chronology make it so easy to read.
  • An F-bomb is dropped.  No sex scenes.
I loved the third book.  LOVED.  It is my favourite of the three, and part-way into it I realised I was a serious fan of this franchise.  I began texting and emailing people I knew would like it that they needed to get on it.  How glorious for each book to get better instead of hitting a slump!
  • Like the first two books, this starts running and keeps that pace.
  • It is so fun!
  • I was very invested in the central character by this point.  She is SO great.  Her personality and abilities both became a serious hook for me.  The playful tone and internal monologue only gets better as her character is fleshed out.  There was one moment that I will never forget that I would display as a framed screenshot as one of the best *moments* in my all-time hall of fame.  When you read it, I'll tell you, and you'll nod and know exactly where too.  It was a perfect moment, in its genre and form.
  • I was sold on all the characters.  The character writing greatly enriched the reading experience by this point, because you were waving a proverbial dismissive hand at dialogue and going, "Oh Soandso, that is so like you."  I love when this happens.
  • I loled in this!  And smiled a LOT.
  • The sensuality ramps up, but there's more euphemisms rather than graphic description, with the exception of saying when the deed is done (not inviting you into the bedroom).  I thought this was tasteful and I wish more authors dealt with sex this way.  Most of the sensuality in Book 3 is ogling and it isn't leery.  There are some more f-cusses towards the end of Book 3.
  • All are their own story but overarching story continues
  • This book is still available online in full on the author's site here (at the time of posting).
Each book has its own complete story, but an overarching one continues as well.  You could try the first and see if it's for you, but I'm pretty confident if you enjoyed Cinder, Twilight or any R.S. Lewis that you're going to be glad you found this.  I am now SO KEEN to read another.  I will still not read it week to week.  I'll let Pops tell me when it's over so I can devour it like the treat it is deserves to be devoured!
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